The Early Years
This chapter goes over ideas that were once considered the ravings of lunatics. Certain people were accused of trying to use trying to use mental trickery and dubious claimed ‘evidence’ to dispute basic realities of existence that people had accepted for thousands of years.
These people claimed that science could explain the existence of the planet Earth, the wonders of nature, and even the existence of the marvelous beings called ‘humans.’ They claimed that we didn’t need to accept magic, miracles, or invisible super-beings in order to explain the things we see around us. In many places, these new ideas were considered so dangerous that the establishment took action against the people who held them, arresting them, jailing them, banning their work, and prohibiting them from exposing children to these aberrant viewpoints.
Very recently—mostly over the last generation—these ideas have started to become mainstream ideas. The evidence in favor is simply too overwhelming to ignore. The only arguments that the people who still accept the older views can muster sound feeble and unconvincing. (See sidebar for more information.)
As you read the rest of this chapter, I want you to consider the implications of accepting scientific explanations for the realities of our existence: Consider that, if the things that science tells us are true, the human race is not being forced by some invisible being or beings with greater-than-human powers to accept the horrible things we see all around us.
If we accept these things, we do so because we have consciously decided to accept them.
If we open our minds and accept the lessons that objective reality tells us, we must also accept that we have control over our own destiny. It is possible for us to decide how we want to organize our existence. Some of the options we have for organizing existence are able to meet our needs; some do not.
Our ancestors chose options that cannot meet the needs of the human race. Our ancestors are not here anymore. They are not in charge, we are. We have the choice of accepting the scientific evidence that tells us, among other things, that we are in charge of our own destiny, or of rejecting these premises.
This is not God’s choice.
It is our choice.
The Origin of the Earth
Until very recently, estimates of the Earth’s age varied widely. The ancient Greeks calculated that the Earth had a fairly recent origin; the ruler gave a creation date of 1184 BC ( to source). 1728 book 12,360 BC. and Babylonian historians gave a creation date of 244,100 BC. The most widely accepted Chinese figure has been that of , who put the date of the Earth’s creation at about 39,000 BC. The Jewish calendar begins in 3761 BC, which is the date of creation according to historian . uses the Bible to come up with the most exact creation date I could find: October 23, 4004 BC.
In December of 1998, scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hosted a seminar to come up with a figure based on the new information that had only recently come available. At this seminar, the scientists decided that they could get the most accurate figure using models built from radioactive decay of the various elements that make up the Earth. Here is the summary of findings from this seminar:
The oldest materials that formed in the Solar System are inclusions rich in calcium and aluminum found within carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. Nicknamed CAIs (for Calcium-Aluminum-rich Inclusions), these objects are thought to have been some of the first solids to form after the cloud of gas and dust began to heat up. CAIs have ages of 4.566 billion years. On the basis of measurements of several isotopes, the Earth and Moon formed about 50 to 100 million years later. to source
Finally, we have a scientific figure for the age of the Earth.
This figure comes from ratios of isotopes that are the byproduct of radioactive decay. Since we can determine the rates of decay of radioactive elements with great precision, and we can calculate the relative quantities of decay byproducts with great precision, we can calculate how long the rocks that make up the Earth have been here with great precision.
The scientists at this seminar put together very convincing arguments to support the figure of 4.566 billion years as the age of the Earth. You can read their arguments in entirety from the above link. The Earth has been here for a very, very long time.
The Origins of Animals
In 1859, Charles Darwin published ‘Origin of Species.’ In this book, Darwin proposed it was possible (his exist words are ‘not incredible’) that all living things on Earth had a common primordial origin:
On the principle of natural selection with divergence of character, it does not seem incredible that, from some such low and intermediate form, both animals and plants may have been developed; and, if we admit this, we must likewise admit that all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth may be descended from some one primordial form. ( to source, Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.)
Scientists call this theory the ‘universal common ancestry’ theory, or ‘UCA,’ non scientists often call it the ‘theory of evolution.’
In the early 2000s, people gained access to tools that they could use to test UCA. All life on Earth is based on a molecule called ‘deoxyribonucleic acid’ or ‘.’ The DNA has sequences of ‘codons’ that contain the codes that DNA uses to build the proteins and other complex molecules needed for life.
If different organisms had different origins (in other words, if they weren’t all descended from one primordial form), these complex molecules would be coded in different ways in the DNA of different living things. With the first DNA sequencers, scientists could determine the way that the DNA of different living things code for complex molecules. They could then compare them, to see how close they were.
If living things had separate origins, we would expect different coding in the DNA. In other words, if we looked at different living things, and they all coded for molecules different ways, we would be inclined to reject Darwin’s theory. If different living things coded for molecules in very similar ways, we could trace the similarities to determine which living things likely had the same origin. For example, if we found that viruses coded one way, bacteria coded a different way, plants coded a third way, lower animals coded a fourth way, primates coded a fifth way, and humans coded a sixth way, we would have evidence for six separate origins for life on earth, with various different beings branching off of that. If the DNA for different living things coded molecules in almost the same way, this would be powerful evidence to support Darwin’s theory. If all living things from the lowest viruses to the most intelligent human beings coded for the molecules the exact same way, they either would have had to have descended from the same ancient primordial life form, or some massive coincidence must have made them all the same.
It turns out that all living things on Earth code for the same molecules exactly the same way. This either shows us that Darwin’s theory is correct, or indicates a massive coincidence. If it could be a coincidence, scientists can’t guess about the probabilities, they have to numbers on them. Scientists have statistical tools that allow them to put very precise numbers on probabilities. They can analyze random events (like the results from tossing of a coin or throwing of a pair of dice) to determine how many times a random event would have to take place, on average, before certain coincidences would be likely to come up, as a result of random chance. For example: if the random event would have to take place 100 times on average before random chance would produce a certain observed level of similarity, the scientists could say that the odds of these similarities being coincidental (happening as a result of random chance) were 100 to 1 against. If the random events would have to be repeated 1 million times before random chance would produce the similarities once, the odds against a coincidence would be 1 million to 1 against. The higher the odds, the more confidence scientists can have that the similarities are not coincidental.
In the early 2000s, and a team of researchers at the University of Colorado obtained funding to use gene sequencing and statistical analysis to compare the coding of different living things to see how likely any observed similarities are to be coincidental. As noted above, all living things on Earth code for all of the molecules needed for life in exactly the same way.
This could be a coincidence.
If we create a random process to rearrange a group of DNA codons in random ways and did this enough times, eventually we will hit every possibility. But there are a lot of possiblities, so the odds against this particular coincidence occurring are very, very high.
This is from their published results:
Notably, UCA is the most accurate and the most parsimonious hypothesis. Compared to the multiple-ancestry hypotheses, UCA provides a much better fit to the data (as seen from its higher likelihood), and it is also the least complex (as judged by the number of parameters). UCA is at least 102,860 times more probable than the closest competing hypothesis. ( to source.)
The ‘closest competing hypothesis’to Darwin’s theory is that living things came to exist by separate processes. ‘UCA is at least 102,860 times more probable than the closest competing hypothesis’ (not UCA).
What does this mean?
If you were to construct a series of random events that led to DNA-based life, and you repeated this process over and over again, until you got a large number of animals whose DNA shows the same similarities as Earth beings, you would have to go through 102,860 trials—on average—before you would get a single trial that produce the similarities we observe. This number (10 with 2860 zeros after it) is so enormous that it is hard to even imagine it. To put it into perspective, there are estimated to be 1082 atoms in the entire universe ( to source.) There have been about 1017 seconds since the big bang. If you had all the materials to make DNA-based life on each of the atoms of the universe, and started trials at the big bang and carried them to today, doing one trial per second for each atom in the universe, you would have only tried creating life 1099 times. This is only an infinitesimally tiny percentage of the number of times you would have to try this experiment before random chance would produce the similarities we observe between beings on Earth, without the beings having a common origin.
In other words, it is impossibly unlikely all living things did not have a common origin.
To eliminate the double negative, the mathematical evidence confirms Darwin’s theory (UCA or ‘evolution’) with a higher confidence interval than the human mind could even conceive. As a practical matter, it is unscientific to try to construct any sequence of historical events on Earth without starting with the model Charles Darwin gave us in 1859.
If all living things have a common ancestor, there must be some kind of process that causes living things to change and alter certain details of their structure over time. If this were not true, all living things would look the same, reproduce the same way, and have the same capabilities. Some process must cause a divergence in the way living things interact with their world. Charles Darwin used the term ‘natural selection’ to refer to the only explanation that seemed to explain this process.
As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. Link to source.
The fossil record provides a great deal of evidence to support Darwin’s theory. It shows a continual increase in capabilities of living things. Early in the period that life existed, only very simple living things were here. As time passed, more complex living things came to exist, alongside the simpler beings. As time passed, the living beings had greater and greater capabilities. The chart below gives a general idea of the fossil evidence:
For the last 3.4 billion years,performing have existed;
For the last 2 billion years,(eukaryotes) have existed;
For the last 1.2 billion years,which have existed;
For the last 1 billion years,has existed;
For the last 475 million years,have existed;
For the last 400 million years,and have existed;
For the last 360 million years,have existed;
For the last 300 million years,have existed;
For the last 200 million years,have existed;
For the last 150 million years,have existed;
For the last 130 million years,have existed;
About 60 million years ago, the extremely intelligent animals that are classified as ‘primates’ came to exist.
What are primates?
Primates are mammals with the following characteristics:
1. Grasping hands with fingernails and fingerprints.
2. Large brains relative to their body mass.
3. Vision is their primary sense and they are highly visually oriented.
4. They normally give birth to one offspring at a time.
5. They have very long periods of growth & development.
6. They tend to live in long-lasting social groups.
7. Primates are the only class of animal that takes natural products and uses them to manufacture tools.
When primates came to exist on Earth, they were extremely intelligent. Almost certainly, they had the highest intellectual capabilities of any beings on Earth. (We have to say ‘almost certainly’ because we don’t have any scientific way to evaluate the relative intelligence of the various animals that existed 60 million years ago.) Intelligence gives animals advantages over less intelligent animals. Animals with advantages can basically take the food and resources they need to survive and reproduce, depriving animals without the advantages of the means of existence. As a result of this process (which Darwin called ‘natural selection), animals with higher capabilities ‘evolve’ from animals with lower capabilities. This process didn’t stop working just because primates existed. Some primates had even greater intelligence than the others. These primates had advantages and priority over the resources. They had offspring who survived to reproductive age themselves and their numbers increased. Less-capable primates weren’t able to get the resources they needed and their numbers declined.
Each thousand years, some 5,000 generations would have a chance to surpass their peers. Each million years, some 5 million generations had this same chance. The individual changes didn’t have to be big. Over this immense period of time, just tiny incremental changes compounded to bring about enormous differences. In particular, primates with larger and more complex brains appeared to have great advantages because, over the immense period that primates existed, brain size and complexity increased very steadily.
Arizona State University in Tempe has a division called the ‘Institute of Human Origins’ or ‘IHO.’ This organization is dedicated entirely to studying ancient human remains and human artifacts to determine when the species we now refer to as ‘humans’ first originated. ( to website of Institute of Human Origins.) The oldest discovery that the IHO has made of human remains to date is the 3.2 million year old remains of a human female. The researchers have named the woman that the remains belong to ‘Lucy.’
Lucy is the oldest evidence found—at least so far—of human beings on Earth.
There are people who dispute that Lucy was a true human being (rather than a very advanced primate of some other species). They claim that true human beings don’t go back nearly that far. Others accept this evidence and claim that humans may go back quite a bit farther than 3.2 million years. The issue is not totally clear. However, I find it easier to make a mental picture of history if we have some figures to work with, even if they aren’t perfect. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that Lucy and the group she lived with were real human beings and, in addition to this, were among the first human beings that lived on the planet. In other words, let’s start human history with her, and take it back 3.2 million years, or to the date 3,198,000 BC.
When humans arrived, they didn’t find an empty world.
It already had all of the niches of nature filled. The rivers and oceans were full of fish, the skies were full of birds, and the land was covered with plants that produced edible roots, seeds, fruits, nuts, and grains. Thousands of different species of animals roamed the land.
Lucy and her group may have been primitive relative to modern humans. (We have no evidence one way or the other about this, of course, but it may have been true.) However, they were not primitive relative to other animals. They had capabilities no other animals could match:
We can communicate much more complex thoughts than other animals. This makes us able to plan activities that other animals can’t plan on a cognitive level, going over various options to analyze them and selecting the one that best meets our needs. We can hunt in teams, with each team carrying out separate parts of hunting strategies that are far more complex than any other animal could carry out. (Here is a to an excerpt from Alexander Henry’s 1776 book, ‘Travels and Adventures,’ where he explains the way the original natives of the upper Great Lakes hunted buffalo before they had access to tools that were developed by Euro-Americans. We can imagine this same hunting technique having been used when the first Canadians lived here. Since there are signs of human habitation in Canada going back more than 50,000 years, we might expect this same technique was used a very long time ago.)
Our advantages give us the ability to dominate all other animals. Other animals are stronger than we are, but we can work together in ways they can’t to defeat even the strongest animal. Other animals are faster and more agile, but we can study their behavior and then build traps that take advantage of their behavior by forcing them into the traps when they try to run away. If we want rice or some other grain that nature produces, we can take it and build storage facilities to keep it from other animals. Most carnivores have to hunt daily or they die. Humans can preserve meat (by salting, drying, smoking, or freezing) and only have to hunt once every few weeks to have meat.
Our advantages make us the dominant animals wherever we go. The dominant animal has the first claim on the food and other resources in any area. Humans quickly became the dominant animals wherever they went. We had first claim on the good things the land produced. If we wanted it, we could take it. The other animals could only hope we leave something for them.
The first humans appeared on the planet several million years ago. These people found themselves with incredible advantages over all other animals on the planet.
We know a great deal about the history of the last 6,000 years. This period marked a time of constant war between the entities called ‘nations.’ It marked the development of almost indescribable weaponry, including weaponry that could and would destroy the planet the very first time they would be used. It marked a time when governments organized their economies around something the American President Eisenhower called the ‘giant military industrial complex.’ To feed the unending appetite of this complex, the societies that have existed over the last 6,000 years have developed tools to rape the world faster and more efficiently with each year that has passed.
But this is only a tiny, tiny, part of human history. Based on the findings of the Institute of Human Origins, this 6,000-year period accounts for less than 1/5th of 1% of the time humans have been on Earth. What happened before then?
How did we get from the first origins of human life to the change—whatever it was—that occurred some 6,000 years ago?
Perhaps, if we knew this, we could know how and why we got into the situation that we were born into. Perhaps, if we knew this, we may be able to figure out how to get out of this situation and into societies that could allow the members of the human race to live together in peace, without destroying the wonderful planet we were born onto just to get more things to use as weapons against people who had the bad manners to have been born on the opposite side of one of the arbitrary imaginary lines that separate one ‘nation’ from another ‘nation.’
If we are to accurately orient ourselves as humans on this planet and move forward with our full potential in mind, we must have some idea about the chronology of the events that shaped the realities of our existence. Before the 1940s, historians could only guess at the ages of artifacts they found at sites where humans lived in the past. They could tell how people used to live in the past, but they couldn’t tell how long ago they were there.
Generally, scientific historians claimed ages for human artifacts that were far, far, older than the dates religious scholars claimed.
The scientific historians didn’t have proof, however.
Religious historians claimed that their numbers came directly from religious texts, written by people who had personal connections to the creator. They claimed these figures couldn’t possibly be wrong, no matter what the scientists said. They argued that children should not be exposed to the unproven guesses of the scientists when proven information is available. Many considered it immoral to teach the unproven scientific information to children; some jurisdictions even made it illegal to teach scientific versions of history. (See text box for an example.)
The First Scientific Proof of a Longer Period of History
In the 1940s, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Berkeley were researching the way radiation affects carbon atoms. The Earth’s atmosphere contains the gas ‘carbon dioxide.’ William Libby, the head of the team, found that natural radiation from the sun turned a percentage of the carbon in this gas into ‘heavy carbon’ called ‘C14.’ ( is an of carbon with 2 more than regular carbon, known as C12.). Scientists could easily show that the percentage of heavy carbon in atmospheric gas must stabilize at a certain level, leading to an ‘atmospheric constant ratio’ of the two kinds of carbon.
If the carbon is taken out of the atmosphere and put underground, the ‘heavy carbon’ starts to into regular carbon. There is no new heavy carbon being created because the underground carbon is not exposed to sunlight. Scientists can dig up things they find underground that have carbon in them. They can determine the ratio of the two kinds of carbon and compare that ratio to the ‘atmospheric constant ratio’ to determine how long the carbon has been underground.
All plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through ‘.’ Using solar energy, plants split the carbon from the oxygen and release oxygen into the air. They also take in water and split the hydrogen and oxygen, then release the oxygen into the air also. (Water is H20, meaning two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.)
The plants then use solar energy to combine the hydrogen and carbon to form ‘hydrocarbons’ including the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that that humans and other animals consume for energy.
Your body is made of these hydrogen-carbon molecules.
All of these molecules came from plants or other animals that you have eaten and which have recently been alive. This means that the carbon in these molecules was only taken from the atmosphere within the last few decades. Because these molecules are made of carbon that was only taken out of the atmosphere a short time ago, the ratio between the two types of carbon is virtually identical with the ‘atmospheric constant ratio.’
If you are buried, the carbon and hydrogen still exist. If someone should find traces of your body in 5,730 years, the ratio of the two types of carbon will only be half of what it was when you died. (There will be only half as much C14, relative to the stable carbon.) The same is true for any organic material that remains buried underground, including plants, viruses, and animal matter. By testing to determine the ratio of C14 to stable carbon, scientists can determine the number of years the material has been buried with a great deal of precision. They have tested this method by comparing the ages they get from it to the ages they get using other methods and have found that radiocarbon dating is extremely precise and consistent.
In 1949, Libby’s team published information about the use of radiocarbon dating, making it available to the world. In the 1950s, scientific historians began using radiocarbon dating to determine the ages of artifacts whose precise ages were in dispute. They often found that the dates of artifacts predated the total age of the universe, as given by religious scholars. At first, the religious scholars fought back, and made various claims to try to get some credibility. (One option: God wants to test our faith so he created this evidence. Those who refuse to believe the scientific evidence, in spite of its abundance, will have proven that their faith is strong and will be rewarded by being sent to heaven after they die. Those who believe the evidence will be punished for their lack of faith by being sent to hell.)
Scientific historians began to put together evidence like a giant jigsaw puzzle. They found other scientific tools that they could use to verify the information they got from radiocarbon dating. The evidence told them that the universe was far more ancient than the religious texts claimed, that life had been around for billions of years, and that humans had been around for a very, very long time.
In the 1950s and 1960s, these were new ideas. The established people in the field of history had been trained to accept a version of history consistent with the formerly accepted ideas. These people naturally resisted the revolution in their field that said basically that everything they thought they knew was wrong. But as time passed, the views changed. The old views couldn’t explain much of anything. The new views could explain everything. As time passed, more and more people embraced scientific history. This left fewer and fewer people interested in hiring historians who rejected science. History majors who couldn’t accept the dates that science gave them realized they wouldn’t be able to get work in this field, so they switched to other fields. The percentage of historians that accept science has continued to grow each year, while the percentage that refuses to accept science shrinks.
This kind of a transition takes time.
It is not entirely complete yet, but the great majority of historians now accept science. Each year that passes, scientific historians stretch back the ‘beginning of human history’ by some amount. By the late 1960s, some historians were willing to accept that humans may have been on the planet tens of thousands of years ago. By the 1970s some were even saying humans might have been on Earth for hundreds of thousands of years. By the turn of the 21st century, reputable scientists were presenting figures of millions of years. As of 2016, the oldest dates given by scientists take us back 3.2 million years. Scientists have found both human remains and complex tools (containing several parts which were engineered and manufactured separately and then assembled) that go back .
We now have evidence that tells us humans have been on this planet for a very, very long time.
The New Old Thinking
Before the scientific evidence, historians basically accepted that human history went back 6,000 years, and no further. They had worked out the history of the human race in the last 6,000 years with as much precision as they could, given the evidence they had.
But they had built their understanding at a time when it was unacceptable for anyone to accept that anything existed before 6,000 years ago. (As we will see, for a large portion of the most recent 6,000 years of history, certain specific belief systems were mandatory and people who didn’t accept them were punished by execution, often by the most brutal and inhumane manner the executioners could devise. Generally, the belief systems started with the idea of a fairly recent origin for the Earth, animals, and humans.)
Only very recently have people come to accept that there was something before 6,000 years ago. Once they did this, they decided to call the era that began 6,000 years ago ‘the historic period’ and call the era before that the ‘prehistoric period.’
There were people during the prehistoric period. We have virtually unlimited evidence to this effect.
How did these people live?
How did they organize their daily activities to meet their needs?
The division into ‘nations,’ the massive continent-wide or global wars, the enormous corporations with tools that allow them to do more harm to the environment in a single year than has been done in all of prehistory, are clearly recent events. These societies leave very clear artifacts of their existence. We find no evidence of the artifacts of any of these things going back more than 6,000 years. This means that, before 6,000 years ago, people must have lived differently. Then, something must have happened to cause human societies to change to the types of societies that you and I were born into.
What was this event?
Why did it happen?
Historians have a very hard time with these questions. Until modern scientific tools became available, they could hide their ignorance with a very simple mechanism: they could deny that anything existed before 6,000 years ago. They could claim that the very first humans lived pretty much as we live now, dividing their world into nations and fighting over the borders. They could claim that nations, borders, governments, and wars came to exist either because it is their ‘nature,’ or that it was all created by an all-powerful currently-invisible super-human being that lives in the sky, one that can simply make anything appear through incantations or the force of will.
Now that we have scientific evidence that history goes back millions of years before anything the historians knew about, these kinds of statements seem very much like excuses for an inability to answer questions that true historians should be able to answer, but they cannot.
It must not be our ‘nature’ to divide the world we live on into ‘nations’ with imaginary lines, and devote much of our time, energy, and wealth to the construction of tools of mass murder and destruction. If this was ‘our nature,’ we wouldn’t have lived differently for 99.8% of the time we lived on this world. It seems unlikely that an all-powerful super-human being would create the world, wait a billion years, then create life, then wait hundreds of millions of years, then turn that living thing into a more advanced living thing, and then go through this entire process for 4.5 billion years, then finally complete the final step in the process 3.2 million years ago, then leave these people with an entirely different way of living for almost all of the time we were on Earth, then create nations for people on one continent 6,000 years ago, while leaving the rest of the world without nations until the last few centuries. The simplistic explanations (‘it is our nature to be as we are’ or ‘it is this way because that’s the way God made it’) seem to be nothing more than excuses that people who claim to be historians use for their inability to explain things that people who really did understand history should easily be able to explain.
There must be real answers the important questions of history.
If we knew these answers, we may be able to use them to help us understand we can do in the future by showing us what we have done in the past. When people started to get scientific evidence that history was wrong, they wanted these answers. They turned to the people who are supposed to know such things—historians–to help them understand.
But the people who should have known the answers had no idea.
Their field had never studied such things.
In order to avoid, rationalize, or provide excuses for their failures, some historians created a kind of ridiculous caricature of the people who lived before 6,000 years ago:
Yes, beings existed that had human form, and could make tools. But they weren’t really people, at least not like you and me. They were ‘savages,’ a kind of ferocious and vicious animal that just happened to have the same physical appearance of humans and just happened to have the ability to make tools. But not humans with anything remotely close to the intelligence of people in the historic age. Historians didn’t even want to even take these savages seriously enough to discuss (except for a few outliers like , and , who were sharply criticized by experts in the field for their extremism.)
The greatest amount of evidence we have from the people who lived before the historic era comes from caves. This makes sense: caves are the only places where evidence can survive for a long period of time without being destroyed or covered by elements. Those who created the caricature of prehistoric man used this evidence to help them caricaturize these people, calling them ‘cave men.’ This created a picture in people’s minds of beings that could only live in caves: they were simply too primitive to build shelters and too timid to sleep anywhere outside of caves.
Of course, the world just doesn’t have very many caves.
If the people who lived before 6,000 years ago only lived in caves, there couldn’t have been very many people, because the caves of the world couldn’t house very many people. By presenting this picture of what they called ‘prehistory’ (a term which, even by itself, implies that this is not a period of time worth thinking about), the people who didn’t want to have to take the time to try to figure out what actually happened could propose that the period in question doesn’t deserve analysis: the ‘cave men’ never did anything, or thought anything, or organized anything worth knowing about. The people who claimed to be historians could propose that their failure to even realize that the majority of history happened at all didn’t fundamentally alter anything about their field: the part they missed didn’t matter. The historians therefore knew everything that was to be known about their field; they hadn’t really missed anything that mattered.
Unfortunately, if we accept this premise, we basically miss what are actually the most important events in history (this is the consequence of working off of false or incomplete information.)
We were born into societies built on the idea of dividing the world into nations and building weapons (including some that can destroy the world if used) to protect the imaginary lines that separate nations from each other.
How did this kind of society come to exist?
Where did it come from?
How did we live before nations existed?
What series of events caused people to decide, at some point, to start creating the important structures that are a part of our world now?
I claim that these are important questions.
If we have evidence that humans have ever lived any other way—any other way at all—we can then see immediately there is almost certainly hope for the human race. True, societies that divide the world into ‘nations’ with imaginary lines and fight over these lines have horrible problems. But these are not the only possible ways humans can organize their existence. If we know there are others, it makes sense to analyze the differences and figure out exactly why nations come to exist (we can do this by comparing societies without nations to societies with nations). If we know this, we will understand details about the different possible ways humans can put together the important structures of our existence, and perhaps be able to organize something that can meet our needs and not have the inherent problems that the societies we were born into clearly have.
Here is what the evidence tells us:
The historical stage we are now in consists of only a trivial part of history. We have been in this stage for less than 2/10th of 1% of the time humans have existed. People lived differently for more than 99.8% of the time we were here. If we lived some other way for the great bulk of the time we lived on this planet, the claim that we live this way because it is our ‘nature’ is clearly wrong.
Human ‘nature’ is clearly consistent with other modes of existence.
We are at a certain place in time. We got here (our ancestors got us here) by taking some path. If we want to know where we can go from here, we have to be willing to ask questions that will help us understand what really happened during the missing period of our history. As a first step, we can take what we know about biology, anthropology, and other sciences to figure out what kinds of modes of existence would have been available to newly-evolved humans; we can then analyze the physical evidence and artifacts we have at our disposal (more than at any other time in history, due to the scientific tools that have only recently become available) to determine whether they match the modes that science tells us are most likely.
Keywords: forensic history, fact based history, true history, history without lies, verified history, documented history, biased history, unbiased history, forensic analysis, natural law societies, Sovereign law societies, Socratic societies, Socrates, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Plato, Aristotle, Reforming societies, rebuilding societies, repairing societies. non-destructive societies, nondestructive societies, fixing war, ending pollution, ending depletion, making the world a better place, leasehold ownership, private ownership, government ownership, corporate ownership, preventing extinction.