Some time recently I met some friends of ancient times. Of course I could not bear but to steer the conversation in the direction I always go here. I wrote three of them, but have not received an answer. Ordinarily when I write someone using publicly available contact information I include that information. However these were friends, and in the absence of permission I shall withhold addresses.

May 28, 2014

Dear FJ
It was great seeing you at the reunion.  Thanks for all your efforts to make it the success it was.  We got interrupted at one point, and I thought I’d take occasion to finish my sentence.

As I had said, the historical evidence is very strong that the survival of a society is a matter of demographics and nothing else.  It has been shown that fertility declines with decreasing kinship and this process accumulates over generations; the only study that went as far as great grandchildren found the effect was greater than the prior two generations combined.  Then when you graph out the historical experience in places where there are adequate records it becomes obvious that there can be only one or two causes of collapse.  Although we do not have census data over the past several thousand years, we do have an on-site description from the time.  The book of Daniel occurs as one of the Mesopotamian empire collapses.

People think of the book of Daniel as being the lions’ den, the fiery furnace and the handwriting on the wall.  Mostly it is an intensive history course.  It is all cast as prophesy in that it is future tense, but that is fairly standard for a calculation since a calculation often precedes a transaction. 

The bottom line is that Daniel looked at the same data I have looked at.  Then there is the good old “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.”  That’s “tekel” from the handwriting.  “Mene,” which comes first and is emphasized by being repeated, says “counted,” and Daniel makes no bones about it talking to Belshazzar, “Your country has been counted.”  The man is talking demographics.  Belshazzar was not king.  He was the crown prince.  That’s why he made Daniel the third man in the kingdom.  The real king was down south attending to the dedication of a temple to a fertility god.

In other words, as you say a single anecdote is happenstance, but as James Bond said, “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

If you like, five years from now, I can give a talk for the class.  I can go over the fertility thing.  If time permits I have a few other things I can talk about that you likewise won’t hear anywhere else.  Wesleyan taught us to think independently, right?

So I am at your service.  Thanks again.


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