Monday, March 24, 2014

What was the real reason for the US Civil War

The goal of secession, said Jefferson Davis, was to protect the rights of “sovereign states” from “tremendous and sweeping usurpation” by the federal government. “The truth remains intact and incontrovertible, that the existence of African servitude was in no wise the cause of the conflict, but only an incident.”
Was this the primary reason that the Southern States seceded in 1860?  To determine this it is necessary to investigate whether his statement is consistent with words, writings, and actions of Southern politicians leading up to the secession and ultimate war.   That is, what does the evidence show was the goal of secession.
The political situation in 1860 was Lincoln, a republican, had been elected to the presidency, but not by a large majority and the democrats might have been able to control the Senate.  Thus, while they were losing some political ground there was no evidence of the eminent passing of abolition of slavery bill or of losing significant power in the congress. At this point states’ rights was not a critical issue.
In 1850 cotton was the major export of the US and slaves were the primary capital asset of the country.  The South was a slave society and could not exist economically without slaves.  Thus, cotton and it means of production, slaves, were of utmost importance to the economy of the South.    
As discussed in the lectures, as the United States added new territories it became clear to Southern politicians that they were losing power to the North and the potential for abolition was growing.  The South became obsessed with retaining slavery.  Because slavery was such an immoral act, there was no way to argue directly for its continuance. So their strategy became to focus on an indirectly related constitutional issue, states’ rights.  However, virtually everything they did and said was about slavery.  Except for slavery no other issue concerned states rights.
To illustrate this point I will discuss a few of the important documents of the time.
The 1850 Compromise contained statements that the new New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory could in principle decide in the future to become slave states; the fugitive slave act was strengthened and; slave trade was banned in Washington DC.  There was no mention of either increased or decreased states right for the new territories.
The Mississippi secession document starts with this preamble:
“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

Clearly this is an admission that by far the biggest issue on their minds was slavery.
Four of the reasons listed in the South Carolina secession document were issues of slavery.  None had anything to do with state sovereignty. 
The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 opened new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise allowing white male settlers to determine through popular sovereignty whether they would allow slavery. The result was that both sides flooded into Kansas with the goal of voting slavery up or down, leading much bloodshed.  There was no mention of states’ rights in that act.
Davis' statement is demonstrably untrue.  His revisionist spin on the cause of the conflict cannot be reconciled with the historical record.  While most of the seceding States did not give reasons for their decision to secede, a handful of States did offer reasons and they overwhelmingly centered on the issue of slavery.  
Thus, Davis’s comments of yesteryear, like FOX news today, bear no resemblance to the true facts of that situation.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How has globalization affected the world's natural and social environment?

The most American car is a Honda, product of a Japanese corporation. This is one example of the impact of globalization.   Globalization is the process of increased interconnectedness among countries most notably in the areas of economics, politics, and culture. 

The affects can be understood by looking at trends and specific examples of the process.

Social Environment – Economic

In the 70s America and many other western nations took their currencies off the gold standard thus ending a period of currency fixed to reserve currencies or precious metals.  This allowed for floating currencies whose exchange rates are based upon supply and demand and created worldwide markets in currency.  This action allowed countries to influence economic fluctuations via fiscal and monetary policies. 
Commercial trade between countries significantly increased accelerating commercial interdependence.  World trade increased nearly tenfold between 1973 and 1998, reaching 42% of world GDP.

It produced a shift in international division of labor; the biggest shift came from East Asia.  Japan’s share of world trade doubled during that period and China’s almost tripled.  A large percentage of manufacturing and its associated labor was moved from the West to Asia and South America.  During this period the output of East Asia doubled.

This shift has had a devastating impact on America.  Over the past 12 years, U.S. manufacturers have cut 31 percent of their workforce, or nearly 6 million workers. Their contribution to gross domestic product fell to 12.2 percent in 2011 from 22.7 percent in 1970.

The main financier of global loans was the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Their purpose is to enhance the economies of its member nations.  A condition of their loans was that the recipients adopt more modern fiscal policies.  Their financial help has aided many countries to grow their economies.

The European answer to this growing problem was to create a single European currency, the Euro.   That currency is now the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar.

Social Environment - Technology
Technology acted as enabler to many global processes.  The Internet, that became the backbone of online stock trading, integrated trading across the world.

The percentage of technical products in world trade has doubled while percentage of basic products decreased by 50%.  Thus, countries with an educated workforce gained substantially while those that didn’t remained poor.  This divided the world financially into countries that have knowledge workers and those who don’t.

Social Environment - Migration

Just as earlier migration resulted from people leaving an agrarian life to move to the industrialized city, globalization encouraged a large migration from poor countries to rich ones.  The number of immigrants doubled during this period.

Because of the nationalism present in European countries, they did not readily accept these workers on a permanent basis, but as guest workers.  As a result they were not easily integrated into these societies.  Japan had the same issue, encouraging temporary workers, but having social policies that were very hostile leading to discrimination and exclusion.     

Because of the history of immigration to their nation, Americans were more willing to allow immigrants to become citizens.  By 2000 the percentage of immigrants in the country had doubled.  However, the issue between residence and citizenship arose even there.

In summary, this great migration has been met with mixed reactions.  Business was more than willing to accept competent employees who were willing to do work many natives wouldn’t and would accept lower wages.  Conversely, many citizens attempted to exclude the immigrants from the mainstream culture.  This has generally led to increased concerns over the ethnic makeup of local communities.

Social Environment - Culture

Historically, culture has been limited by geographical proximity.  That is, people who lived and worked in a relatively close geographical area would have a common culture.  Globalization would have a big impact in two ways.  Existing local cultures would integrate components of the culture of the new immigrants, and local culture of many countries, especially America, would be transported to the rest of the world via the discovery of new media methods. 

Thus, the introduction of both audio and video tape media allowed culture to spread globally.  American music, films, and television shows would be seen in most countries of the world.  Reggae, a Jamaican musical genre, became popular in England and Canada where West Indian people had moved in the sixties and seventies. 

Sporting events, which are a component of culture, also became globalized in a similar manner.  Local sports teams began to import sports stars from other countries, and local sports like American basketball become popular in many other countries.  

The globalization of culture created a global stage viewable through new media by virtually all nations creating an increasing homogeneous world culture.

While economics, migration, and culture produced physical global networks, communication technology produced logical global networks.  The combination of satellites and personal computers created in the 70s, along with the World Wide Web produced the Internet.  This allowed for worldwide communication that made it easier than communicating with neighbors and cheaper.  It also made available an immense amount of information to virtually anyone who was connected with the Internet.

Natural Environment

Along with the growing commercialism of the richer countries came the increased consumption of natural resources.  Water was required to meet the needs of increased food production and urban life.  Energy consumption, especially fossil fuels, was necessary to fuel the commercial expansion, increased significantly in the richer countries. 

This increased use of limited resources brought about problems of shortage, pollution and waste disposal.  The greatest problem, global climate change, was brought about by the increased emission of carbon-based gases. 

Thus, the effect of globalization had a very positive effect on the rich nations and little or negative effect on the poor nations.  The result was a further widening of the gulf between the two socioeconomic classes.  The result on the environment was catastrophic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The sources of and responses to imperial expansion around the world from 1860 to 1914


Imperialism is the act of domination of one country over the political, economic and cultural life of another country or region.  While such practices have existed for many hundreds of years, the Age of Imperialism refers to a period in the second half of the nineteenth century to the early part of the twentieth.  Most of the imperialistic activities were carried on by Western European nations.  However, Japan and the United States also participated.

European Imperialism

What were the sources driving the imperialistic movement?

The imperialism resulted from three key factors:

1.     Nationalism prompted rival European nations to build empires in their competitive quests for power.  If one country started a colony in Africa, other European nations felt pressure to do the same.  It was a feeding frenzy to acquire property and power.

2.     The Industrial Revolution created a tremendous demand for raw materials and expanded markets for the products, which prompted industrialized European nations to seek new territories. 

3.    Both religious fervor and feelings of racial and cultural superiority inspired Europeans to impose their cultures on distant lands. Religious and humanitarian impulses inspired many people to travel to distant colonies. The desire to spread Western technology, religion, customs and traditions also fueled colonial expansion.  Probably the most popular were Catholic and Protestant missionaries who attempted to bring the Christian message to the colonies

African Colonization

Before 1870 Europeans had little presence in Africa mainly because of their lack of resistance to the area's tropical diseases.  The Industrial Revolution gave them two new weapons: vaccines for combating the diseases and rifles and machine guns for combating the African natives. The publicity generated by an expedition by the journalist Henry Stanley to find the explorer David Livingston acted as a catalyst to seek expansion. 

This started a frantic scramble by European nations to gain a presence in Africa.  In 1885, 14 nations met in Berlin and agreed to divide Africa.  By 1914 European nations controlled 90 percent of that continent.

Effects of African Imperialism

The impact on colonies was generally negative.  The colonial boundaries drawn by the European nations at Berlin often cut across old tribal boundaries or combined peoples of different and hostile tribes.  This mess is still being sorted out today, a continuing legacy of European rule. 

The colonial peoples were subjected to humiliation and suffering.  While Europeans did work to abolish slavery, they still killed thousands through forced labor in order to complete their building projects and bring the "benefits" of European civilization to Africa.

The colonies suffered the negative effects of imposing European culture upon native peoples because it was supposedly superior.  For example, Europeans imposed their agricultural techniques on Africans and, in the process, ruined the soil.  In the end, this cultural policy backfired against Europeans.  Many colonial subjects went to Europe to get college educations and brought back the dangerous ideas of liberalism, nationalism, and Marxism.  That, combined with the fact that many colonials served in European armies and had picked up on European firearms technology, helped lead to the ultimate downfall of the European colonial empires.

The multinational European companies gained substantial economic power during the period.

American Imperialism

The primary source of American imperialism was the concept of Manifest Destiny, a belief widely held by Americans in the 19th century that the United States was destined to expand across the continent.  It was used repeatedly to justify their imperialistic acts. 

Seeing the rapid global expansion of European nations, America desired to gain a presence in other lands and also prevent European countries from encroaching on their borders.  Protecting their local interests and attempting to help Cuba from Spanish oppression, America entered into a war with Spain which they very quickly won. As a result of this war the United States gained the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico. Although independent, Cuba was under American protection.

To further their imperial ambitions United States made many other significant territorial gains. They purchased Alaska from Russia and annexed Hawaii after American entrepreneurs had overthrown the Hawaiian queen. In 1917 the United States purchased the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix) from Denmark.

In 1845 Texas joined the American republic as a state.  With their eyes on the great expanse of land in the West and under the theory of Manifest Destiny, they soon invaded Mexico and quickly won the war.  With this action the US almost doubled in size.

East Asia – Japanese Imperialism

A few years after the arrival of Commodore Perry, Japanese leaders made Japan into a great power capable of competing with Western nations. They strengthened the military, and worked to transform the nation into an industrial society. Their ever expanding industries needed more natural resources and the government felt they needed a buffer zone from the giant to the West – China.  To accomplish this they began to establish their own overseas empire. The first nation to fall to them was Korea. They continued to expand for the next few decades.

By the end of the 1800s, a handful of European countries, together with the United States, controlled nearly the entire world thus giving this age the appropriate name as the Age of Imperialism.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How did the Columbian exchange change the balance of global forces across the world?

Why are there oranges in Florida, bananas in Ecuador, paprika in Hungary, tomatoes in Italy, pineapples in Hawaii, rubber trees in Africa, cattle in Texas,  and chocolate in Switzerland? The answer is because of the Columbian Exchange.

The Columbian Exchange was a global phenomenon whose unintended consequences changed the world forever.  Its primary effect was to change the ecology and cuisine of virtually every country in the world.  Its secondary effect was to change the balance of world power from Asia to Europe.

After Columbus discovered the Americas, Spain continued to send galleons across the Atlantic for decades to recover its gold and silver.  In the simply process of Europeans landing on the Americas seeking precious metals, a complex unintentional exchange of non-native plants, animals, and diseases from Europe to the Americas, and vice versa, was set up that would change the ecology of the world.  This exchange greatly enriched European life and had a devastating effect on life in the Americas.

In addition to the precious metals, the exchange primarily consisted of three items:  pathogens from Europe that didn’t exist in the Americas, domestic animals from Europe that didn’t exist in the Americas, and plants native to the Americas that didn’t exist in Europe or anywhere else in the world.

The Exchange modified the balance of global forces primarily in two ways.  It changed the culture of many if not most nations and increased the military and economic power of some countries, thus changing the balance of power over the globe.

The cultural changes were:

The domestic animals brought from Europe, primarily the horse, cow and pig, allowed the Natives to change from an agricultural society to a nomadic and ranching society.

Items like tomatoes, beans, cacao, peanuts, tobacco, and squash would transform the diets of all Europeans and eventually all nations.

The introduction of the potato to Europe and eventually to Ireland where they became heavily dependent them, lead to their great famine.  Tomatoes, brought to Italy from the Americas became the staple of their world famous cuisine.

Because of their lack of technology, the people of the Americas were not a global force.  However, the virtual decimation of their population wrought by the Exchange and the subsequent treatment they received destroyed their culture.

In order to exploit the resources in the Americas the Europeans imported slave labor from Africa.  Up until the mid 19th century more Africans came to the Americas than Europeans.  Thus, indirectly, the Exchange was responsible for the enslavement of a culture for more than 300 years.

The economic and military changes were:

While there were several factors that allowed the Europeans to eventually conquer the American natives, arguably the most important was disease.  They brought with them the smallpox and measles germs from which the natives had no immunity.  The result was that as many as 90% of the natives were killed off by these diseases.  This made their conquest significantly easier.

The silver and gold brought back to Europe significantly enriched their governments.  It was used to pay for goods from Asia, expanding their military, and erect extravagant governmental buildings.

Additionally, the transfer of native staples, such as efficient carbohydrate-rich crops like corn and potatoes, allowed Europeans and Africans to overcome their food shortages.   This was a major factor in allowing the population of Europe to increase substantially over the next few centuries and thus have larger militaries.

The transformation of North America into ranching for the production of pigs and cows changed the ranges of Western American into a pork and beef production centers, eventually making it a major economic area.

Based upon these changes in the global peoples and economies it is clear that the Columbian Exchange produced major changes in the way the world was to function for hundreds of years.

Causes and processes of European conquests of the Americas explained

The conquest of the New World began when Columbus asked Spain to finance his trip across the Atlantic Ocean in order to open a trade route to Japan and China.  He also intended to Christianize the natives and enrich himself and the queen.   It was not a single event such as Columbus’ discovery but consisted of many events and decisions that lasted for about four hundred years.

Changes in technology within Europe provided them with large ships that could cross the ocean carrying many men.  The discovery of Brazilwood helped accelerated the development of ship building. The ability to fabricate steel provided them with weapons that were a force unmatched by the people in the Americas.  Among these weapons were spears, swords, and guns.

Another major cause of the conquest was the pathogens brought by the Europeans that the natives had no immunity from, basically smallpox and measles.  The Europeans were able to domesticate several animals to perform farm work.  Over the years this close relationship provided the Europeans with immunities to certain diseases.  However, in America there were virtually no domesticated animals and thus the natives did not have these immunities and were overcome with the European pathogens.

There forged steel swords were a large advantage since the natives had no similar weapons. The natives had not ever seen any structure as large as the European ships.  This gave the Europeans a godlike quality.

Initially Columbus came with three ships and 87 men.  But upon returning and relating his story of the gold he found the Spanish soon sent many more ships and men to recover the riches.

The crown devised an economic model whereby a conquistador was granted control over the native land and labor in order to extract the gold.  In return the crown imposed a tax on the extracted precious metals.  This was an economic model that worked well for everyone but the native population.

This action however was in conflict with the Church’s intent to Christianize the natives.  The friars claimed this relationship as exploitive of their potential converts.  The controversy leads to an ethical issue within Spain as to whether enslavement of New World natives was immoral.  This issue caused friar by de las Casas to write his famous book on ethics.  This argument leads to their decision on how to govern the colonies populated by the Spanish captives.

As the placer gold mines ran dry the Spanish went to the mainland and found much larger and more civilized societies.  This represented an opportunity for Spain to reap substantially larger rewards. 

Cortez and his over 500 men set out in the beginning of the sixteenth century to conquer a much larger Aztec civilization.  Their ability to do this was due primarily to:  disease, more Aztecs died of disease then were killed by the Spanish; the help of neighboring tribes who were rivals to the Aztecs; vastly superior arms; the passivity of the Aztecs warriors who were trained not to kill their rivals; and finally the use of an intermediary, the daughter of a local leader.

In addition to the Aztec civilization, the Spanish also conquered the Incas, who lived in the Andes Mountains and who population was larger than four million.  When Pizzaro arrived with only 500 soldiers the Incas were in the middle of a civil war.  Once again it was disease and overwhelming arms power that allow Pizzaro to become victorious over his more numerous opposition. 

The conquest of these peoples raised the issue of what form of government would be used to control the native people.   In general, a compromise between the conquerors and the conquered was used to maximize the chance of stability.  The stability was required to maximize the riches that they could extract from the colonies.

In North America the Spanish meet a different situation because it was much less populated and organized.  As a result the conquest was much less militant and much more cooperative.  Trading of beaver pelts was an example of diplomacy used.

With the conquest of the Aztecs and Incas Spain was in control of the New World.  This brought them two major rewards:  control over both the human and material riches of the area and a colony that would purchase Spanish products and would produce products for consumption in Europe.  This would change the balance of power between Europe and the rest of the World.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where was Jesus Born?

The answer almost all Christians give, without thinking, is Bethlehem. However, there is little in the Bible to shed any light on this fact. Because the book of Micah in the Old Testament prophesized that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, his being born elsewhere would be difficult to explain. Thus, it would be important that Jesus was born there. The little evidence that is available, as I will show, is very conflicting and there are many references within the bible to “Jesus of Nazareth’” implying that Nazareth was his birth place.

In seeking an answer, the only potential sources in the Bible are Paul, written in the first generation of Christians, and the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, written in the second generation of Christians. It is generally agreed that the authors of the gospels are unknown and not the named disciples. Their titles were applied about one hundred years after they were written.

There is no mention of the birth in any of Paul’s letters. This could have been because he had no knowledge of the facts. However, there might be another reason. He was attempting to convert people into Christianity and the best candidates were Jews. If Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he would be linked with Jewish history, something that Paul would not want them to be aware of since it would make conversion more difficult.

Turning to the gospels, the predominate view is that Mark was the first gospel to be written and the authors of both Matthew and Luke freely drew from its passages. John was written independently.

Both Mark and John make no mention of the birth. However, both freely refer to Jesus as “Jesus of Nazareth.”

The first chapter of Matthew creates the genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham, apparently to show his Jewish roots. This is further weight to the requirement of being born in Bethlehem. Matthew 2 very briefly discusses the birth, implying that Mary and Joseph lived in Bethlehem prior to the birth. They are visited by the wise men, sent by Herod, having followed the star. Interestingly, they visited in a “house” not a manger (Matthew 2:11). In following chapters this event is never mentioned and Jesus is continually referred to as Jesus of Nazareth.

How trustworthy is this view? In Matthew 1 the genealogy is obtained from the book of Chronicles. However, it is incorrectly transcribed to obtain the conclusion that every 14 generations something miraculous happens. Additionally, Luke also changes a story that appeared in John to make it correspond to the Old Testament (Matthew 21:2,7). The biggest problem may be that this version is irreconcilable with the version in Luke.

The version in Luke 2 is the one most people were told. It contains the story of: traveling to Bethlehem from Nazareth because of a Roman census requirement, the birth occurring in a manger because there is no room in the inn, and the infant being visited by adoring shepherds.

This story presents almost insurmountable problems, the largest of which is the journey. While there is some historical basis for the census, records show that is was held several years after Jesus was born. Since the purpose of the census was for tax collection it is unlikely that any travel was required. If it was, only the husband would have been required to be present. The trip was necessary because of a relationship with David, but that was more than forty generations prior. In an age where nothing was written, how could Joseph have known that fact? If Mary was approximately nine months pregnant, the arduous trip on the back of a donkey would have been very dangerous for her health.

Additionally, they were visited by Shepherds, not wise men, and the birth occurred in a manger, not a house.

As with Matthew, these events are never mentioned again and many references are made to Jesus of Nazareth.

Given this evidence a definitive conclusion is difficult. One could argue that this is another example of a story being added to the bible to make a theological point. Biblical scholars believe that many stories were added to the bible for this reason. For instance, nearly all agree that the Story of the Adulteress, usually appearing in Bibles as John 7:53-8:11, was added to the Gospel hundreds of years later.

I think it would be expected that early Christians simply did not know much about Jesus’ birth. The main significance for many of his earliest followers had to do with his teaching, death, resurrection and expected return. The story of his birth or where it occurred would have been almost completely unknown with the exception of his family.

Was he born in Bethlehem? Or Nazareth? We see that the answer to the question initially posed is difficult and probably impossible. How could we determine the truth when it appears that the early Christians didn’t know?


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Physiology of multiple personalities or DID

Until World War II most psychiatrists believed that mental illness resulted from issues encountered in childhood. However, when it was discovered that the vast majority of concentration camp survivors reported a happy childhood, this theory needed to be revisited. Eventually it was concluded that chronic mental illness could develop in persons who had a harmonious childhood but who had been subjected to extreme physical and psychological stress. This created a paradigm shift in the field of psychology in their understanding of the way extreme stress could affect adults and how it should be treated.

Dissociation is the act of separating oneself from your awareness. It occurs naturally for most of us when performing uninteresting or monotonous tasks. However, dissociation exists on a continuous spectrum and when it occurs and there is an actual identify shift it is considered a mental disorder and referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

Almost all DID subjects are victims of severe and chronic childhood sexual and physical abuse. These subjects are also often diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or borderline personality, in addition to DID. Epidemiological studies have shown that DID exists in 1-3% of the general population.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), fourth edition, in section 300.14, defines the essential features of DID as: “the presence of two or more distinct identities or personal states that recurrently take control of behavior. There is an inability to recall important personal information, the extent of which is too great to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or general medical condition.”

I was unable to find statistically based information regarding the average number of alter states, but based upon my reading it would not be unusual to have a many as five to ten alters, each with distinctive emotional attributes, age, and physical demeanor. Each alter state has one of two identity states. Either a neutral identity state (NIS) that inhibits memory of the trauma or a traumatic identity state (TIS) that has access and responses to the trauma. The dissociation associated with this disorder acts as a defense and enables victims to maintain a relatively healthy level of functioning because traumatic memories are disconnected from other information in their minds

The most effective psychoanalytic treatment involves attempting to integrate the multiple states. As some patients progress with this treatment they are able to volitionally transfer between alter states. These subjects are very useful in experiments attempting to gather physiological data on this disorder.

To date, very little is known about the physiology of DID. Two reasons for this are because of its only recent acceptance as a disorder and the dynamic nature of the disorder. Alter state switches, which are of most interest, occur within seconds making analysis difficult.

Recent studies have focused on the limbic system and specifically the hippocampus. It is very sensitive to stress making it an excellent candidate for exploration. It is very important for remembering where you were and what you were doing when something important happened; in other words, providing context. Several studies have linked stress to reduced hippocampal volume.

Because of the excellent temporal and spatial resolution of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it is an excellent tool to study this type of disorder.

The Tsai et al. study performed a structural and functional MRI on a middle aged woman who was diagnosed with DID. The structural test measured the volume of the hippocampus and compared it to normal values. The functional test attempted to determine the area(s) of the brain that were active during the switching between alter states.

This study found that while the subject’s intracranial volume was normal, her hippocampal volume was 50% smaller than values for normal females. Additionally, during the state switch from NIS to TIS there was bilateral hippocampal inhabitation (less activity during switching than normal state) with more inhabitation on the right side (subject was right handed). The right parahippocampal and medial temporal regions were also inhabited. The switch from TIS to NIS created only right hippocampal activation. In addition to confirming other studies regarding the diminished hippocampus, the study concluded that the hippocampus and medial temporal could be involved in the switching of states.

The Vermetten et. al. study compared hippocampal and amygdalar volumes of approximately twenty female subjects with DID to a like number of healthy subjects.

The results showed the DID subjects had a 19.2% smaller hippocampal volume and a 31.6% smaller amygdalar volume than healthy subjects. They also measured the ratio of hippocampal to amygdalar volume and found it to be larger in the DID group. This finding is consistent with the findings of other experiments in which the subjects were victims of extreme abuse.

This study suggested that since the hippocampus is a major target for glucocorticoids, which are release during stressful experiences, this could be the source of atrophy of the hippocampus. No rational was attempted for difference in amygdalar volume, nor was the difference in the ratio of volumes explained.

The Reinders study measured the emotional response of eleven DID subjects first in the NIS state and then in the TIS state. Each alter was read two sets of information. One that was neutral and the other trauma related. The premise was that the TIS when listening to trauma related information would: 1) exhibit emotional processing similar to patients with PTSD, 2) have more emotional and sensorimotor reactions, and 3) have higher heart rate and blood pressure. PET diagnosis was used to gather the data. The measurements used by the study were changes in regional cerebral blood flow and autonomic reactions.

The finding verified their premise. When the alter was in the TIS state the reaction to trauma related information showed completely different brain areas were effected than when read the same information in the NIS state.

Since it is believed that DID subjects exhibit anomalies in memory, consciousness, and perception the Dorahy et al study attempted to determine whether subjects had working memory processing problems that are not present in normal subjects. Also, if there were problems did they exist in both the NIS state and the TIS state.

This study performed three tests to determine the capability of working memory to process in a normal manner for all subjects. While results were quite technical, the findings were somewhat surprising in that no significant differences existed in the function of working memory between DID subjects and non-clinical ones.

The DSM is the gold standard for US mental health professionals for describing and diagnosing mental disorders. The latest version was published in 1994 included the description of DID previously referred to. This inclusion should be enough to extinguish doubts about this disorder. For evidence that it is a very conservative publication, it was not until the 1970s that it removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

In spite of this, the disorder remains somewhat controversial. A vocal minority of psychologists don’t believe that it is possible for a person to have multiple personalities without some prompting. In my opinion they are like the European doctors in the second half of the 19th century who after being told by Ignac Semmelweis to wash their hands before delivering a baby, scoffed at the advice and continued killing their patients with their germ infected hands. Others are not sure exactly how to differentiate this disorder from others such as PTSD or borderline subjects. This conclusion is understandable and will be resolved as we learn more about the impact of trauma.

In addition resistance comes from several sources such as: resistance to the recognition of the widespread physical and sexual abuse of children by parents; resistance to a paradigm shift in treating emotional ill patients differently than physically ill ones; resistance as a result of personal investment of professionals to a different outcome; and resistance because its treatment is difficult, intense, and long term.