Another Creationist Meets his Maker

Read this announcement:

https://www.icr.org/article/in-loving-memory-of-dr-henry-m-morris-iii/

In Loving Memory of Dr. Henry M. Morris III
It is with heavy hearts that the Institute for Creation Research announces the homegoing of our CEO, Dr. Henry M. Morris III. He went to be with his Lord on December 12, 2020.

After his years of faithful service, Dr. Morris, known affectionately around the office as Dr. Henry, was planning to retire from his ICR leadership position at the end of this month. A tribute article about him was included in the December issue of Acts & Facts.

We’d like to share some excerpts from that article as we reflect on what Dr. Henry has meant to ICR’s ministry and to so many people who have been touched by his life and influence over the years.

Dr. Henry M. Morris III has been at the heart of ICR’s ministry work for decades, using his gifts as a leader, speaker, and writer to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and how science affirms creation. Some might say a passion for creation ministry has run in his family. His father, Dr. Henry M. Morris—widely known as the father of modern creationism—founded ICR in 1970, and his brother Dr. John Morris served as ICR President from 1996 to 2014 and as President Emeritus after that.

Here’s the thing to remember: The Morris family claimed to be scientists, researching evidence for creationism, but that is fraudulent; genuine scientists never make assumptions about reality and twist the results of their work to fit the assumptions. But that’s what Creationists have always done, because they are motivated by dogma, not objective truth.

science-v-spooky

Reading the announcement further:

Dr. Henry joined ICR in 2000 as Executive Vice President for Strategic Ministries. In 2004, he and his wife, Jan, moved to the Dallas area to prepare for the relocation of ICR from Santee, California, to that more central region of the United States. Once they found a place to live, their home functioned as a hub of the Texas “branch” for about two years, with the Dallas staff working from their living room until an office building could be located.

And why would the ICR move from one state to another? Most likely for political reasons. California is a “blue” (liberal Democratic) state while Texas is a “red” (conservative Republican) state, so perhaps Morris hoped to get more political support from the people and even the state government in Texas. Another Creationist group, Answers in Genesis, is also headquartered in a red state, Kentucky.

Between 2007 and 2010, Dr. Henry worked to establish a new generation of creation scientists who would be eager to uncover new evidence for biblical creation. The most important criteria he looked for were an unwavering commitment to Scripture and strong technical training in a scientific field.

Quite simply, you cannot uncover evidence that doesn’t exist. And the point of having training in science is to be able to write propaganda in “scientific” sounding language to deceive Christian readers who are themselves scientifically illiterate.

He was also instrumental in the push to create a DVD series churches could use to introduce their members to creation truth without the time and expense of bringing in an ICR speaker. He said, “I became convinced that we needed to do something that would offer the smaller churches a quality educational resource without the expense of funding a seminar. That generated the idea of having a collection of these short, 20-minute, movie-quality episodes.”

This is actually a damning indication of how far Creationism has fallen since its heyday decades ago. Plus not having a speaker means people can’t ask them critical questions about their claims and dogmas.

As a passionate and engaging speaker, Dr. Henry often joined the ICR science team at creation seminars and conferences. He communicated the importance of the authority and accuracy of God’s Word and exhorted Christian believers not to compromise but to uphold Genesis as a true account of our beginnings.

Again, in real science, the authority and accuracy of ANYTHING besides the scientific research itself should never be an issue. Mere stories that were popular in the past don’t matter.

applesandoranges

But Dr. Henry’s biggest undertaking was the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History. It took years for this vision of a creation-based Dallas museum to come to pass as ICR encountered various obstacles along the way.

<snip>

He was intimately involved in the plans and decisions to ensure that the Discovery Center reflected ICR’s commitment to solid science and the ultimate authority of Scripture. It was his hope and expectation that the Discovery Center would equip Christian believers with the scientific evidence that confirms biblical creation and refutes evolution. He wanted the new facility to build visitors’ confidence in the Bible, as well as serve as a training ground for Christian pastors and educators. He had a heart to reach homeschool families and other students ranging from elementary through college.

Since the Discovery Center’s grand opening in 2019, thousands of visitors have already come to explore the wonders of God’s creation and gain confidence in the veracity of His Word. Dr. Henry said, “It’s been an absolute delight and joy to see it birthed from a scrawling idea on the back of a lunch napkin to something that is really significant.”

Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum was established in 2007, so why would the ICR found their own museum 12 years later? Not to mention yet another Creationist museum also in Texas that has existed for decades before the museum in Kentucky. Oh, wait…..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Evidence_Museum#Criticism_from_creationists

Young Earth creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International have criticized Baugh’s claims saying he “muddied the water for many Christians … People are being misled.”[1] Don Batten, of Creation Ministries International wrote: “Some Christians will try to use Baugh’s ‘evidences’ in witnessing and get ‘shot down’ by someone who is scientifically literate. The ones witnessed to will thereafter be wary of all creation evidences and even more inclined to dismiss Christians as nut cases not worth listening to.”[37] Answers in Genesis lists the “Paluxy tracks” as arguments “we think creationists should NOT use” [emphasis in original].[38] The old Earth creationist organization Answers In Creation also reviewed Baugh’s museum and concluded “the main artifacts they claim show a young earth reveal that they are deceptions, and in many cases, not even clever ones.”[39]

The “Burdick track” and “fossilized finger” were featured on the controversial NBC program The Mysterious Origins of Man, aired in 1996 and hosted by Charlton Heston.[16] Creationist Ken Ham criticized the production in the February 1996 Answers in Genesis newsletter in a review titled “Hollywood’s ‘Moses’ Undermines Genesis.”[40] Ham attacked Baugh’s claims, saying, “According to leading creationist researchers, this evidence is open to much debate and needs much more intensive research. One wonders how much of the information in the program can really be trusted!”[40]

It’s almost like playing  a game of whack-a-mole; you debunk one phony museum’s exhibits and another museum arises to try to make a more credible presentation of Creationist claims instead of reaching the obvious conclusion that CREATIONISM ITSELF IS A LIE!

Then there are these web pages:

https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/

https://creation.com/arguments-we-think-creationists-should-not-use

Keep in mind that in most cases, these arguments were seriously used by Creationists in the past. The reason they are denied now is because real scientists have torn down those arguments with the objective TRUTH, which even Christians can easily find through the internet. Hence the damage control I just listed.

I myself have written many blog entries debunking Creationist nonsense:

The Planets Won’t Cooperate, with CREATIONISM!

It’s not just evolution that discredits Genesis!

How to be a good Creationist

The bottleneck effect and the Genesis creation myth

Blasphemy by Creationist bigots

Dinosaurs and Creationism

Creation Museum Running Out of Cash and Going Extinct?

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

But since Christian Creationism is ultimately based on the claim of the infallibility of the Bible, we really need to strike at that dogma itself, even without referring to evolution or other scientific issues.

Lying About History for the Bible

Lying About History for the Bible, Round 2

Teaching religion dishonestly

The prophet Isaiah did NOT predict the coming of Jesus!

Creationists are frauds, period and we need to keep discrediting them until they are gone from society.

Beautiful music for sleep, comfort and inspiration

Here are some long videos featuring music to help you sleep, relax, de-stress and feel the purest joy in the night.

Then we have these videos that are also inspiring:

The first time I saw THAT video, I was reduced to tears. The music was by 2002 and the same group made THIS music many years later:

So for all my readers:

Merry Christmas, blessed Yule, joyful Kwanzaa and happy New Year!

Why I Rejected the Baha’i Faith, 4th Edition

The three previous accounts of my defection from the Baha’i Faith are as follows:

https://dalehusband.com/2007/10/19/why-i-quit-the-baha%e2%80%99i-faith/

https://dalehusband.com/2011/02/22/my-resignation-from-the-bahai-faith/

https://dalehusband.com/2017/01/22/why-i-abandoned-the-haifan-bahai-faith/

Here is the newest, most updated edition.

From 1995 to 2004, I was a member of a religion known as the Baha’i Faith. This religion teaches that God is called by various names but is still the same all over the world, that all religions teach the same basic message, and that humanity is actually one race and is destined to unite under the banner of the Baha’i Faith in a new age of peace and unity.

I was eager to see and to achieve the highest goodness in my life and in the world, so this was a Godsend to me! I embraced the faith after attending firesides about it in Bedford, Texas and became an active teacher of it, even attempting to convert others to it. I had been a Christian, specifically a Southern Baptist, in my teens, but had become disgusted with Christianity and left that faith in my early 20s because I saw the errors, contradictions, and failures of it. The Baha’i Faith explained that away by claiming that while Jesus was indeed a Messenger (or Manifestation) of God, His faith had become corrupted over time and thus most Christians were not truly following him, but the doctrines of men. In joining the Baha’i community, I thought I was seeing what the early Christians in the Roman Empire were like, except that unlike them the Baha’is would not split into competing sects and engage in wars against each other. If only everyone in the world became Baha’i, I was told, we would be at peace and prosperity forever.

What a wonderful vision! But human nature will NEVER allow for it! The reason is that the leadership of the Baha’i Faith, from its founder, Baha’u’llah, to the Universal House of Justice today, claims to be infallible because it is guided by God. Yet we know that Baha’u’llah, his son Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha’s grandson Shoghi Effendi (the Guardian of the Faith), and the members of the Universal House of Justice were/are all HUMAN BEINGS. What evidence do we have that ANY of them are infallible? NONE! And if you cannot question the will of a leadership, what do you in fact have? Tyranny! And what does tyranny always lead to, according to history? Corruption and injustice! And that, in turn results in the system breaking down over time. Indeed, the very idea that any human being, human run institution, or human product is infallible is sheer nonsense. It is the most dangerous idea in the world!

Religious fundamentalism is blasphemy!

Also, I finally began to see that the Baha’i Faith also has errors, contradictions, and failures of its own, despite being less than 200 years old. It was my coming to understand this that finally led me to leave the Faith with a heavy heart. The truth about the Faith Faith, as revealed over the years by my research, is shown in these blog entries, among many others I have made:

The Fatal Flaw in Baha’i Authority

Baha’i Scandals

FIVE Ways to Create a Religion of Hypocrites

So at the end of 2004, realizing that I had to remove myself from that community outright as a matter of honor, I wrote the following to the National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) of the Baha’is of the United States:

After years of investigation and soul-searching, I have finally come to the sad understanding that I can no longer bring myself to believe in Baha’u’llah or any of the institutions established in His name, including the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. I am totally convinced that the Baha’i Faith is doomed to fail in its mission to bring peace, unity, and a Golden Age to humanity and I therefore resign from my past membership in the Faith. Goodbye.
Regretfully,
Dale Husband

I composed that letter on my computer and then mailed it in January of 2005. A few weeks later, the NSA replied that they had accepted my resignation and expressed hope that I would one day decide to return. That looked like denial to me, so I dismissed it and threw away the letter. Then I cut completely all personal ties to the Baha’is in the Fort Worth area. Despite this, I stayed silent about my defection from the Baha’i Faith until October 19, 2007, when I posted my first blog entry attacking it. Encouraged by the feedback I got as a result, I stepped up my efforts until I found myself in battle over the years with various members of my former religion, all of whom only showed me why I had no reason for being among them anymore! They were not nearly as good or as intelligent as I thought originally.

Baha’is must reject the Guardianship!

My Battle on Amazon with a Haifan Baha’i

Another Battle with a Haifan Baha’i, this time on Blogspot
Another Baha’i picks a fight with me on YouTube
Confronting Scott Hakala on Quora

I have joined the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and found its principles to be far more enlightened than those of the Haifan Baha’is. And better still, they truly LIVE those principles too!

1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Despite my rejection of most Baha’i teachings, I later supported my friend Eric Stetson’s effort to establish a new Unitarian Baha’i (UB) community, blending Baha’i and Unitarian Universalist ideas. We thought it was the only way to save the Baha’i Faith itself from continuing to degenerate into a destructive cult. But the UBs remain an online community of only a few dozen members and even Stetson left it to return to liberal forms of Christianity. I have also given up on advancing the cause of the UBs. Let it fade away, like the Baha’i Faith itself should.

In 2018, I joined Reddit and a subreddit for former Baha’is and have been mostly focused on discrediting the Baha’i Faith and promoting Unitarian Universalism there. This led me into more battles with Baha’is and increased my determination to see the Baha’i Faith crash and burn into total oblivion.

Treachery of Baha’is @ reddit
Muslim-bashing and Libel Against Ex-Baha’is in Reddit
Is the Baha’i community disintegrating?
Another victory over the Baha’i Faith and one of its bigoted hypocrites

I am a non-theist now, worshipping no God and refusing to adhere to any other religion than that of the UUA. And I do not foresee myself being anything else. The Baha’i Faith was the last chance I was willing to give for a God centered religion to rule my life….and now I know that none ever will.

An Idiotic Cause from Change.org

I just got this e-mail:

Save Ducktales Reboot!

Change.org <change@e.change.org>

It was recently announced on twitter that Ducktales Reboot 2017’s Season 3 would be it’s final season. This is terribly heartbreaking to all of its dedicated fanbase. This show appeals to both old and and new fans and has inspired many people to create amazing things. After an initial hiatus the show is now back on one and with the announcement from Drew Taylor on twitter- well most of the fans are very upset.

This show brings a whole new appeal with a great set of lessons and fun for it’s audience. For the creator of this petition, it’s given them a place to belong and a reason to keep going on through hard times. When this show ends, the fandom fades with it. We can’t have that happen, especially with how much more there is to experience. Scrooge has a lifetime of adventure ahead of him and his family and we can’t let that end now! 

We know most companies like Disney don’t care, but we hope you will listen to the stories of the viewers. Listen to all the fans talk about how much this show has done for them and you will see that this show needs to be renewed and keep airing new episodes. 

Continue reading

The Myth of American Innocence

Read this story:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/08/unlearning-the-myth-of-american-innocence

Unlearning the myth of American innocence

When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world does

My mother recently found piles of my notebooks from when I was a small child that were filled with plans for my future. I was very ambitious. I wrote out what I would do at every age: when I would get married and when I would have kids and when I would open a dance studio.

When I left my small hometown for college, this sort of planning stopped. The experience of going to a radically new place, as college was to me, upended my sense of the world and its possibilities. The same thing happened when I moved to New York after college, and a few years later when I moved to Istanbul. All change is dramatic for provincial people. But the last move was the hardest. In Turkey, the upheaval was far more unsettling: after a while, I began to feel that the entire foundation of my consciousness was a lie.

For all their patriotism, Americans rarely think about how their national identities relate to their personal ones. This indifference is particular to the psychology of white Americans and has a history unique to the US. In recent years, however, this national identity has become more difficult to ignore. Americans can no longer travel in foreign countries without noticing the strange weight we carry with us. In these years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many wars that followed, it has become more difficult to gallivant across the world absorbing its wisdom and resources for one’s own personal use. Americans abroad now do not have the same swagger, the easy, enormous smiles. You no longer want to speak so loud. There is always the vague risk of breaking something.

Some years after I moved to Istanbul, I bought a notebook, and unlike that confident child, I wrote down not plans but a question: who do we become if we don’t become Americans? If we discover that our identity as we understood it had been a myth? I asked it because my years as an American abroad in the 21st century were not a joyous romp of self-discovery and romance. Mine were more of a shattering and a shame, and even now, I still don’t know myself.

I grew up in Wall, a town located by the Jersey Shore, two hours’ drive from New York. Much of it was a landscape of concrete and parking lots, plastic signs and Dunkin’ Donuts. There was no centre, no Main Street, as there was in most of the pleasant beach towns nearby, no tiny old movie theatre or architecture suggesting some sort of history or memory.

Most of my friends’ parents were teachers, nurses, cops or electricians, except for the rare father who worked in “the City”, and a handful of Italian families who did less legal things. My parents were descendants of working-class Danish, Italian and Irish immigrants who had little memory of their European origins, and my extended family ran an inexpensive public golf course, where I worked as a hot-dog girl in the summers. The politics I heard about as a kid had to do with taxes and immigrants, and not much else. Bill Clinton was not popular in my house. (In 2016, most of Wall voted Trump.)

We were all patriotic, but I can’t even conceive of what else we could have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We went to church on Sundays, until church time was usurped by soccer games. I don’t remember a strong sense of civic engagement. Instead I had the feeling that people could take things from you if you didn’t stay vigilant. Our goals remained local: homecoming queen, state champs, a scholarship to Trenton State, barbecues in the backyard. The lone Asian kid in our class studied hard and went to Berkeley; the Indian went to Yale. Black people never came to Wall. The world was white, Christian; the world was us.

We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before. There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it.

I have TV memories of world events. Even in my mind, they appear on a screen: Oliver North testifying in the Iran-Contra hearings; the scarred, evil-seeming face of Panama’s dictator Manuel Noriega; the movie-like footage, all flashes of light, of the bombing of Baghdad during the first Gulf war. Mostly what I remember of that war in Iraq was singing God Bless the USA on the school bus – I was 13 – wearing little yellow ribbons and becoming teary-eyed as I remembered the video of the song I had seen on MTV.

And I’m proud to be an American

Where at least I know I’m free

That “at least” is funny. We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn’t even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.

By the time I got to high school, I knew that communism had gone away, but never learned what communism had actually been (“bad” was enough). Religion, politics, race – they washed over me like troubled things that obviously meant something to someone somewhere, but that had no relationship to me, to Wall, to America. I certainly had no idea that most people in the world felt those connections deeply. History – America’s history, the world’s history – would slip in and out of my consciousness with no resonance whatsoever.

Racism, antisemitism and prejudice, however – those things, on some unconscious level, I must have known. They were expressed in the fear of Asbury Park, which was black; in the resentment of the towns of Marlboro and Deal, which were known as Jewish; in the way Hispanics seemed exotic. Much of the Jersey Shore was segregated as if it were still the 1950s, and so prejudice was expressed through fear of anything outside Wall, anything outside the tiny white world in which we lived. If there was something that saved us from being outwardly racist, it was that in small towns such as Wall, especially for girls, it was important to be nice, or good – this pressure tempered tendencies toward overt cruelty when we were young.

I was lucky that I had a mother who nourished my early-onset book addiction, an older brother with mysteriously acquired progressive politics, and a father who spent his evenings studying obscure golf antiques, lost in the pleasures of the past. In these days of the 1%, I am nostalgic for Wall’s middle-class modesty and its sea-salt Jersey Shore air. But as a teenager, I knew that the only thing that could rescue me from the Wall of fear was a good college.

I ended up at the University of Pennsylvania. The lack of interest in the wider world that I had known in Wall found another expression there, although at Penn the children were wealthy, highly educated and apolitical. During orientation, the business school students were told that they were “the smartest people in the country”, or so I had heard. (Donald Trump Jr was there then, too.) In the late 1990s, everyone at Penn wanted to be an investment banker, and many would go on to help bring down the world economy a decade later. But they were more educated than I was; in American literature class, they had even heard of William Faulkner.

When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadn’t heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys on the dormitory hall called us ignorant, and white trash, and chastised us for not reading magazines. We were hurt, and surprised; white trash was something we said about other people at the Jersey Shore. My boyfriend from Wall accused me of going to Penn solely to find a boyfriend who drove a Ferrari, and the boys at Penn made fun of the Camaros we drove in high school. Class in America was not something we understood in any structural or intellectual way; class was a constellation of a million little materialistic cultural signifiers, and the insult, loss or acquisition of any of them could transform one’s future entirely.

In the end, I chose to pursue the new life Penn offered me. The kids I met had parents who were doctors or academics; many of them had already even been to Europe! Penn, for all its superficiality, felt one step closer to a larger world.

Still, I cannot remember any of us being conscious of foreign events during my four years of college. There were wars in Eritrea, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Kashmir. US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. Panama, Nicaragua (I couldn’t keep Latin American countries straight), Osama bin Laden, Clinton bombing Iraq – nope.

I knew “Saddam Hussein”, which had the same evil resonance as “communism”. I remember the movie Wag the Dog, a satire in which American politicians start a fake war with foreign “terrorists” to distract the electorate during a domestic scandal – which at the time was what many accused Clinton of doing when he ordered a missile strike on Afghanistan during the Monica Lewinsky affair. I never thought about Afghanistan. What country was in Wag the Dog? Albania. There was a typical American callousness in our reaction to the country they chose for the movie, an indifference that said, Some bumblefuck country, it doesn’t matter which one they choose.

I was a child of the 90s, the decade when, according to America’s foremost intellectuals, “history” had ended, the US was triumphant, the cold war won by a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, by that time, the idea that America won because of “its values and steadfast adherence to the promotion of liberalism and democracy” was dominating “op-ed pages, popular magazines and the bestseller lists”. These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most formative years.

But for me there was also an intervention – a chance experience in the basement of Penn’s library. I came across a line in a book in which a historian argued that, long ago, during the slavery era, black people and white people had defined their identities in opposition to each other. The revelation to me was not that black people had conceived of their identities in response to ours, but that our white identities had been composed in conscious objection to theirs. I’d had no idea that we had ever had to define our identities at all, because to me, white Americans were born fully formed, completely detached from any sort of complicated past. Even now, I can remember that shiver of recognition that only comes when you learn something that expands, just a tiny bit, your sense of reality. What made me angry was that this revelation was something about who I was. How much more did I not know about myself?

It was because of this text that I picked up the books of James Baldwin, who gave me the sense of meeting someone who knew me better, and with a far more sophisticated critical arsenal than I had myself. There was this line:

But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

And this one:

All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.

And this one:

White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.

I know why this came as a shock to me then, at the age of 22, and it wasn’t necessarily because he said I was sick, though that was part of it. It was because he kept calling me that thing: “white American”. In my reaction I justified his accusation. I knew I was white, and I knew I was American, but it was not what I understood to be my identity. For me, self-definition was about gender, personality, religion, education, dreams. I only thought about finding myself, becoming myself, discovering myself – and this, I hadn’t known, was the most white American thing of all.

I still did not think about my place in the larger world, or that perhaps an entire history – the history of white Americans – had something to do with who I was. My lack of consciousness allowed me to believe I was innocent, or that white American was not an identity like Muslim or Turk.

Of this indifference, Baldwin wrote: “White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded.”

Young white Americans of course go through pain, insecurity and heartache. But it is very, very rare that young white Americans come across someone who tells them in harsh, unforgiving terms that they might be merely the easy winners of an ugly game, and indeed that because of their ignorance and misused power, they might be the losers within a greater moral universe.


In 2007, after I had worked for six years as a journalist in New York, I won a writing fellowship that would send me to Turkey for two years. I had applied for it on a whim. No part of me expected to win the thing. Even as my friends wished me congratulations, I detected a look of concern on their faces, as if I was crazy to leave all this, as if 29 was a little too late to be finding myself. I had never even been to Turkey before.

In the weeks before my departure, I spent hours explaining Turkey’s international relevance to my bored loved ones, no doubt deploying the cliche that Istanbul was the bridge between east and west. I told everyone that I chose Turkey because I wanted to learn about the Islamic world. The secret reason I wanted to go was that Baldwin had lived in Istanbul in the 1960s, on and off, for almost a decade. I had seen a documentary about Baldwin that said he felt more comfortable as a black, gay man in Istanbul than in Paris or New York.

When I heard that, it made so little sense to me, sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, that a space opened in the universe. I couldn’t believe that New York could be more illiberal than a place such as Turkey, because I couldn’t conceive of how prejudiced New York and Paris had been in that era; and because I thought that as you went east, life degraded into the past, the opposite of progress. The idea of Baldwin in Turkey somehow placed America’s race problem, and America itself, in a mysterious and tantalising international context. I took a chance that Istanbul might be the place where the secret workings of history would be revealed.

In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history – theirs with America – of which I knew nothing. If I didn’t know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?

My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America’s role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkey’s and Greece’s economic advances as progress, a kind of maturation. No matter how deeply I understood the US’s manipulation of Egypt for its own foreign-policy aims, I had never considered – and could not grasp – how American policies really affected the lives of individual Egyptians, beyond engendering resentment and anti-Americanism. No matter how much I believed that no American was well-equipped for nation-building, I thought I could see good intentions on the part of the Americans in Afghanistan. I would never have admitted it, or thought to say it, but looking back, I know that deep in my consciousness I thought that America was at the end of some evolutionary spectrum of civilisation, and everyone else was trying to catch up.

American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.

In my first few months in Istanbul, I lived a formless kind of existence, days dissolving into the nights. I had no office to go to, no job to keep, and I was 30 years old, an age at which people either choose to grow up or remain stuck in the exploratory, idle phase of late-late youth. Starting all over again in a foreign country – making friends, learning a new language, trying to find your way through a city – meant almost certainly choosing the latter. I spent many nights out until the wee hours – such as the evening I drank beer with a young Turkish man named Emre, who had attended college with a friend of mine from the US.

A friend had told me that Emre was one of the most brilliant people he had ever met. As the evening passed, I was gaining a lot from his analysis of Turkish politics, especially when I asked him whether he voted for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), and he spat back, outraged, “Did you vote for George W Bush?” Until that point I had not realised the two might be equivalent.

Then, three beers in, Emre mentioned that the US had planned the September 11 attacks. I had heard this before. Conspiracy theories were common in Turkey; for example, when the military claimed that the PKK, the Kurdish militant group, had attacked a police station, some Turks believed the military itself had done it; they believed it even in cases where Turkish civilians had died. In other words, the idea was that rightwing forces, such as the military, bombed neutral targets, or even rightwing targets, so they could then blame it on the leftwing groups, such as the PKK. To Turks, bombing one’s own country seemed like a real possibility.

“Come on, you don’t believe that,” I said.

“Why not?” he snapped. “I do.”

“But it’s a conspiracy theory.”

He laughed. “Americans always dismiss these things as conspiracy theories. It’s the rest of the world who have had to deal with your conspiracies.”

I ignored him. “I guess I have faith in American journalism,” I said. “Someone else would have figured this out if it were true.”

He smiled. “I’m sorry, there’s no way they didn’t have something to do with it. And now this war?” he said, referring to the war in Iraq. “It’s impossible that the United States couldn’t stop such a thing, and impossible that the Muslims could pull it off.”

Some weeks later, a bomb went off in the Istanbul neighborhood of Güngören. A second bomb exploded out of a garbage bin nearby after 10pm, killing 17 people and injuring 150. No one knew who did it. All that week, Turks debated: was it al-Qaida? The PKK? The DHKP/C, a radical leftist group? Or maybe: the deep state?

The deep state – a system of mafia-like paramilitary organisations operating outside of the law, sometimes at the behest of the official military – was a whole other story. Turks explained that the deep state had been formed during the cold war as a way of countering communism, and then mutated into a force for destroying all threats to the Turkish state. The power that some Turks attributed to this entity sometimes strained credulity. But the point was that Turks had been living for years with the idea that some secret force controlled the fate of their nation.

In fact, elements of the deep state were rumoured to have had ties to the CIA during the cold war, and though that too smacked of a conspiracy theory, this was the reality that Turkish people lived in. The sheer number of international interventions the US launched in those decades is astonishing, especially those during years when American power was considered comparatively innocent. There were the successful assassinations: Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1961; General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, also in 1961; Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, in 1963. There were the unsuccessful assassinations: Castro, Castro, and Castro. There were the much hoped-for assassinations: Nasser, Nasser, Nasser. And, of course, US-sponsored, -supported or -staged regime changes: Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. The Americans trained or supported secret police forces everywhere from Cambodia to Colombia, the Philippines to Peru, Iran to Vietnam. Many Turks believed that the US at least encouraged the 1971 and 1980 military coups in Turkey, though I could find little about these events in any conventional histories anywhere.

But what I could see was that the effects of such meddling were comparable to those of September 11 – just as huge, life-changing and disruptive to the country and to people’s lives. Perhaps Emre did not believe that September 11 was a straightforward affair of evidence and proof because his experience – his reality – taught him that very rarely were any of these surreally monumental events easily explainable. I did not think Emre’s theory about the attacks was plausible. But I began to wonder whether there was much difference between a foreigner’s paranoia that the Americans planned September 11 and the Americans’ paranoia that the whole world should pay for September 11 with an endless global war on terror.

The next time a Turk told me she believed the US had bombed itself on September 11 (I heard this with some regularity; this time it was from a young student at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University), I repeated my claim about believing in the integrity of American journalism. She replied, a bit sheepishly, “Well, right, we can’t trust our journalism. We can’t take that for granted.”

The words “take that for granted” gave me pause. Having lived in Turkey for more than a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired people’s views of the world and of themselves, I wondered from where the belief in our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everyone else subjective?

I thought that because Turkey had poorly functioning institutions – they didn’t have a reliable justice system, as compared to an American system I believed to be functional – it often felt as if there was no truth. Turks were always sceptical of official histories, and blithely dismissive of the government’s line. But was it rather that the Turks, with their beautiful scepticism, were actually just less nationalistic than me?

American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country’s nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised this belief. Wasn’t that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have.

By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America’s misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.

Even so, I was conscious that if I had long ago succumbed to the pathology of American nationalism, I wouldn’t know it – even if I understood the history of injustice in America, even if I was furious about the invasion of Iraq. I was a white American. I still had this fundamental faith in my country in a way that suddenly, in comparison to the Turks, made me feel immature and naive.

I came to notice that a community of activists and intellectuals in Turkey – the liberal ones – were indeed questioning what “Turkishness” meant in new ways. Many of them had been brainwashed in their schools about their own history; about Atatürk, Turkey’s first president; about the supposed evil of the Armenians and the Kurds and the Arabs; about the fragility of their borders and the rapaciousness of all outsiders; and about the historic and eternal goodness of the Turkish republic.

“It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”

“Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”

It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world.

During that night of conspiracy theories, Emre had alleged, as foreigners often did, that I was a spy. The information that I was collecting as a journalist, Emre said, was really being used for something else. As an American emissary in the wider world, writing about foreigners, governments, economies partaking in some larger system and scheme of things, I was an agent somehow. Emre lived in the American world as a foreigner, as someone less powerful, as someone for whom one newspaper article could mean war, or one misplaced opinion could mean an intervention by the International Monetary Fund. My attitude, my prejudice, my lack of generosity could be entirely false, inaccurate or damaging, but would be taken for truth by the newspapers and magazines I wrote for, thus shaping perceptions of Turkey for ever.

Years later, an American journalist told me he loved working for a major newspaper because the White House read it, because he could “influence policy”. Emre had told me how likely it was I would screw this up. He was saying to me: first, spy, do no harm.


American innocence was a lie from the very beginning.

White Americans need to grow up!

https://dalehusband.com/2015/10/08/the-louisiana-purchase/

Indeed, the entire history of the USA, can be summed up as follows:

WHITE people from Europe came to North America, displaced RED people from lands they had lived on for thousands of years, captured and brought from Africa BLACK people to be our slaves, conquered more land from BROWN people in the southwest, and finally fought not one, not two, but three wars against YELLOW people on the other side of the world.

There are other matters to consider that most American don’t usually think about, but they are no less true.

The simple fact that Cuba’s Communist government did not collapse soon after the ones in eastern Europe did totally discredited the political narrative that the USA has made about Cuba since the 1960s: that Communism is by nature oppressive and when given the chance all people will embrace democracy and capitalism. The reason this is false: Cuba never had democracy, but before the 1960s was ruled by dictators that were friendly to the USA because they were also pro-capitalist! CAPITALISM DOES NOT PROMOTE DEMOCRACY! And the trade embargo forced on Cuba actually enabled Fidel Castro to demonize the USA as a bully and hypocrite for decades, keeping him in power.

Indeed, throughout the Cold War period (late 1940s to late 1980s) we Americans were NOT fighting for freedom and democracy against Communism but for capitalism, which led us to do some really despicable things to other countries (Iran in 1953, Chile in 1973, Vietnam in the 1960s and Nicaragua in the 1980s, among other examples). The notion that capitalism promotes freedom is one of the biggest lies ever invented; A corporation in a capitalist economy actually operates like a dictatorship, with the workers taking orders from their superiors and having no say in who their corporate executives are or what they do.

____________

Remember when Hitler referred to the Holocaust as the “final solution”? Because the Nazis has been discriminating against Jews for years and most Jews remained in Germany.
Once you start down the path of dehumanizing anyone, you make it easier to kill them eventually.
It could also happen in America against any despised minority, such as Mexican-Americans and Muslims.
There are two “problems” with my argument above about the Holocaust. One, we tend to demonize Hitler, calling him a monster rather than a man. Second, we think very highly of ourselves and our country and think we would never been so horrible.

But he wasn’t a monster, he was a human product of his time and culture, just as most of us are. And we HAVE committed acts of genocide and outright conquest! We actually put Native American tribes by the thousands into concentration camps called “reservations”. We even did the same to Japanese-Americans during World War II, even while fighting Hitler! We did not exterminate them….but we could have!

__________________

The Gulf War of 1990-1991 was notable for two things that I did not even consider when it was happening but are clear to me now.

  1. The dispute between Saddam Hussein and the government of Kuwait that led to the invasion of Kuwait was absolutely NONE of the United States’ business, period. It should have been kept a local matter.
  2. There was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack Saudi Arabia or any other country.

So why did we launch Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, put Iraq under economic sanctions and no-fly zones for over a decade and then finally finish off Saddam in the Iraq War starting in 2003? I have not the foggiest idea. Everything I was told before about why we went to war both times was shown over time to be……lies.

When we attacked Iraq in 2003, we claimed it was because it had weapons of mass destruction. But we seemed to ignore just how much smaller and weaker Iraq always was compared to us Americans. The whole point of a small and weak country developing such weapons would be to deter attacks by its enemies. So in essence, even if the claim was true, we would have been attacking Iraq for trying to prevent its being attacked! Bush Jr was not just a liar, but a pathetic bully too!

_______________

People who consider the Japanese during World War II as horribly evil for what they did to their neighbors and to Americans never consider two things:

  1. The Japanese were isolationists for much of their history and rarely attacked anyone else before the 20th Century.
  2. They were finally forced to open up to the rest of the world by….the United States, which wanted to trade with them.

And when Japan looked at the rest of the world, including the United States, what did they see? Imperialism everywhere! So of course they thought they had just as much right to wage war on others as the Europeans and Americans were doing themselves.
WE made Japan what it became in that war! As the old saying goes, what comes around goes around.

____________

I was born in 1969, raised in a family of Republicans and came of age when Ronald Reagan was still President, but I am now so hard-core liberal that some might call me a socialist. Why? Because the more I look at how America and much of the world has been run since the 1980s, the more I see white, rich and “Christian” people screwing with the rest of the world to profit themselves while keeping poor white Christians sedated with bogus issues like “religious freedom” and you can’t do that and sincerely claim to promote freedom and justice for all. And if you are not doing that, you are a DAMNED PARASITE!

____________

Conservatism itself has never been an honest, ethical, or productive ideology. All Donald Trump really did was tear off the phony rhetoric and show the people what is at the actual core of right-wing political ideas. To be a conservative in the USA, you must believe at least one of the following:

  1. That whites deserve more social power than non-whites.
  2. That men deserve more social power than women.
  3. That Christians deserve more social power than non-Christians.
  4. That straights deserve more social power than gays/lesbians.
  5. That cis-gender people deserve more social power than trans-gender people.
  6. That the rich deserve more social power than the poor.

That’s it. If you truly believe in “liberty and justice for ALL”, then you CANNOT be a conservative!

Conservatism is not so much a distinct political philosophy as it is an attitude based on the already powerful doing whatever they can via social engineering to keep their power. For example, in the last days of the Soviet Union, hard-line Communists were the conservatives of that society. In the late 1770s, conservatives in the American colonies were called “Loyalists” because they opposed the American Revolution and professed loyalty to the British King. In the early 19th Century, they supported slavery and in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, they opposed equal rights for racial minorities. In religions, they support traditional dogmas and morals, even at the expense of objective truth and justice.
 
Conservatives are backstabbers of every democracy, every scientific advancement and every movement to make equality a genuine thing in real life. We must find a way someday to destroy it completely and forever!

Conservative political philosophy is based on three standards that were the norm centuries ago:

  1. Obedience to religious authorities.
  2. Every person or family fending for themselves.
  3. The majority ruling as an upper class over minorities, regardless of merit.

Under those standards it was common for people to starve, to become homeless, and to be treated with contempt for either being a lesser being or failing to obey unrealistic rules.

Liberals have an absolute standard of justice that rejects all these standards. The Declaration of Independence and the U S Constitution were LIBERAL documents. We have been generally moving in a more liberal direction ever since 1787. But conservatives constantly lie to the people to justify their hijacking our government so they can try to restore the older standards that benefit them.

I am a white, cis-gendered male of Protestant background and a natural born American citizen, so I have several reasons to feel privileged and thus vote for conservatives that claim to represent MY interests. Then I remember that I am also a member of the working class and all those other issues mean NOTHING. If you are poor, what does being of a certain race, gender, or anything else matter? Only an idiot thinks otherwise.

I abandoned the myth of American innocence in college when I was about age 20. And I didn’t need to go to a foreign country to see the truth about America either.

Historical narratives in religion

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_history

Narrative history is the practice of writing history in a story-based form. It tends to entail history-writing based on reconstructing series of short-term events, and ever since the influential work of Leopold von Ranke on professionalising history-writing in the nineteenth century has been associated with empiricism. The term narrative history thus overlaps with the term histoire événementielle (‘event-history’) coined by Fernand Braudel in the early twentieth century, as he promoted forms of history-writing analysing much longer-term trends (what he called the longue durée).[1]

Though history is considered a social science, the story-based nature of history allows for the inclusion of a greater or lesser degree of narration in addition to an analytical or interpretative exposition of historical knowledge. It can be divided into two subgenres: the traditional narrative and the modern narrative.

Traditional narrative focuses on the chronological order of history. It is event driven and tends to center upon individuals, action, and intention. For example, in regard to the French Revolution, an historian who works with the traditional narrative might be more interested in the revolution as a single entity (one revolution), centre it in Paris, and rely heavily upon major figures such as Maximilien Robespierre.

Conversely, modern narrative typically focuses on structures and general trends. A modern narrative would break from rigid chronology if the historian felt it explained the concept better. In terms of the French Revolution, an historian working with the modern narrative might show general traits that were shared by revolutionaries across France but would also illustrate regional variations from those general trends (many confluent revolutions). Also this type of historian might use different sociological factors to show why different types of people supported the general revolution.

Historians who use the modern narrative might say that the traditional narrative focuses too much on what happened and not enough on why and causation. Also, that this form of narrative reduces history into neat boxes and thereby does an injustice to history. J H Hexter characterized such historians as “lumpers”. In an essay on Christopher Hill, he remarked that “lumpers do not like accidents: they would prefer them vanish…The lumping historian wants to put all of the past into boxes..and then to tie all the boxes together into one nice shapely bundle.”

Historians who use traditional narrative might say that the modern narrative overburdens the reader with trivial data that had no significant effect on the progression of history. They believe that the historian needs to stress what is consequential in history, as otherwise the reader might believe that minor trivial events were more important than they were.

Virtually all the “history” you read in the Bible is this type of narrative.

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Debunking the lies of anti-drug crusades

Back in the 1980s, I often saw ads like these on TV:

“Just say no”

“This is your brain on drugs”

The Original Rachael Leigh Cook Brain on Drugs

Yikes! Oh, wait, in 2017, that same actress made this:

What happened? Well, she was exposed to the truth, the WHOLE truth, about the actual results of the anti-drug crusades from the 1970s onward.

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What is a “true” religion?

It is no secret that as a non-theist I personally reject ALL God centered religions. That stems from my desire to avoid all double standards in my life; if I can no longer accept Baha’u’llah as a Messenger of God because his writings and character were flawed, by what standard can I accept any previous Messenger, such as Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad? Didn’t they ALL have failings and flaws from present day and secular standards? My desire for perfection in religion made me reject all of them…….but I must also recognize that my own religion, Unitarian Universalism, is also less than perfect. The reason is simple: ALL religions are run by humans, and humans are not perfect.

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Matthew and Carla: A Love Story

When Matthew was 18 years old, he went to a music shop to buy himself a guitar.

One of the employees there was 19 year old Carla. She and Matthew began talking about guitars and then about music and finally politics. And Matthew forgot about buying a guitar, because he was mesmerized by her beauty.

Carla’s grandmother owned the music shop, so Matthew returned there several times to see Carla. The grandmother liked him and decided to offer him a job. Matthew refused. “I want to date Carla instead.” he said. Carla happily agreed.

For the next four years, they were a constant couple, doing everything together. Matthew’s family loved Carla too.

Then one day, Carla’s grandmother suddenly had a heart attack and died! It was the day before Matthew’s 22nd birthday, but he went and spent the whole next day consoling Carla with no thought of his own birthday.

Carla had told Matthew of her being orphaned at age 12 and then her grandmother raised her in her teens. “Now she is gone and I am alone!”

Matthew said,  “As long as I live, you will never be alone. I, and the rest of my family, will love you forever.”

At that moment, Carla knew she would marry Matthew. And the next year, that’s what happened.

A year after they were married, Carla gave birth to a daughter, who she named Diana…..after her grandmother.

Rape and incest in the Middle East, and elsewhere

Read this horror story:

Children with genetic diseases due to inbreeding in Syria’s Idlib

Children with genetic diseases due to inbreeding in Syria’s Idlib

IDLIB, Syria (North Press) – Despite all medical warnings and risks of cousin marriage, families in northwestern Syria continue forcing their daughters to cousin marriage according to the prevailing customs that prohibit marriage to strangers.   

Cousin marriage mainly affects the new-born children; they may have congenital anomalies, disabilities and chronic genetic diseases, according to medical studies.

Samar Ali, 18, a resident from the city of Saraqeb in the eastern countryside of Idlib, said that she was forced to an arranged marriage to her cousin two years ago, “I refused him because I felt as if he was my brother, but my father forced me to marry him.”        

“A year following the marriage, I gave birth to a child with thalassemia (chronic genetic anemia) where it will bear the consequences of that marriage throughout its life.”

Samar is forced to take her child to the Thalassemia Center every 15 days for blood transfusion; unfortunately this process will continue for the rest of the child’s life.

Children with thalassemia spend several hours in blood transfusion operation. However, some transfer blood every 15 days while others do it every month.

Some people from Idlib believe that inbreeding increased during years of war under the pretext of protecting the girl from being kidnapped or raped.

Additionally, relatives were forced to displace or take refuge to some places whether inside or outside the country, in addition to the fact that such kind of marriage has lower cost than marrying a girl from outside the family.  

Aysha Mahmoud, a resident from Kafr Losin in the northern countryside of Idlib who married her cousin, decided to abstain from childbearing after she gave birth to a child with paralysis of his lower limbs, which turned into muscle atrophy until he was no longer able to move and walk over the time.

She insisted on her decision even after her husband married another woman.

“Many cousin couples are not subjected to the necessary medical examinations before marriage because they do not realize the risks of such marriages,” Abdulqader Muhammad, a doctor in Idlib, said.

The most familiar diseases among children are mental retardation, kidney cyst, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, blood diseases, and the most dangerous of which is thalassemia, which has no cure, according to the doctor.

Some families who marry their daughters to their relatives believe that these marriages strengthen families’ ties and protect the customs and norms that are more powerful than the scientific facts for them.  

Marwa Hallaq (pseudonym), a 20-year-old woman from Idlib,  said that the woman is forced to tolerate and not call for her rights when marrying her cousin, so that to avoid disputes between the two families.”

“Despite all continued difficulties, disputes, and lack of understanding between us, I have to endure that in order to avoid disputes between my family and my family-in-laws,” Hallaq added. 

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