A vast glorious apostasy? 4

Why are young Muslims leaving Islam? A new generation of educated Muslims is starting to question the fundamentals of their faith.

Hasan Suroor writes at The Telegraph (India):

The Economist narrated the story of an American Muslim boy of Somali descent, Mahad Olad, whose immigrant parents tricked him into going on a holiday with them to Kenya where they had made arrangements for him to go to a seminary to ‘restore’ his failing faith in Islam. He had no idea about his parents’ plans until he landed in Kenya.

As soon as he stepped off the plane on a family holiday to Kenya, Mahad Olad knew something was wrong. His mother, a ‘very devout, very conservative, very Wahhabi’ woman, was acting strangely—furtively taking phone calls when she thought he was out of earshot. His suspicions would soon be proved correct. Mr Olad’s family, Somali immigrants to America and devout Muslims, had discovered that he had not only renounced Islam but was also gay. The holiday was a ruse, an intervention to save his soul. (The Economist, 15 March, 2018)

When he got wise of their plan to hand him over to the care of Muslim clerics who would ‘restore’ his faith, he got so frightened that he managed to escape. ‘In the dead of night he sneaked into his mother’s room, stole his passport and was whisked away by taxi to the embassy, which eventually returned him safely to America. He has not spoken to his family since,’ according to the above report.

Behind Olad’s story hangs a tale we don’t usually hear about: how Islam is facing a wave of desertion by young Muslims suffering from a crisis of faith. The story we normally hear is of an Islam growing from strength to strength, and how for all the phobia that exists around it, it remains the fastest growing religion with 1.6 billion followers across the world and acquiring new converts on an almost daily basis. What we don’t hear is that it is also being abandoned by moderate Muslims, mostly young men and women, ill at ease with growing extremism in their communities. The ranks of ex-Muslims is reported to be swelling. ‘As the number of American Muslims has increased by almost 50 per cent in the past decade, so too has the number of ex-Muslims,’ The Economist report said, citing a Pew Research Centre survey according to which 23 per cent of Americans raised as Muslims no longer identify with the faith. Most are young second-generation immigrants, but there are also older Muslims ‘married to devout Muslim spouses and driving children to the mosque to study the Koran, at weekends to cover up their apostasy’.

And it is not just an American or Western phenomenon. Even deeply conservative countries with strict anti-apostasy regimes like Pakistan, Iran and Sudan have been hit by desertions. The Saudis were taken aback when the American journal, The New Republic, revealed the scale of Muslim conversion to atheism in their country, and more widely in the Muslim world. The numbers were eye-popping, ranging from hundreds to thousands in some countries. The Editor-in-chief of FreeArabs.com says (Invisible Atheists, Ahmed Benchemsi, The New Republic, 24 April 2015):

When I recently searched Facebook in both Arabic and English, combining the word ‘atheist’ with names of different Arab countries I turned up over 250 pages or groups, with memberships ranging from a few individuals to more than 11,000. And these numbers only pertain to Arab atheists (or Arabs concerned with the topic of atheism) who are committed enough to leave a trace online.

The journal cited a 2012, WIN/Gallup International poll which found that 5 per cent of Saudi citizens—more than a million people—self-identified as ‘convinced atheists,’ the same percentage as in the United States. ‘19 per cent of Saudis—almost six million people—think of themselves as “not a religious person”. In Italy, the figure is 15 per cent. These numbers are even more striking considering that many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Yemen, uphold the Sharia rule punishing apostasy with death,’ it pointed out.

It is claimed that the atheist-scientist Richard Dawkins’s God Delusion is the most downloaded book in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia. It is now being translated into Arabic and there are plans to offer it free to Arab readers. The trend is catching on despite the fact that in many Islamic countries, apostasy is punishable by death. Most Islamic countries oppose the universal declaration of human rights and have refused to sign it because it provides for the ‘freedom to change religion or belief’. 

The exact figure of former Muslims may never be known as most remain in the shadows to avoid detection. Those who have ‘outed’ themselves say they live in permanent fear for their own lives and safety of their families. In Pakistan, preachers have called for the houses of apostates to be burned down. They communicate through anonymous online forums claiming tens of thousands of followers, and loose global networks under the umbrella nomenclature, ‘Ex-Muslims’ and ‘Muslim-ish’. A Twitter campaign in Britain in 2015, had thousands of ex-Muslims from across the world tweeting their reasons for choosing to abandon their faith. These ranged from intolerance and inferior status of women to absence of freedom of thought and the idea of immutability of a seventh century doctrine. One -@Lib Muslim wrote: #ExMuslimBecause Misogyny, homophobia, stoning people to death, and killing apostates don’t suddenly become ‘respectable’ when put in a holy book. (Ali A. Rizvi, Huffington Post, 23 November, 2015)

Oxford University academic Faisal Devji has argued that by retaining ‘Muslim’ in their name, ‘ex-Muslims are recognizing the theological character of their renunciation’.

The Muslims among whom I was raised in East Africa included many who refused to pray or fast and were openly critical of religion. It would never occur to them to renounce Islam and proclaim atheism as a new identity or mission, which would have catapulted them back into a theological narrative. 

No, it wouldn’t. It doesn’t make sense. Atheism is not a new religious identity and certainly not a mission. Not believing in a god is not a theological position. So they refuse to pray or fast but they go on believing in Allah? Such opinions are not worth canvassing or discussing.

Simon Cottee, a British academic, has documented stories of many former Muslims in The Apostate: When Muslims Leave Islam. In each case, reasons for their decision differ, varying from religious bigotry and oppression, to violence in the name of Islam. Sometimes, as The Economist wrote in the 15 March, 2018 report, it could be a reaction to certain Quranic verses or the Hadith—the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad.

Often the verses that trigger this are controversial ones about slavery or gender that family members and imams cannot explain satisfactorily. Coming across the writings of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens sometimes has the same effect. Some chafe at sexism or homophobia. 

According to Faisal Devji::

Whether the converts are repulsed by the violent forms Islam has taken in places like Syria and Afghanistan or are backing up their claims for asylum, the conversions occur quietly and rarely as a result of proselytism. Nor do they tend to be accompanied by any transformation in the appearance, behavior or language of the convert. Analyzing the news reports suggests that these conversions are characterized by multiple quotidian and ambiguous motives. (The New York Times, 15 August, 2017)

Brian Whitaker, a noted Middle East correspondent and the author of Arabs Without God, debunks the explanation that the phenomenon is a reaction to the violent acts being perpetrated in the name of Islam.

While researching my book…I spent a lot of time trying to find out why some Arabs turn to atheism and none of those I spoke to mentioned terrorism or jihadism as a major factor… That is not particularly surprising, because atheism is a rejection of all forms of religion, not just the more outlandish variants of it.

Benchemsi in his Invisible AtheistsNew Republic article mentioned earlier, pointed out:

For the vast majority of Arab atheists, the road to disbelief begins…with personal doubts. They start to question the illogicalities found in the holy texts. Why are non-Muslims destined to hell, even though many of them are nice, decent people? Since God knows the future and controls everything, why would he put some people on the wrong path, then punish them as if he had nothing to do with their choices? Why is wine forbidden, yet virtuous Muslims are promised rivers of it in heaven?  

It is a significant common thread running through most of the accounts of ex-Muslims I’ve read: that it was NOT an easy decision to make. Some mulled for years before they were able to make up their minds as they struggled to reconcile what they saw as the contradictions between all the nice things they were taught about Islam and how it was actually practised. Before jumping ship, most apostates claim they made sincere efforts to clarify their doubts and overcome their scepticism— some learned Arabic and went back to original texts to make sure for themselves that they hadn’t got it wrong. It was only when—on the basis of their own independent reading of the scriptures—they concluded that they could not honestly continue to cling on to their faith, that they reluctantly took the plunge.

Many are said to suffer intense emotional and psychological trauma afterwards in a sign of how strongly Muslims feel about their religious identity, and Islam’s dominant presence in their lives … The loss of that identity leaves them in a social and moral limbo. There is at least one documented case of suicide—a young British Muslim, Irtaza Hussain, felt so disorientated and depressed that he went to seed and ultimately took his own life.

The trend has been described as a ‘ticking bomb’ with a new generation of educated Muslims starting to question the fundamentals of their faith.

How many? Is it a trend? Is it possible that islam will become Westernized (and so, in effect, neutralized) before the West becomes Islamized?

Is a vast glorious apostasy about to be seen spreading over the Islamic world?

It is a development greatly to be wished. And wishing looks for confirmation. But there isn’t much of that to be seen, even here in this article, is there?

Posted under India, Islam by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 23, 2019

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Good, bad, and abominable cultures 37

The assertion, frequently heard, that “all cultures are equal” is sheer nonsense. Are they equal in achievement? Obviously not. Since all the races (or correctly speaking sub-races, humankind being one race, members of every sub-race able to reproduce with members of all other sub-races) are equally old, there is no such thing as a culture that hasn’t had enough time to develop as others have. But while some are developed to the point that they can send a man to walk on the moon, there are some that never invented the wheel. There has been the same amount of time for the development of both the space-exploring culture and the wheel-less culture, and in that time-span one developed much further than the other. It is so plain a fact it doesn’t really need saying. But there are those who will cry “Racism!” – the sin of sins to Leftists – if it is said.

Well, we are saying it.

And it is not “racism”. Generalizations can be made about cultures. But the generalization cannot be applied to individuals. An individual whose parents moved away from an illiterate culture can become (say) a professor in an American university, given the necessary education.

Not only are there inferior cultures, there are positively bad cultures that the human race would be better without. They practice abominable customs and are unworthy of tolerance. It’s absurd to want the worst of them to be preserved as scientists want to preserve species. (Some scientists protested against the last of the small-pox virus being destroyed!)

Eminently qualifying for destruction are such cultural customs as (to give just a few examples) those that: Burn widows on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands. Kill girls for “dishonoring” their families by their choice of husband. Kill women as a punishment for having been raped, and stone people to death – as Islamic law prescribes. Bury people alive – as the Islamic State (ISIS) does. Mutilate women’s genitals and flatten their breasts with hot rocks, as is done routinely in parts of Africa (and by Africans in Britain). Murder children for their organs to make the disgusting “remedies” of South African witchdoctors. Own slaves. Judicially punish a man who has wronged another by ordering that his sister be raped by his victim, as happens in India and Pakistan. (See here, here, and here.)

Many such abominations are sanctioned or commanded by religion, or are essential aspects of an ideology. They are rooted so deep in this or that culture that they are hard to eradicate.

After the British had put an end to the custom of widow-burning among certain castes in India, widows were instead kept imprisoned in their houses for the rest of their lives. If they were to live on, they had still to be kept from ever re-marrying. Rudyard Kipling wrote about them. A kind husband, he found, would leave instructions that his widow be allowed a small peephole through which she could glimpse the outside world.

Western feminists refuse to condemn such practices on the grounds that no culture is inferior. One argument often produced by them and other Leftists to explain why a culture that does evil things should not be called evil is, “We do evil things too”.

No we don’t. Not by law. Americans once owned slaves, but not now. If the same standards are applied, ours is a good culture. (Though it wouldn’t be if the Socialist Democratic Party were to get complete control of the federal government.)

However, within our culture there are differences which, measured by different, higher standards, are to be judged better and worse.

Professor Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and Professor Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego wrote an article, in August 2017, discussing good and bad culture within America. (They were furiously condemned for it by fellow academics, accused of “racism” of course, though there was not the least trace of race prejudice in it.)

They wrote:

Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more are raised by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.

The causes of these phenomena are multiple and complex, but implicated in these and other maladies is the breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture.

That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

These basic cultural precepts reigned from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. They could be followed by people of all backgrounds and abilities, especially when backed up by almost universal endorsement. Adherence was a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.

Did everyone abide by those precepts? Of course not. There are always rebels — and hypocrites, those who publicly endorse the norms but transgress them. But as the saying goes, hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. Even the deviants rarely disavowed or openly disparaged the prevailing expectations.

Was everything perfect during the period of bourgeois cultural hegemony? Of course not. There was racial discrimination, limited sex roles, and pockets of anti-Semitism. However, steady improvements for women and minorities were underway even when bourgeois norms reigned. Banishing discrimination and expanding opportunity does not require the demise of bourgeois culture. Quite the opposite: The loss of bourgeois habits seriously impeded the progress of disadvantaged groups. That trend also accelerated the destructive consequences of the growing welfare state, which, by taking over financial support of families, reduced the need for two parents. A strong pro-marriage norm might have blunted this effect. Instead, the number of single parents grew astronomically, producing children more prone to academic failure, addiction, idleness, crime, and poverty.

This cultural script began to break down in the late 1960s. A combination of factors — prosperity, the Pill [birth control], the expansion of higher education, and the doubts surrounding the Vietnam War — encouraged an antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal — sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll — that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society. This era saw the beginnings of an identity politics that inverted the color-blind aspirations of civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into an obsession with race, ethnicity, gender, and now sexual preference.

The writers do not mention “the New Left” with its agenda of a “long march through the institutions”, but it belongs among the causes of the cultural breakdown. 

And those adults with influence over the culture, for a variety of reasons, abandoned their role as advocates for respectability, civility, and adult values. As a consequence, the counterculture made great headway, particularly among the chattering classes — academics, writers, artists, actors, and journalists — who relished liberation from conventional constraints and turned condemning America and reviewing its crimes into a class marker of virtue and sophistication.

All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-“acting white” rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans. If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all.

Would the re-embrace of bourgeois norms by the ordinary Americans who have abandoned them significantly reduce society’s pathologies? There is every reason to believe so. Among those who currently follow the old precepts, regardless of their level of education or affluence, the homicide rate is tiny, opioid addiction is rare, and poverty rates are low. Those who live by the simple rules that most people used to accept may not end up rich or hold elite jobs, but their lives will go far better than they do now. All schools and neighborhoods would be much safer and more pleasant. More students from all walks of life would be educated for constructive employment and democratic participation.

But restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture will require the arbiters of culture — the academics, media, and Hollywood — to relinquish multicultural grievance polemics and the preening pretense of defending the downtrodden. Instead of bashing the bourgeois culture, they should return to the 1950s posture of celebrating it.

Is that likely to happen? We’re inclined to say sadly, no.

Posted under Africa, Arab States, Asia, Ethics, Feminism, India, Islam, Leftism, Slavery, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 10, 2019

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The longest American war 7

We would like to know your opinions of President Trump’s policy, which he announced yesterday, towards Afghanistan and the war America is still waging there against the Taliban.

Below is a video clip in which Lt. Col. (Ret.) Michael Waltz talks approvingly about the speech and the policy to Fox Special Report host Bret Baier.

Michael Waltz is the author of Warrior Diplomat.

We quote the advertisment for it:

Grappling with centuries-old feuds, defeating a shrewd insurgency, and navigating the sometimes paralyzing bureaucracy of the U.S. military are issues that prompt sleepless nights for both policy makers in Washington DC and soldiers at war, albeit for different reasons. Few, however, have dealt with these issues in the White House situation room and on the front line. Michael G. Waltz has done just that, working as a policy advisor to Vice President Richard B. Cheney and also serving in the mountains of Afghanistan as a Green Beret, directly implementing strategy in the field that he helped devise in Washington.

In Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beret’s Battles from Washington to Afghanistan, Waltz shares his unique firsthand experiences, revealing the sights, sounds, emotions, and complexities involved in the war in Afghanistan. Waltz also highlights the policy issues that have plagued the war effort throughout the past decade, from the drug trade, to civilian casualties, to a lack of resources in comparison to Iraq, to the overall coalition strategy. At the same time, he points out that stabilizing Afghanistan and the region remains crucial to national security and that a long-term commitment along the lines of South Korea or Germany is imperative if America is to remain secure.

Posted under Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Videos, War by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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A deplorable saint 0

Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known as “Mother Teresa of Calcutta”, is now a Catholic saint, having been canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday September 4, 2016.

Here is Christopher Hitchens on the woman and her work.

Although we disagree with his passing criticism of President Reagan, and with his use of the word “conservative” as a pejorative (revealing a political bias which changed as he grew older), we think Hitchens makes a solid case against the saint.

Posted under Charity, Christianity, Commentary, India, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 12, 2016

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How the Clintons sell America to “do good” – to themselves 0

This film is about the Clintons’ corruption, which is on a colossal scale.

The documentary is derived from Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash, narrated by him. It is long but it rewards attention. It demonstrates in detail how the Clintons have enriched themselves by exploiting – but never ameliorating – the desperate plight of the poorest of the poor.

Perhaps the worst of all the heart-searing accounts of their cold-blooded venality indulged in at the cost of massive and intense human suffering, is that of their activities in Haiti. The telling of this appalling story extends from 16.43 minutes to 29.43 minutes. But don’t miss the rest.

Bad things in good times 2

Mark Steyn talks about bad things in a recently published (April 25, 2016) video: environmentalism, Islam, state-created art.

Well worth the 27+ minutes it takes to hear it through.

We like the last few minutes best, starting at about 24.40 when he talks about how lucky we are to be living in a warm period.

Posted under Canada, Climate, Commentary, Environmentalism, government, Health, History, India, Islam, Leftism, Muslims, Science, Somalia, Sweden, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 21, 2016

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“The Great Die-Off” 6

… that never happened.

On the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists predicted the direst imaginable consequences, including the possible extinction of the human race, within 30 years.

That is, if we earthlings didn’t obey them and go back to living the life of the savage: “poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.  They didn’t put it that way exactly. But that’s what their wishes would have brought us to.

“Solitary” should also be in that quotation from Thomas Hobbes, but that wouldn’t be the case because the doomsday environmentalists are collectivists to a man and feminist.

Not a single one of their predictions has come true.

Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled Earth Day, Then and Now to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. 

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By 1975 some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off”. 

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support … the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half. …”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone”. Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945″. Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946 … now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it”.

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

The Daily Caller notes just how wrong some of those predictions have turned out to be:

1: “Civilization Will End Within 15 Or 30 Years”

Harvard biologist Dr. George Wald warned shortly before the first Earth Day in 1970 that civilization would soon end “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. Three years before his projection, Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Wald was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and the nuclear arms race. He even flew to Moscow at one point to advise the leader of the Soviet Union on environmental policy. Despite his assistance to a communist government, civilization still exists. The percentage of Americans who are concerned about environmental threats has fallen as civilization failed to end by environmental catastrophe.

2: “100-200 Million People Per Year Will Be Starving To Death During The Next Ten Years”

Stanford professor Dr. Paul Ehrlich declared in April 1970 that mass starvation was imminent. His dire predictions failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased, despite population growth. The world’s Gross Domestic Product per person has immeasurably grown despite increases in population.

Ehrlich is largely responsible for this view, having co-published The Population Bomb with The Sierra Club in 1968. The book made a number of claims including that millions of humans would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s, mass famines would sweep England leading to the country’s demise, and that ecological destruction would devastate the planet causing the collapse of civilization.

3: “Population Will Inevitably And Completely Outstrip Whatever Small Increases In Food Supplies We Make”

Paul Ehrlich also made the above claim in 1970, shortly before an agricultural revolution that caused the world’s food supply to rapidly increase.

Ehrlich has consistently failed to revise his predictions when confronted with the fact that they did not occur, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future”.

4: “Demographers Agree Almost Unanimously … Thirty Years From Now, The Entire World … Will Be In Famine”

Environmentalists in 1970 truly believed in a scientific consensus predicting global famine due to population growth in the developing world, especially in India. …

[But] India, where the famines were supposed to begin, recently became one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products and food supply per person in the country has drastically increased in recent years. In fact, the number of people in every country listed by Gunter has risen dramatically since 1970.

5: “In A Decade, Urban Dwellers Will Have To Wear Gas Masks To Survive Air Pollution”

Life magazine stated in January 1970 that scientist had “solid experimental and theoretical evidence” to believe that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by one half”.

Despite the prediction, air quality has been improving worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Air pollution has also sharply declined in industrialized countries.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas environmentalists are worried about today, is odorless, invisible and harmless to humans in normal amounts.

6: “Childbearing [Will Be] A Punishable Crime Against Society, Unless The Parents Hold A Government License”

David Brower, the first executive director of The Sierra Club made the above claim and went on to say that “all potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing”. Brower was also essential in founding Friends of the Earth and the League Of Conservation Voters and much of the modern environmental movement.

Brower believed that most environmental problems were ultimately attributable to new technology that allowed humans to pass natural limits on population size. He famously stated before his death in 2000 that “all technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent” and repeatedly advocated for mandatory birth control.

Today, the only major government to ever get close to his vision has been China, which ended its one-child policy last October.

7: “By The Year 2000 … There Won’t Be Any More Crude Oil”

On Earth Day in 1970 ecologist Kenneth Watt famously predicted that the world would run out of oil saying, “You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

Numerous academics like Watt predicted that American oil production peaked in 1970 and would gradually decline, likely causing a global economic meltdown. However, the successful application of massive hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, caused American oil production to come roaring back and there is currently too much oil on the market.

American oil and natural gas reserves are at their highest levels since 1972 and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than in 2008 thanks to fracking.

Furthermore, the U.S. now controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation in Colorado. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.

We’ll give Mark Perry the last word:

Let’s keep those spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day 1970 in mind when we’re bombarded [around Earth Day 2016] with media hype, and claims like this from the 2015 Earth Day website:

Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.

Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices.

But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future – and the present – never looked so bleak.”

In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers”.

A one signatory deal 5

Obama is the man who shakes hands with himself.

Amir Taheri writes at Gatestone:

Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 “adoption day” he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president’s timetable the next step would be “the start day of implementation”, fixed for Dec. 15.

But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.

The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so.

The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.

The Islamic Majlis, the ersatz parliament, is examining an unofficial text and is due to express its views at an unspecified date in a document “running into more than 1,000 pages”, according to Mohsen Zakani, who heads the “examining committee”.

The changes we seek would require substantial rewriting of the text,” he adds enigmatically.

Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama “deal” with any legal basis of their own. Obama’s partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else. So they have started doing just that without bothering about JCPOA’s other provisions.

Britain has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and companies blacklisted because of alleged involvement in deals linked to the nuclear issue.

German trade with Iran has risen by 33 percent, making it the Islamic Republic’s third-largest partner after China.

China has signed preliminary accords to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors.

Russia has started delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is engaged in talks to sell Sukhoi planes to the Islamic Republic.

France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-man delegation to negotiate big business deals, including projects to double Iran’s crude oil exports.

Indian trade with Iran has risen by 17 percent, and New Delhi is negotiating massive investment in a rail-and-sea hub in the Iranian port of Chah-Bahar on the Gulf of Oman.

With help from Austrian, Turkish and United Arab Emirates banks, the many banking restrictions imposed on Iran because of its nuclear program have been pushed aside.

“The structures of sanctions built over decades is crumbling,” boasts Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Meanwhile, the nuclear project is and shall remain “fully intact,” says the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi. We have started working on a process of nuclear fusion that will be cutting-edge technology for the next 50 years,” he adds.

Even before Obama’s “implementation day”, the mullahs are receiving an average of $400 million a month, no big sum, but enough to ease the regime’s cash-flow problems and increase pay for its repressive forces by around 21 percent. …

The mullahs see the “deal” as a means with which Obama would oppose any suggestion of trying to curb Iran.

“Obama won’t do anything that might jeopardize the deal,” says Ziba Kalam, a Rouhani adviser. “This is his biggest, if not only, foreign policy success.”

Let’s pause and contemplate that for a moment! This farce of a deal, this green light to one of the most  oppressive regimes on earth to go ahead and become a nuclear power, is  – Obama’s “biggest, if  not only, foreign policy SUCCESS”!  

More follows on this success:

If there have been changes in Tehran’s behavior they have been for the worse. Iran has teamed up with Russia to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria, mocking Obama’s “Assad must go” rhetoric. More importantly, Iran has built its direct military presence in Syria to 7,000 men.

Tehran has also pressured Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Abadi’s weak government to distance itself from Washington and join a dubious coalition with Iran, Russia and Syria.

Certain that Obama is paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent “deal” the mullahs have intensified their backing for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Last week a delegation was in Tehran with a long shopping list for arms.

In Lebanon, the mullahs have toughened their stance on choosing the country’s next president.

And in Bahrain, Tehran is working on a plan to “ensure an early victory” of the Shiite revolution in the archipelago.

Confident that Obama is determined to abandon traditional allies of the United States, Tehran has also heightened propaganda war against Saudi Arabia, now openly calling for the overthrow of the monarchy there.

The mullahs are also heightening contacts with Palestinian groups in the hope of unleashing a new “Intifada.”

They have done so. (See yesterday’s post, immediately below.)

“Palestine is thirsty for a third Intifada,” Supreme Guide Khamenei’s mouthpiece Kayhan said in an editorial last Thursday. “It is the duty of every Muslim to help start it as soon as possible.”

Obama’s hopes of engaging Iran on other issues were dashed last week when Khamenei declared “any dialogue with the American Great Satan” to be “forbidden”.

“We have no need of America” his adviser Ali-Akbar Velayati added later. “Iran is the region’s big power in its own right.”

Obama had hoped that by sucking up to the mullahs he would at least persuade them to moderate their “hate-America campaign”.

“Death to America” slogans, adorning official buildings in Tehran have been painted afresh along with US flags, painted at the entrance of offices so that they could be trampled underfoot.

None of the US citizens still held hostages in Iran has been released, and one, Washington Post stringer Jason Rezai, is branded as “head of a spy ring “in Tehran. Paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent deal, Obama doesn’t even call for their release.

Government-sponsored anti-American nationwide events are announced for November, anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran.

The annual “End of America” week-long conference is planned for February and is to focus on “African-American victims of US police” and the possibility of “self-determination for blacks.”

Iran is inciting rebellion and treason among Americans.

According to official sources “families of Black American victims” and a number of “black American revolutionaries” have been invited.

Inside Iran, Obama’s “moderate partners” have doubled the number of executions and political prisoners. Last week they crushed marches by teachers calling for release of their leaders. Hundreds of trade unionists have been arrested and a new “anti-insurrection” brigade paraded in Tehran to terrorize possible protestors.

The Obama deal may end up as the biggest diplomatic scam in recent history.

In defense of coal 1

Obama’s “war on coal” is actually, of course, his “war on capitalism”.

Stephen Moore writes at Investor’s Business Daily:

At the very moment President Obama has decided to shutter America’s coal industry in favor of much more expensive and less efficient “renewable energy”, coal use is surging across the globe.

A new study by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences detects an unmistakable “coal renaissance” under way that shows this mineral of fossilized carbon has again become “the most important source of energy-related emissions on the global scale“. 

Coal is expanding rapidly “not only in China and India but also across a broad range of developing countries — especially poor, fast-growing countries mainly in Asia”, the study finds.

Why is coal such a popular energy source now? The NAS study explains that many nations are attracted to “(relatively) low coal prices … to satisfy their energy needs”. It also finds “the share of coal in the energy mix indeed has grown faster for countries with higher economic growth”.

In sum, using coal is a stepping stone to prosperity. So much for it being a satanic energy source.

Hardly a day passes without evidence that coal is making a major comeback:

  • Some 1,200 coal plants are planned across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India, according to the World Resources Institute.
  • Coal use around the world has grown about four times faster than renewables, according to the global energy monitoring publication BP Review of World Energy 2015.
  • German coal “will remain a major, and probably the largest, fuel source for power generation for another decade and perhaps longer”, the Financial Times concludes.
  • “The U.S. is dropping coal plants at an unprecedented rate, but still nowhere near as quickly as India is adding them,” Bloomberg Business reckons.

“By the end of this year, some 7.5% of the U.S. coal fleet will have disappeared … . But by 2020 India may have built about 2.5 times as much capacity as the U.S. is about to lose.”

Then, of course, there’s the world’s biggest coal addict by far — the People’s Republic of China. According to a 2014 report from Eric Lawson of Princeton University, a leading climate change apocalyptic on the left:

“The reality is that fossil fuels dominate China’s energy landscape, as they do in virtually every other country. And the focus on renewables also hides the fact that China’s reliance upon coal is predicted to keep growing.”

Lawson’s calculations of how coal use is growing in China are jaw-dropping. “From 2010 through 2013, (China) added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. At the peak, from 2005 through 2011, China added roughly two 600-megawatt coal plants a week for seven straight years. And according to U.S. government projections, China will add yet another U.S. worth of coal plants over the next 10 years, or the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for 10 years.”

All this underscores the foolishness and futility of the Obama climate-change regulations designed to drastically reduce coal production in the U.S.

The great excuse for the Left’s “war on coal” is that it’s burning adds CO2 to the atmosphere. And the Left has spread the dogma that CO2, the food of all green plants, is a pollutant, a “green house gas” which “causes global warming”.

But even assuming that to be true, as Stephen Moore apparently does …

As we use less [coal] and the rest of the world uses more, the impact on global temperatures will be very close to zero.

Coal production in the U.S. is much safer and less carbon-intensive (clean coal technologies have reduced pollutants by 30%) than coal from other nations. So Obama’s war on coal may make global warming worse.

Some might say this gesture by the Obama administration to cut off coal production in the U.S. is a useful first step to save the planet. Except this isn’t just a cheap sign of goodwill.

It’s a tremendously expensive gesture that will cost America hundreds of thousands of jobs, raise utility prices by as much as $1,000 per family and reduce GDP by as much half a percentage point a year when we are already barely growing. The poor will be hurt most.

What makes the Obama administration regulations doubly destructive is that the U.S. has more coal than any other nation.

With at least 300 years of supply at a value of trillions of dollars, we are truly the Saudi Arabia of coal.

To leave it in the ground would be like Obama telling Nebraska to stop growing corn, Idaho to stop growing potatoes and Silicon Valley to give up on the digital age.

Ironically, the president justifies his war on coal by arguing, “We must lead so that others will follow.” But outside of dreamland, the rest of the world has no intention of following Mr. Obama’s act of economic masochism.

Most nations value getting richer over getting greener — as well they should.

Given the sad state of our economy today, so should we.

Posted under China, Commentary, Economics, Energy, Environmentalism, Germany, India, Leftism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 7, 2015

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Tens of millions of slaves 3

Slavery is not a thing of the past. Some 36 million people are counted this year as slaves. And there are certainly countless more.

Many domestic servants in Arab countries – Saudi Arabia for instance – are not counted as slaves because in theory they are paid wages, but their conditions of work are conditions of enslavement and many go unpaid in practice.

Almost the entire population of North Korea could be described as enslaved in their own country. And according to the Guardian: “Thousands of migrant labourers from North Korea are toiling for years on construction sites in Qatar for virtually no pay – including on the vast new metropolis that is the centrepiece of the World Cup – in what may amount to “state-sponsored slavery”.

And the number of slaves is growing continually, as men of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) – among other devout Muslims – sell women and girls in open slave markets.

Yahoo! News reports:

The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural slavery index last year that 29.8 million people were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labour.

Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate of the number of slaves to 35.8 million, saying this was due to better data collection and slavery being uncovered in areas where it had not been found previously.

For the second year, the index of 167 countries found India had by far the greatest number of slaves. Up to 14.3 million people in its population of 1.25 billion were victims of slavery, ranging from prostitution to bonded labour.

Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth worst country by percentage of the population.

“From children denied an education by being forced to work or marry early, to men unable to leave their work because of crushing debts they owe to recruitment agents, to women and girls exploited as unpaid, abused domestic workers, modern slavery has many faces,” the report said.

“It still exists today, in every country – modern slavery affects us all.”

The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom with the intention of exploiting them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception.

The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to serve in wars.

Hereditary slavery is deeply entrenched in the West African country of Mauritania, where four percent of the population of 3.9 million is estimated to be enslaved, the report said.

After Mauritania, slavery was most prevalent in Uzbekistan, where citizens are forced to pick cotton every year to meet state-imposed cotton quotas, and Haiti, where the practice of sending poor children to stay with richer acquaintances or relatives routinely leads to abuse and forced labour, it said. …

The next highest prevalence rates were found in India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Central African Republic.

The index showed that 10 countries alone account for 71 percent of the world’s slaves.

After India, China has the most with 3.2 million, then Pakistan (2.1 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million), Russia (1.05 million), Nigeria (834,200), Democratic Republic of Congo (762,900), Indonesia (714,100), Bangladesh (680,900) and Thailand (475,300).

And last year’s report by the Walk Free Foundation recorded this shocking information:

The United States, per capita, has a very low rate of slavery: just 0.02 percent, or one in every 5,000 people. But that adds up to a lot: an estimated 60,000 slaves, right here in America. 

And this year?

Here’s the 2014 Walk Free Foundation’s map:

The total number of people enslaved by region

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