Dual Citizenship Debate: A Moral and Ethical Dilemma

first_imgThe author, Rev. Dr. Samuel E. VansieaBy Rev. Dr. Samuel E. VansieaLiberia was founded as a Dual Citizenship nation. In the early 1800s almost all of Africa was colonized except the land now called Liberia. The natives traded with Europeans but did not allow them to own land. They however agreed to share land with Negro settlers from the United States of America in the spirit of Negro solidarity. It was through the political genius of the settlers that Liberia became a sovereign state in 1847.According to The American Journal of International Law (Vol. 4), former U.S. Secretary of State Williams Evarts affirmed in a February 2, 1880 communication that the settlers sent to Liberia were actual United States citizens.Several former presidents and government officials were foreign born. For example, President Joseph J. Roberts was born in the United States and President Arthur Barclay was of West Indian origin. Considering all that and, including the natives, it can be argued that Liberia was founded as a republic of Dual Citizenry. Therefore, the creation of the anti-dual citizenship law in 1956 (amended in 1973) raises some fundamental questions such as:What prompted the government of President William V. S. Tubman to make that law in 1956?Why would the Americo-Liberian ruling class for the first 133 (1847-1980) years reject Dual Citizenship when being called Americo-Liberians signifies dual nationality and their own children were going to school, getting married, and having children abroad?To understand that phenomenon, we need to look at events of the1900s.During the period between World War II and the Cold War, European powers were extremely protective of their interests in the countries they colonized. One way to protect that interest was to make the colonies adopt citizenship laws similar to laws of the colonizing country.The U.S. did likewise in Liberia. According to Harrison Akingbade, author of U.S. Liberian Relations During World War II, the U.S. exerted much influence on the Liberian government during that time to protect the Firestone Rubber Company and their military bases at Roberts International Airport and the Freeport of Monrovia. Though Liberia initially maintained a policy of neutrality in the war, the U.S. pressured her to declare war on The Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan on January 27, 1944.In early 1950, in what seemed like diplomatic pressure to prove further loyalty to the Liberia-America relationship, President Tubman had to ensure that no Liberian will bear arms for any other country except the U.S. and Liberia. In 1952 the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Edward R. Dudley, acting on behalf of President Tubman, solicited the expertise of Cornell University professor Milton R. Konvitz to create a legal document for Liberia which included the Title 3 Citizenship and Naturalization Law of the Republic of Liberia of 1956 (amended in 1973) that is in question today.In 1943, Edward Richard Dudley (1911-2005) and Milton Ridbas Konvitz (1906-2003) both served as Assistant General Counsels for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, then headed by Thurgood Marshall. Konvitz later became professor of law at Cornell University, while Dudley went on to become the first African American to lead a U.S. Mission abroad, accredited to Monrovia with the rank of US Envoy and Minister (1948) and promoted to Ambassador (1949). Amb. Dudley then recruited his scholarly colleague, who for decades later worked with the Republic of Liberia as it established its laws. Konvitz also edited opinions of the Supreme Court of Liberia.Of cause they used American naturalization law as template and included what looked like an “anti-dual citizens” section. The original term used in the 1956 law was “Repatriation.” It stated that any Liberian who transfer residence to another country or join another army will be punished. Thus, it is fair to state that the citizenship law seems more like a cold war strategy to secure America’s interest more so than to deprive Liberians of citizenship. This is significant because there were no needs for such laws for the first 111 years (1847-1956) of Liberia’s existence and beyond.Citizenship Laws and African GovernmentsKenneth Kaunda, first president of the Republic of ZambiaAs mentioned earlier, colonial powers imposed their citizenship laws on their colonies of which the interpretation became problematic for the Africans. After independence, instead of fixing the laws for national unity, most African governments used the laws as a tool to silence and ostracize other citizens who they suspected of threatening their political ambitions. Two classical examples are when the Zambia Movement for Multiparty Democracy Government construed their citizenship law in 1996 in what was openly known as a strategy to disqualify their own first and former president Kenneth Kaunda (president from 1964-1991) from contesting in the 1996 election because his parents were missionaries in Malawi. He was deemed no longer a citizen of Zambia until the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights intervened.  His citizenship was restored, but elections were over. Likewise in 2001 and 2006 the Tanzanian government used nationality laws to terminate the citizenship of several journalists and the country’s own ambassador to Nigeria, Timothy Bandora all because the ruling party felt they were threats to their regime (Bronwen Manby, The Struggle for Citizenship in Africa).Toward Dual Citizenship Progressive countries in Africa, Europe, and Central and South America embraced the dual citizenship concept. According to the International Migration Review, more than half of all African countries have accepted and permitted their citizens to naturalize abroad without losing original citizenship. Those countries have the edge for economic prosperity and political stability compared to countries that do not. They also see dual citizenship as an extension of their influence beyond their borders. They use that influence as leverage in fostering tangible international relationship and partnership in a cost-effective manner. It also enhances the country’s presence on the modern globalization platform.Examples: Senegal’s first President, Léopold Sédar Senghor, was a French citizen.Senegal: Senegalese embraced dual citizenship from independence in 1960. Their first president Leopold Sedar Senghor was a French citizen. Senegalese don’t lose citizenship when they naturalize abroad. In 1995 the government created the High Commission for Senegalese Abroad to ensure the best interest of Senegalese diaspora. It is established that this approach to Dual Citizenship is contributive to the peace, stability, and economic prosperity of Senegal (The International Migration Review, Vol. 45).Israel: Martin Edelman, author of Who Is An Israeli said Israel automatically welcomes returning Jews, their children, grandchildren, spouses, etc. to full citizenship status.Middle East: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, all of which encourage Dual Citizenship, rely on economic support from their diaspora citizens to save the country in time of financial crisis. In 2008 when investment dropped by $22 billion, support from diaspora citizens went up $328 billion (Sameera Fazili, Middle East Report).Democracy: Dual Citizenship helps to strengthen democracy especially in developing countries. Acceptance of Dual Citizenship is viewed as a sign of mature democracy (Beth Elise Whitaker, The Politics of Home: Dual Citizenship and the African Diaspora).Historians have observed that Africans are strongly connected at the foot of the family tree than at the height of political affiliation. Most of the instability in Africa have been fueled by unequal privileges between citizen groups. The events of the last 40 years in Liberia attest to that. Historian Edmond J. Keller states that “Disputes over . . . differing conceptions of citizenship are at the heart of the most intractable conflicts in Africa. De-nationalizing Africans from their land of origin is a very slippery concept (Keller, Identity, Citizenship, and Political Conflict in Africa).International Concerns:Since 2013 the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has been working on a protocol whereby all African countries will move toward the international norm that citizens and their descendants should continue to have equal rights of nationality in their native land (Manby, Citizenship Law in Africa).Moral and Ethical Implications for LiberiaCommenting on the anti-dual citizenship law, Mr. Augustine Ngafuan argued that the law is the law and ignorance of the law is no excuse. But the Volume of Sacred Law, the Holy Bible warns that not everything that is lawful is expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23). This debate is one instance where “expediency” outweighs “legality.”Furthermore, this debate is a golden opportunity in the hand of the current government to champion unity, unless it chooses to go down in history for effectuating divisiveness.History will judge us that under Americo-Liberian rule for 133 years, (despite the 1973 law) no one dreamed about terminating another Liberian’s citizenship simply because he/she held another passport and neither did that happen under the military/civilian rule of the 1980s.I remember during the struggles for democracy in the 1970s, how G. Baccus Matthews, Togba Nah Tipoteh, Amos Sawyer, H. Boima Fahnbulleh, and others rallied Liberians against corruption and one-party system. In fact, the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) which was the precursor to multiparty democracy were based in America. At that time no one cared about which passport another Liberian had. We saw each other as one big family fighting for democracy.Finally, we’ve got the democracy and we can go to the polls to vote for the leaders we want. Then now, we want to tear each other apart for political gains, forgetting that those who we want to reject equally fought for this same democracy. They, too, lost families, friends and loved ones just the same. Whether at home or abroad, no Liberian is more Liberian than another Liberian.It is argued that diaspora Liberians are corrupt. That argument, like all other arguments against diaspora Liberians, is just another façade. In the1970s and 1980s when students of the University of Liberia protested even to death against corruption, they were not protesting against diaspora Liberians.This issue of Dual Citizenship has put us at the crossroads of a moral and ethical dilemma: to choose national unity by approving Dual Citizenship or choose divisiveness by rejecting Dual Citizenship.Conclusion Let me conclude with my fictional story of “Jay-beah-muo” Island (Jay-beah-muo is a Bassa expression meaning, “Your lets go!”).Jay-beah-muo was a beautiful island off the coast of West Africa. The inhabitants of hundreds of years accomplished nothing but mud houses and dirt roads. Eventually they got an innovative leadership that wanted to transform the island into a modern attraction. So they held meetings, made plans, and raised funds successfully. It seems they would soon begin their project.But the demons of the sea did not want development on the island. So the chief demon called a conference of devils to discuss how to destroy the dream of the remote island people. Some said to destroy their farms and flood their island, etc. But all was quiet when one little devil said, “Give them what they want, and they will have no need for each other.” “What do you mean?” asked the chief devil. The little devil went on,Give them Development and they will Devalue each other,Give them Power and they will Paralyze each other,Give them Fortunes and they will Forsake each other,Give them Democracy and they will Demonize each other.“How did you know all that?” the chief demon asked.  “I have been working among them a long time” said the little devil.I hope this is not where Liberia is headed.God bless the Republic of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Fire destroys home of prominent Essequibo rice farmer

first_imgSeveral persons on the Essequibo Coast are now displaced after their home went up in flames on Thursday morning. The house, located at Lot 2 Windsor Castle, Essequibo Coast, is owned by 73-year-old Harry Nanan Parmanan.Based on information received, the fire started at about 09:00h, two hours after the owner left with his son to seek medical treatment at the Suddie Regional Hospital.The aftermath of the fireInformation received stated that the man’s teenaged grandson returned home and as he entered his bedroom, he observed it was on fire. He immediately raised an alarm for his mother and siblings to run to safety. They were reportedly in the lower flat of the building.Neighbours formed a bucket brigade and attempted to put out the blaze but due to the intense heat, their efforts proved futile. They however managed to remove a combine, other agricultural machinery and fertilisers that were stored in a shed in front of the burning building.After sometime, the fire tenders arrived at the scene but by this time, the entire upper flat of the building was destroyed. Nadira Parmanand explained that the fire started in the bedroom where the main power circuit is located; and as such, believed that the fire was electrical in nature.Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Davanand Ramdatt, Mayor of the Anna Regina Town Rabindranauth Mohan and Boodram of the Rice Producers Association subsequently visited the grieving family and offered their support.The cause of the fire is being investigated by fire officials.last_img read more

Rotary Run postponed due to air quality

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Rotary Run for this year has been postponed, due to poor air quality.“It is too soon to be able to announce a date but we will work with everyone to figure that out,” a post on the event’s Facebook page read.“Our biggest concern is to the families affected and we hope everyone is safe.”- Advertisement -The page says everyone that registered will receive an email, and they will do their best to respond to questions. But, they hope participants understand that some organizers of the event are in the evacuation alert areas — so responses could be delayed.last_img read more

Emery believes Gunners will gain from Ozil’s Germany exile

first_img0Shares0000Mesut Ozil (second right) scores Arsenal’s second goal in a 2-1 win away to Newcastle in the English Premier League on Saturday © AFP / Lindsey PARNABYNEWCASTLE, United Kingdom, Sep 15 – Unai Emery is confident that Arsenal can be the major beneficiaries from Mesut Ozil’s acrimonious retirement from international football.The 29-year-old announced in June that he would no longer represent his country following Germany’s disappointing World Cup campaign in Russia, where they were knocked out in the group stage. Ozil claimed he was made a scapegoat for the high-profile failure, and cited “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish roots as a major factor in his decision to bring the curtain down on a career at the highest level which included 92 games, 23 goals and a 2014 World Cup winners’ medal.After initially failing to impress new Arsenal manager Emery, Ozil has answered the Spaniard’s public call to impose himself more on games, backing up an influential display in the victory at Cardiff by scoring his first Premier League goal since December to help secure a third consecutive victory, a 2-1 win at struggling Newcastle on Saturday.Ozil looked refreshed at St James’ Park after being given time off during the recent international break, playing a prominent role in a deserved success which saw Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka open the scoring for the Gunners.“Of course it’s a new way for Mesut (after his international retirement), and we want him to show his quality in his performance each day in training and in each match,” said Arsenal coach Emery.“We want to see the best of him and today he worked very well, took his goal nicely and he continues to work to help the team,” added Emery, given the daunting task of succeeding Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager following the Frenchman’s near 22 years in charge of the London club.– ‘Need to improve’ –Arsenal coach Unai Emery shouts instructions from the touchline at St James’ Park on Saturday © AFP / Lindsey PARNABYAfter leading Arsenal to their first back-to-back away wins in the top flight for 16 months, Emery stressed the importance of finding a consistency of results on the road as he looks to lead the Gunners back towards a top-four finish after a two-season absence from the Champions League.“We need to improve for ourself and for the challenge,” said Emery. “It is challenging away from home, and we need to be competitive.“We are happy to win away and we need to continue that, because we need to improve and be more competitive. Today the team showed us important things.”Ciaran Clark pulled a goal back in stoppage time for Newcastle, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them going down to a defeat to match those they had already suffered by the same scoreline against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester City earlier this season.Newcastle remain in the bottom three with a single point, their joint-worst start to a Premier League campaign after five games.But Magpies manager Rafa Benitez remained confident his side could climb away from danger in their attempt to repeat last season’s impressive 10th-place finish.“It’s a difficult time because you have to win games, but I’m not concerned because I know my team and I know that we can do well,” said Benitez.“We’ve run all the top sides we’ve played close so far this season. Arsenal had two shots on target and they scored two goals,” the Spaniard added.“The fans can see the bigger picture. To lose by a narrow margin against the top sides is something we could expect, but having said that we’re not happy about it.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Southgate refuses to confirm if he’ll make line-up changes for Belgium clash

first_imgGareth Southgate has not yet decided whether he will change England’s starting line-up for their final group stage match against Belgium, with the Three Lions already assured of their place in the last 16 of the World Cup.England defeated Panama 6-1 on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the knockout round, moving ahead of Belgium – who qualified for the last 16 on Saturday – into first place in Group G. Southgate has guided England to two wins from their opening two World Cup matches “We still are top of the disciplinary count, but we dont really know if that is going to be an advantage of not.“In the past that [finishing second] has opened up a more difficult second round game, but the group we are playing against looks pretty even to me.” Eric Dier, the Tottenham midfielder, is one of the players who has not made it off the bench at the World Cup 2 Given the make up of Group H, finishing second in Group G could actually be the better option in terms of securing an easier knockout tie and potential route to the final.Regardless of either team’s ambition to win the group or finish second, it is likely both sides will little resemble the starting XIs which have been selected in matchday one and two.Roberto Martinez, the Belgium manager, has already confirmed he will ring the changes against the Three Lions, but Southgate refused to do the same following the defeat of Panama.Speaking to talkSPORT, Southgate said: “We’ve got to think that through.“We’ve got momentum and we’ve had good consistency in our performances.“Equally, I trust all the squad. Some of them haven’t played in a couple of weeks and we are going to need players that haven’t played so far as this tournament progresses.“So we’ve got to balance these things over the next few days really.”When pressed about England purposely messing up against Belgium to finish second in the group, Southgate continued: “We wanted to be in control of the group, which is why it was a bit disappointing with the goal we conceded at the end. 2last_img read more


first_imgGalway based musicians TUATH are going on tour and one of their dates is in Letterkenny on the 27th of September.TUATH in conjunction with Donegal Daily are giving one lucky band the opportunity to open for them when they play in the Greenroom next month.Local act The Pox Men were originally planned to be the opening act for TUATH. However, after much deliberation between band members they decided they wanted to give a younger, less well-known band the opportunity to open for them on the night to give them more exposure than your usual open mic night.If you’re a budding young musician out there or a young band looking for exposure then this competition could be the chance you’ve been looking for.To be in with a chance of winning all you have to is follow the instructions outlined below.Like the TUATH Facebook page, post a video or audio performance of your original music on their wall and they will choose which one they feel is most appropriate for opening the night. https://www.facebook.com/Tuathband?fref=tshttps://soundcloud.com/loricroductions/tuath-pollbeo-1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dvxW0k1Ug0The deadline to submit your video or audio performances on their Facebook page is Friday the 5th of September.DD COMPETITION: GALWAY ROCKERS ‘TUATH’ SEEK YOUNG BAND TO OPEN FOR THEM IN DONEGAL was last modified: August 19th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:concertDD competitionEntertainmentFeaturesnewsOpportunityRockerstourTuathYoung Bandlast_img read more

How the Uganda Cranes players rated against DR Congo

first_imgThe Cranes team that started against DRC on Saturday.Uganda got off to a winning start at the on-going 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.The Cranes defeated DR Congo 2-0 in their group A game played at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday afternoon.A goal each by Patrick Kaddu and Emmanuel Okwi was enough to hand Uganda their first AFCON victory in 41 years.Saturday’s result means that the Cranes climb on top of Group A, having a better goal difference on Egypt who defeated Zimbabwe 1-0 on Friday night.Here is how the Cranes players rated as per Shaban Lubega;Denis Onyango 8.0Mr. Safe Hands was at his best throughout the afternoon, collecting routine crosses and putting the Cranes off unnecessary pressure. The save to deny Cedric Bakambu towards the end of the first half was as good as they get and a game changer.Bevis Mugabi 8.0Mugabi took care of his duties in a magnificent fashion, limiting Yannick Bolasie to a pedestrian role. He also had time to send a delicious cross into the area but unluckily for him, Kaddu could only head it wide off the target.Godfrey Walusimbi 7.0He is indeed aging by the day and not the roving left-back that Ugandans fell in love with. Jaaja Walu like he is commonly known, had a good show defensively but lucked a bit going forward.Hassan Wasswa 7.5Shaky at times but composed like he has always been. Let Bakambu lose on some occasions but walked away with a clean-sheet in the end.Murushid Juuko 7.5Wasswa’s partner at the heart of defence was at it again, making telling interceptions throughout the game. The yellow card towards the end of the first half was uncalled for and one which may cost the team as the tournament rages on.Khalid Aucho 8.0The ever reliable Aucho once again impressed in his holding role, controlling the tempo of the game and pushing the team forward where need be. Spared sometime to try a long range shot which was comfortably saved, coming as no surprise because Aucho does not score often.Mike Azira 8.5Arguably his best performance in a Cranes’ jersey. Azira saw a long range effort kiss the cross bar as he made one of his customary dashes through the middle.Farouku Miya 9.0What agame of football Miya had on Saturdays. He created both goals on the day and consistently troubled Congo whether from set-plays or open play. His show deserved a goal but it was not to be.Emmanuel Okwi 8.5The goal was evidence of how good Okwi was on the day. Voted the official man of the match but missed several opportunities to make the score-board more appealing to Ugandans.Patrick Kaddu 8.5Wasted two glorious opportunities in either half but scored the opener never the less. The KCCA FC striker continues to silence doubters.Kaddu (Right) celebrates after scoring against DRC on Saturday.Abdu Lumala 8.0Looked dangerous whenever he went forward but did not produce what his talent and pace suggest he should. Was stretchered off with 10 minutes to play, carrying what looked to be a serious injury.SubstitutesAllan Kyambadde 5.0Barely made telling impact after replacing Kaddu with just over 15 minutes to play.Isaac Muleme NAComments Tags: Abdu LumalaAFCON 2019allan kyambaddeBevis MugabiDanis OnyangoDR CongoEgyptEmmanuel OkwiFarouku Miyagodfrey walusimbiHassan WasswaIsaac MulemeKhalid AuchoMike AziraMurushid Juukopatrick kaddutopUganda Craneszimbabwelast_img read more

Huge outpouring of grief as Donegal Town road crash victim named

first_imgThe woman who died in a road crash in Donegal Town last night (Sun) has been named as Kathleen Pryal from Spierstown.Mrs Pryal, who was aged 69, was struck by a car near her home at Tinnycahill at Clar just outside Donegal Town around 8pm.The emergency services rushed to the scene where she was pronounced dead. Her remains have been taken to Letterkenny University Hospital.The N15 road, which was closed as a result, has since reopened following the fatal accident to all vehicles.It is understood that local Garda carried out a full forensic examination earlier today (Mon).Mrs Pryal is survived by her husband Martin, brothers Eamon and Colm, sister Patricia Brennan and a wide extended family. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.Huge outpouring of grief as Donegal Town road crash victim named was last modified: September 23rd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Evolutionizing Religion: Who’s Assuming What?

first_img“Findings from cognitive psychology, neuroscience, cultural anthropology and archaeology promise to change our view of religion,” said Pascal Boyer in Nature.1  His essay summarized studies that offer an evolutionary explanation for mankind’s propensity to embrace religion.  “We can probe the shared assumptions that religions are built on, however disparate, and examine the connection between religion and ethnic conflict,” he said.  “Lastly, we can hazard a guess at what the realistic prospects are for atheism.”    Boyer weaved together evolutionary explanations for several features seemingly common to all religions: belief in things for which there is no evidence, ritual, morality, metaphysics, and social identity.  There is no one place in the brain, a “religious center,” he said.  Rather, “religious thoughts seem to be an emergent property of our standard cognitive capacities.”  Just as the brain was not made specifically for music, politics, ethnic groups and family relations, religion is just an emergent response to “super stimuli,” he said.  “Religious concepts and activities hijack our cognitive resources, as do music, visual art, cuisine, politics, economic institutions and fashion.”  In evolutionary terms, the brain evolved for skills to aid survival, but religion simply takes advantage of those cognitive faculties and meshes them in an unexpected way.  “The mind has myriad distinct belief networks that contribute to making religious claims quite natural to many people,” he said.    Central to Boyer’s case are that religious people make tacit assumptions they never notice.  They may be able to describe their core beliefs, “But cognitive psychology shows that explicitly accessible beliefs of this sort are always accompanied by a host of tacit assumptions that are generally not available to conscious inspection.”  The details of religious beliefs may differ, he said, but the tacit beliefs underlying all religious are remarkably similar.  To him, this can only mean that we have similarly evolved brains that exercise the tacit assumptions in diverse ways.    He began his essay with a listing of various reactions to the scientific study of religion:Is religion a product of our evolution?  The very question makes many people, religious or otherwise, cringe, although for different reasons.  Some people of faith fear that an understanding of the processes underlying belief could undermine it.  Others worry that what is shown to be part of our evolutionary heritage will be interpreted as good, true, necessary or inevitable.  Still others, many scientists included, simply dismiss the whole issue, seeing religion as childish, dangerous nonsense.    Such responses make it difficult to establish why and how religious thought is so pervasive in human societies – an understanding that is especially relevant in the current climate of religious fundamentalism.  In asking whether religion is one of the many consequences of having the type of brains we come equipped with, we can shed light on what kinds of religion ‘come naturally’ to human minds’Those human minds, we can safely assume he believes, are also products of evolution.  Throughout the article, Boyer promotes the idea that gods and beliefs are not real, but rather manufactured by the cognitive and social psychology of humans and their evolved brains.  Imagining supernatural beings may be a “natural way,” he said, for human products of evolution to process information:The findings emerging from this cognitive-evolutionary approach challenge two central tenets of most established religions.  First, the notion that their particular creed differs from all other (supposedly misguided) faiths; second, that it is only because of extraordinary events or the actual presence of supernatural agents that religious ideas have taken shape.  On the contrary, we now know that all versions of religion are based on very similar tacit assumptions, and that all it takes to imagine supernatural agents are normal human minds processing information in the most natural way.Implicit in this idea is the position that atheism is a more scientific world view.  His last paragraph, though, gives little hope for his fellow atheists to gain a foothold in the culture: the evolutionary deck is stacked against them. Some form of religious thinking seems to be the path of least resistance for our cognitive systems.  By contrast, disbelief is generally the result of deliberate, effortful work against our natural cognitive dispositions – hardly the easiest ideology to propagate.For previous entries on the evolution of religion, see 03/16/2005, 02/02/2006, 09/25/2006 and 05/27/2008.1.  Pascal Boyer, “Being human: Religion: Bound to believe?,” Nature 455, 1038-1039 (23 October 2008) | doi:10.1038/4551038a.How otherwise intelligent people can continue to be so blind to their own biases after decades, nay centuries, of philosophers and theologians and logicians pointing them out, is stunning.  Nature has just published another in a long series of self-refuting essays.  A freshman CEH reader can probably refute this article in a sentence or two.  If not, you need to apply yourself to stopping by here more often.    What is it about their brains that predisposes evolutionists to think this way?  You notice that we put the shoe on the other foot.  That’s fair, because to him, we are all equally evolved.  By what standard of measure can he insist that his tacit assumptions are better than anyone else’s?  By the standards of science?  Ha!  Only if he is a logical positivist – another self-refuting belief system.  If this is not obvious, go back and read Wolpert’s ideas from the 10/16/2008 entry and the commentary on logical positivism from 05/10/2007 before continuing.  If Boyer assumes that “testable predictions” render evolutionary psychology scientific, he has not learned about the dubious logic of predictive success in science.  It’s the main reason Karl Popper rejected predictive success as a criterion of science, and promoted falsification instead.  (Falsification, alas, was also later rejected as a foolproof criterion.)    Boyer came close to recognizing the self-refuting nature of his beliefs by mentioning people who “worry that what is shown to be part of our evolutionary heritage will be interpreted as good, true, necessary or inevitable.”  (For elaboration on that point, see the 05/09/2006 commentary, bullet 5.)  He should be worried.  To what universal standard could he appeal to decide that religion is an emergent property of the brain, but science is not?  And why would he lament that atheism is hardly the easiest ideology to propagate?  At least he admitted it is an ideology.  But to what universal moral standard would he appeal to say that propagating his atheistic world view would be a good thing?  He said that science may one day find that religion contributed to fitness in ancestral times.  On what grounds, then, can he say it hijacked man’s cognitive abilities?  If it produced fitness, it is just as much an intrinsic benefit to human evolution as the brain itself.    Boyer’s essay is plagued with other fallacies.  For one, he generalizes all religions, no matter how opposite, in a highly simplistic manner: he puts the witch doctor and the Oxford Scholar into the same “fundamentalist” bucket, also a form of ridicule.  By excepting his own reasoning from those of religious nuts, of course, he has also divided the world into us-vs-them, the either-or fallacy: i.e., you either belong to the People of Science or to the “People of Faith” (whatever that broad-brush category means).  Students want extra credit can hunt for begging the question fallacies, non-sequiturs, the post-hoc fallacy, misuse of circumstantial evidence, reductionism, subjectivity and other fallacies.    The card-stacking fallacy is notable in this article.  He only offered three responses to the idea that religion evolved: (1) Worry by religionists that it will undermine their beliefs.  (2) Worry by evolutionists that religion, if part of our evolutionary heritage, will be seen as “good, true, necessary or inevitable.” (3) Disgust by scientists that religion is “childish, dangerous nonsense.”  Why did he not consider the possibility that theologians and knowledgeable scholars will consider his evolutionary theory or religion to be regarded as childish, dangerous nonsense?  Is that not what we have just illustrated?    Another example of his card stacking was to list only things like ritual, metaphysical beliefs, social identity and moral codes as the characteristics of religion.  Why didn’t he mention evidence – and apologetics?  Those things may be lacking in the cultic or ritualistic religions, but the Bible is filled with historical references that can be cross-checked, and appeals to remember what the people knew to be true from evidence, reason and eyewitness testimony.  Paul and Peter claimed to be eyewitnesses of the risen and glorified Christ and emphatically denied that they were following cleverly devised fables.  They also warned people against falling for fables.  If Boyer likes prediction so much, he should consider the prediction Paul made in II Timothy 4:4 that in the last days people will “turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths,” of which evolution is a prime example, because the evidence for God is clear from creation (Romans 1:18-20).  Peter, similarly, predicted the coming of belief in uniformitarianism.  He predicted that mockers would deny the evidence for creation and the flood (II Peter 3:3-9).  Do those predictions count?  Must be consistent.    Boyer and his fellow atheistic evolutionists arrogate to themselves the chair of science, but have no floor to put it on: not a scientific floor, or a philosophical floor, or an evidence floor.  He needs the Judeo-Christian floor to be able to reason about truth, morals, and evidence at all.  Like Yoda, he speaks ex cathedra from some exalted plane above the rest of humanity, telling us about our tacit assumptions while ignoring his own (08/13/2007).  He tells others what makes them tick without understanding that what makes him tick is rebellion against his Creator.  He couldn’t slap his Father’s face without first sitting in His lap.  Pascal Boyer should sit quietly like a good boy and read Pascal.(Visited 55 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Reviving Old Masonry Buildings

first_imgA New York City firm that specializes in materials for high-performance buildings has published an online book that explains how historic masonry buildings can be retrofitted using the products that the company sells.High Performance Historic Masonry Retrofits is the work of 475 High Performance Building Supply, the Brooklyn-based company. Along with a number of CAD drawings, the book is available as a free download.The book leans heavily on the core concepts of airtightness and continuous insulation that are keys to Passivhaus construction, 475 co-founder and lead author Ken Levenson said in a press release. In addition to running 475, Levenson, an architect by training, also is co-president of the North American Passive House Network and president of New York Passive House.Other contributors include Levenson’s business partner, Floris Keverling Buisman, and two 475 employees, John Druelinger and Justin Uhr.“The idea came about because there is a real lack of comprehensive and practical details that relate to typical conditions for high performance construction — particularly ones that don’t rely on foam insulation,” he wrote in an e-mail. “We realized that giving architects and other professionals a few simple tools could really unlock a move to much more robust detailing and execution. Of course these are meant to be just the start of the process.” Drawings can be downloadedDrawings that appear in the book can be downloaded, also for free, allowing architects to edit and adapt them for use on their own projects. To do so, you’ll need software for CAD drawings. Levenson recommends one called DraftSight.The book is to be the first in a series of e-books about a variety of construction types, 475 said. Each will focus on insulation, air-sealing and foam-free construction.Hardcopies of Historic Masonry Retrofits are to be published in early 2015. The no-foam approachThe techniques recommended in this book do not include the use of plastic foam insulation. “Foam plastic insulation dominates high-performance and green construction today, a clear victory of the power of chemical company marketing over common sense,” the book’s introduction says. “First used in buildings as roof insulation, now it too often metastasizes around our entire building enclosure.”Despite its popularity, the authors write, foam insulation is made of dangerous ingredients and is both a fire accelerant and fire hazard. Its thermal performance degrades over time, and its performance ultimately is “unpredictable and unreliable.”There’s another reason the authors don’t advocate the use of foam: a tenet of historic preservation is that installations be reversible. Foam isn’t.“Admittedly, this information may cause disorientation — given the near sacrosanct position foam currently holds in the high-performance construction industry — but we can do better,” the book says. “We can do much, much better.”center_img Use cautionSome recommendations in the book, such as those on insulating exterior walls, probably won’t be accepted by all building scientists. The book distributed by 475 recommends insulating thick brick walls on the interior with cellulose or fiberglass insulation — a controversial method. When asked about this approach, building scientist John Straube said, “I have qualms.”The book notes, “Freeze-thaw damage [to bricks] … is a serious concern and needs to be fully examined before installing inboard insulation as illustrated in these pages. However, as we also note the risks can be mitigated and relatively high levels of insulation can be safely achieved. Again, it all depends. So do your homework on that, and given that freeze-thaw concerns are dealt with properly, one concern that remains, with added insulation and colder assembly surfaces, is the potential for mold growth.”Some owners of older brick buildings have been dismayed to discover that adding interior insulation to walls resulted in severe damage to bricks. Another danger posed by interior insulation is rot to the ends of embedded joists or beams. To learn more about these issues, see the warnings in this GBA article: Insulating Old Brick Buildings.last_img read more