Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
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15-08-2014, 06:23 PM
Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
As an ex-JW and a current atheist, I like to debunk the Watchtower society's claims just for fun and also, because truth matters. They recently posted an article on their website jw.org, titled: "Creation or Evolution - Part 2: Why Question Evolution? I intend to show that this article isn't just embarassing, it is UNFORGIVABLE. Millions will read it and think that the society has provided them with solid information and arguments. I will quote the article one claim at a time and then show how wrong it is. Let us begin.

"Scientists don’t agree on evolution. Despite decades of research, scientists have yet to come up with an explanation for evolution that they all can agree on."

This is half-truth at best. While it is true that scientists do not agree on every detail, there is still an OVERWHELMING consesus that evolution happens and that biodiversity is best explained by the theory of evolution. Also, one might as well say: religious people don't agree on their interpretations of scripture, therefore...

"To think about: If scientists can’t agree on evolution—and they’re supposed to be the experts—are you wrong to question the theory?"

When has any scientist or teacher ever said that it is wrong to ask questions about any theory? "Abandoning doubts" or "strengthening one's faith" is a religious method and the very opposite of what scientists do. The reason why whether evolution happens is not in question is not because of dogma, but because of evidence and every student has the right - even the moral obligation - to ask for evidence that would saticfy him/her. Not that creatonists ever accept such evidence, when presented with it. Moving on.

“If life came about by accident, then our lives—and all the things in our universe—are meaningless,” says a boy named Zachary. He has a point. After all, if evolution were true, life would not seem to have any lasting purpose."

Natural selection is not accidental or random and they should know this. Is 150 years not enough to familiarize oneself with a theory that is considered anathema? Second, why are all things meaningless, if evolution is true? What in all hell lends credence to such a nihilistic proposition?

"On the other hand, if creation is true, we can find satisfying answers to questions about the purpose of life and what the future holds"

Often, indeed VERY often, an emotionally saticfying answer is not the correct one. Also, reality does not owe it to us to be pleasant.

"Which makes more sense—that everything came from nothing or that everything came from something or someone?"


Nobody says that the universe came from literal nothingness or a complete void (at least nobody says that with regard to the big bang, as far as I know, correct me, if I am wrong). A big bang was not the inflation of nothing, it was the inflation of something, that we do not yet understand. That's fine, we don't have to know everything to know that the big bang model has been vindicated time and again by data, that it has correctly predicted.

Also, everything can not come from "something" or "someone", because that "someone" or "something" would exist before everything, yet if they existed before everthing, there'd be nothing, including that "someone" or that "something" and... and.... my brain hurts...

"if humans evolved from animals—from apes, for example—why is there such a huge gap between the intellectual abilities of humans and those of apes"

Lord help me... humans ARE animals. Humans ARE apes. One might as well start this question by asking: if humans evolved from vertebrates... The answer to the second part is: maybe the gap isn't as big as we think it is and also: it is ok to not yet know. It MAY EVEN BE, that there is an immaterial element to the human mind, that is not present in other apes, but that does not mean that humans and other apes, and humans and other animals are not biologically related, we KNOW that they are, that we are.

“Imagine that someone told you that there was an explosion at a printing plant and that the ink spattered onto the walls and ceilings and formed an unabridged dictionary. Would you believe it? How much more unbelievable is it that everything in the orderly universe came about as a result of a random big bang?”

Ahh, the creationist false-analogies, they never change. I am not going to explain how ridiculous this analogy is, because I don't need to. Instead I will point out that most of the species that have lived on Earth are now extinct, that meteorites fly about and bomb Earth and other planets, that galaxies are colliding as we speak and that in about 1 billion years the Sun will evaporate the Earth's oceans. "Orderly Universe" my ass.

“Humans have qualities far beyond what is necessary for mere survival. In fact, we care for sick people and help those who are less fortunate. Why would we do that if evolution—with its ‘survival of the fittest’ motto—were true?”

Morality has evolved, this is why we care for those, who cannot care for themselves. A society that is united in taking care of all members is more likely to survive and produce more offspring than a society that is full of fighting, death and suffering. How is that so difficult to understand???

“If you were walking through the forest and discovered a beautiful log cabin, would you think: ‘How fascinating! The trees must have fallen in just the right way to make this house.’ Of course not! It’s just not reasonable. So why should we believe that everything in the universe just happened to come about?”

"Just happened to come about". Wow, what a deep understanding of scientific theories. Mockery aside, we KNOW how cabins and other buildings are made, this is called a posteriori knowledge. We have NO a priori method for detecting design, we just don't. If each and every person had seen God(s) making millions of universes and then found one universe that nobody had seen being made, it would indeed be quite reasonable to assume, that that universe too had been designed by a supreme being. However, we can only observe one universe and this universe seems to operate relatively well without the need to invoke a designer of any kind.

That's it. THIS is the whole article, ALL the mighty arguments that the society thinks its members should parrot. And they WILL. That's what makes me sad, not angry, just sad. If the Watchtower Society did not dischourage higher education, then their members would be less likelty to accept fallacious arguments, non-sequitors and out-right lies about well-established scientific disciplines such as the study of evolution. I think of the average JW and I like that person and feel sorry for him/her. The authors of the article however, I despise. On some level, they HAVE TO know how bad it is, they do research for these articles, THEY MUST KNOW that evolution is an observable, testable fact.

Anyway, I hope you all found this entertaining, let me know if I made any mistakes.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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16-08-2014, 10:26 AM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
As an ex-JW (and Catholic) myself, I approve this thread. Wink

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16-08-2014, 10:42 AM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
(15-08-2014 06:23 PM)Northern Skeptic Wrote:  “If life came about by accident, then our lives—and all the things in our universe—are meaningless,” says a boy named Zachary. He has a point. After all, if evolution were true, life would not seem to have any lasting purpose."


A perfect example of the Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent

It's also interesting. We are so used to thinking in terms of "individualism" (in 2014) we don't even see the unspoken assumption here. Individual immortality did not creep into Hebrew thought until family (group) identity was disrupted during and after the Exile. They can't see the forest for the trees. If Evolution "says" anything, it's *meaning* is that individuals are not important (to the way it works). They can't reconcile that fact with their warm and fuzzy idea of a deity who cares about every little thing.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein (That's a JOKE, ya idiot)
"And you quit footing the bill for these nations that are oil rich - we're paying for some of their *squirmishes* that have been going on for centuries" - Sarah Palin
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16-08-2014, 06:40 PM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
Pricks...

It's a long time since I last read a Watchtower or Awake magazine... But their anti-evolution always seemed to be based on the idea that you have a choice about what's fact or fiction.

"Which would you prefer?" "What is more desirable?" as if that changes the facts.

Ah well... Shit heads gonna be shit headed.

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16-08-2014, 08:40 PM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
Their lack of ability to understand science is epic.

The vast majority of the scientific community and academia supports evolutionary theory as the only explanation that can fully account for observations in the fields of biology, paleontology, molecular biology, genetics, anthropology, and others. A total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists support evolution. An expert in the evolution-creationism controversy, professor and author Brian Alters, states that "99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution". Additionally, the scientific community considers intelligent design, a neo-creationist offshoot, to be unscientific, pseudoscience, or junk science.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that intelligent design "and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life" are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own. 38 Nobel laureates issued a statement saying "Intelligent design is fundamentally unscientific; it cannot be tested as scientific theory because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent."

A coalition representing more than 70,000 Australian scientists and science teachers issued a statement saying "intelligent design is not science" and calling on "all schools not to teach Intelligent Design (ID) as science, because it fails to qualify on every count as a scientific theory".

An amicus curiae brief, signed by 72 US Nobel Prize winners, 17 state academies of science and 7 other scientific societies, asked the US Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard, to reject a Louisiana state law requiring the teaching of creationism (which the brief described as embodying religious dogma). This was the largest collection of Nobel Prize winners to sign such a supporting document providing the "clearest statement by scientists in support of evolution yet produced."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society with more than 130,000 members and over 262 affiliated societies and academies of science including over 10 million individuals, has made several statements and issued several press releases in support of evolution.

The prestigious United States National Academy of Sciences, which provides science advice to the nation, has published several books supporting evolution and denouncing creationism and intelligent design. A poll by Pew Research Center found that "Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time - common decent with modifications."


Why do people not believe in evolution?

The first reason why many in the general public doubt the theory of evolution is due to belief in a supernatural causal effect. If for example, one subscribes to one of the anthropocentric Abrahamic faiths, say for example Christianity, and then points to the Bible as argument from authority to explain the real world around us, and from whence we came, this prevents the believer from accepting empirical evidence of a scientific nature to explain life. Since religious belief requires faith, and faith is the belief in something without evidence, faith is a failed methodology in which to comprehend the inner workings of the world around us.

If a belief is based on insufficient evidence; than any further conclusion drawn from the belief will at best be of questionable value. This cannot point one to the path of truth. As a tool, as an epistemology, as a method of reasoning, as a process for knowing the world, faith cannot adjudicate between competing claims. The ONLY way to figure out which claims about the world are likely true, and which are likely false, is through reason and evidence. There is no other way….yet.

“Science is the antithesis of faith. Science is a process that contains multiple and redundant checks, balances, and safeguards against human bias and error. Science has a built in corrective mechanism..hypothesis testing...that weeds out false claims. Claims that come about as a result of a scientific process are held as tentatively true by scientists..unlike claims of faith that are held as eternally true with zero evidence. Related to this, claims that come about as a result of a scientific process are falsifiable, that is, there is a way to show the claims are false. This is not the case with faith claims. For example, there's no way to falsify the claim that the Norse god Loki was able to assume other forms.

Scientists try to prove claims false (falsification), unlike faith leaders who unequivocally state their faith claims are true. If a scientist can demonstrate that a popular scientific claim is false, he or she can become famous, get tenure, publish books, earn more money and become respected by her or his peers. If a preacher states that the claims of his faith tradition are false, he's excommunicated, defrocked or otherwise forced to abandon his position”(Boghossian 2013)...the stifling of growth and enlightenment basically.

Science is a method for advancing our understanding. It is process we can use to bring us closer to the truth, and to weed out false claims. Science thus is the best way we've currently found to explain and understand how the universe works. This doesn’t set well with those who clutch supernatural, extraordinary, and unprovable theological faith claims, and that is a problem as it not only impacts their ability to understand and accept basic scientific principles, but it actually creates a barrier to moving on to better methods of epistemology. The reason creationism is not taught in public school is because it lacks any evidence. There is a good reason evolution is taught in public school, it is because it has evidence.

A second reason why many in the general public doubt the theory of evolution is due to lack of education and understanding of scientific methods. The problem comes with the word theory, those unfamiliar with scientific terms think that theory is something, “not quite right”, a speculation, a guess, and very likely wrong.

“According to the Oxford English dictionary, a scientific theory is “a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed.” (Coyne 2009) in science, a theory is much more than just a speculation about how things are: it is a well thought out group of propositions meant to explain facts about the real world.”

I believe it is due to lack of understanding of the plethora of empirical and scientific evidence proving evolution that prevents some from accepting it.


Resources:

Boghossian, P. (2013) A manual for creating atheists. Durham: Pitchstone Publishing

Coyne, J. (2009) Why evolution is true. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

------------------------------------------

Evolutionary trail?

It must require a consistent amount of self-discipline, or self-delusion, to completely ignore the plethora of superior evidence that strongly contradicts their belief system. If I hold up a rock and say that it is 4.5 billion years old, and validate that posit with ample scientific evidence by the utilization of various proven dating methods, and a creationist says it is 6,000 years old and holds up a fictional book as evidence to the contrary, this is not a countering argument worthy of discussion. I guess that is why it is called blind faith.

Whenever a creationist has been asked to offer a credible explanation on why different types of animals have similar forms and distinctly different places, their only answer is the GODDIDIT excuse. Unfortunately for creationists, convergent evolution explains this very well. Species that live in similar habitats will have experienced the same environmental stressors, and thus evolve with similar genetic adaptations. When we perform archaeological digs in one area we should find direct descendents of earlier species that lived in this area, to no surprise this is what we find. Yet again, another nail in the coffin of creationism.

Creationism would have to propose that there had occurred an endless number of successive creations and extinctions worldwide, and each set of newly created species were made to look like older ones that lived in the same area. This is about as plausible as the ridiculous Noah's Ark story which was based on the epic of Gilgamesh myth. Perhaps it is time we discard the chicken bones, tea leaves and fairytales and accept the real, tangible, empirical evidence at hand.

Scientists hypothesize that less than 1% of all species have fossil evidence for us to analyze. Thankfully, we had more than enough fossils show us how evolution proceeded, and to show how major species split off from one another over time.
To the educated, intellectual and rational person, the fact that the fossil record does not give any evidence in support of intelligent design or creationism, which posits that all species appeared suddenly and remain unchanged is of no surprise.

To me the biggest blow to creationism, besides the fact that the whole idea is fabricated and can be traced back to its inception, is a simple fact that scientifically we can disprove it in so many ways. The biggest being the fossil record does not reflect or support in any way all life appearing at one time on the earth. This of course is the least of creationist supporters worries as every angle of their belief system can be dismantled piece by piece.

For me the single biggest piece of evidence is transitional fossils such as Tiklaalik, or Archaeopteryx, which show major transitions from fish to amphibian and reptile to bird. This is of course very inconvenient to those who clutch a delusion in order to comprehend the real world around us. Delusion; A belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. Which pretty much defines religion.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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16-08-2014, 10:30 PM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
(16-08-2014 10:26 AM)LostLocke Wrote:  As an ex-JW (and Catholic) myself, I approve this thread. Wink

Double whammy right there!
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18-08-2014, 08:41 AM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
I have a JW friend on FaceBook who has been linking me to a lot of Watchtower articles, recently. I was kind of hoping we'd just reach an "agree to disagree" stance, because I don't like refuting every thing she throws at me, yet I don't like leaving them hanging unaddressed. When we first started talking, there was no proselytizing, but it's seemed to turn into that.

A few messages ago, we seemed to reach that "agree to disagree" point, then the next day, she sent me another message with another incredible fulfilled prophesy. I have yet to respond to it and tell her that any prophesy that predicts a human action on an open-ended timeline isn't really that impressive.
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18-08-2014, 08:53 AM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
(18-08-2014 08:41 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I have a JW friend on FaceBook who has been linking me to a lot of Watchtower articles, recently. I was kind of hoping we'd just reach an "agree to disagree" stance, because I don't like refuting every thing she throws at me, yet I don't like leaving them hanging unaddressed. When we first started talking, there was no proselytizing, but it's seemed to turn into that.

A few messages ago, we seemed to reach that "agree to disagree" point, then the next day, she sent me another message with another incredible fulfilled prophesy. I have yet to respond to it and tell her that any prophesy that predicts a human action on an open-ended timeline isn't really that impressive.

May I inquire as to what that prophecy was? When I publically declared myself an atheist on FB (leading to an exodus of JW "friends"), I dismantled quite many biblical and Watchtower prophecies. The main argument against the "end of days" prophecies is, of course, that they are as vague as anything can possibly be. There have pretty much always been earthquakes, famines, wars and plagues. How many earthquakes per year did Jesus have in mind? How many per month? How many per week? What guarantees, that things cannot get twice as bad or five times as bad as they are now or have been in the past? Yeah, talk about vague.

As for the Watchtower Society's prophecies, don't get me started. The end of the world will truly arrive, before we get done with debunking all of them in detail. Big Grin

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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18-08-2014, 02:59 PM (This post was last modified: 18-08-2014 03:10 PM by TheInquisition.)
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
(15-08-2014 06:23 PM)Northern Skeptic Wrote:  "if humans evolved from animals—from apes, for example—why is there such a huge gap between the intellectual abilities of humans and those of apes"

I've been watching several series on youtube and Netflix about the origins of humans. There isn't a big gap between humans and monkeys, their is a spectrum of intelligence that ranges from the least intelligent (monkeys) to more intelligent upright walking Australopithecus afarensis to Neanderthal to eventually Homo Sapiens
With many intermediate stages beyond that just mentioned.

It's amazing to think that at the early stages of human existence we shared this planet with up to SIX different species of humans! It might be interesting, or frustrating, to have them explain why there is evidence for so many other varieties of the genus homo. Did god create an Adam and Eves for each species? Why did god let us become the only species of the genus homo to survive since we ate that darn fruit? Laugh out load

The tree of delusion is nourished by the vague promises and skewed perception of prayer. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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19-08-2014, 06:26 AM
RE: Debunking Jehovah's Witnesses latest anti-science article
(18-08-2014 08:53 AM)Northern Skeptic Wrote:  May I inquire as to what that prophecy was?

I'll have to look it up to get the book and verse(s), but the gist of it is that a city was supposed to be destroyed in October. I think the person who did it was supposed to re-route a river or something to flood the place.

Whatever the specifics were, from what I gathered, there's no end date by when the prophesy needs to be fulfilled, and it is to be fulfilled by human actors. So, this makes it less than compelling. Really, unless the city gets destroyed either by some other means or gets destroyed on a month that isn't October, so long as it stands, anyone who wants to be famous can take a crack at fulfilling it. So, the fact that someone did isn't particularly compelling.

I'd be impressed if it said something like "On such-and-such date (and year!), God will smite ___ with a meteor from the sky", if it happened like that, was corroborated by an outside source, and we could prove the prophesy was made before the event took place. But, of course, they never are. They're always vague, open ended, and/or subject to be "fulfilled" by anyone with an agenda to fulfill the prophesy. Fuck, there are fundies today endlessly fapping about the goings on at Israel hoping to make some biblical prophesies come true. It's creepy.
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