Email exchange with Jehovah's Witness
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23-07-2013, 08:03 AM (This post was last modified: 23-07-2013 08:10 AM by 6.9 Agnostic.)
RE: Email exchange with Jehovah's Witness
I have finally (after 1 week) received a new reply, but I haven't sent another message yet, although, I have drafted one out, could someone please give me their thoughts before I hit 'send'

From: hidden
Sent: 23 July 2013 07:20
To: hidden
Subject: Re: Hi hidden...

Hi hidden

My apologies for not replying sooner. Just had a lot on the go the past week. Appreciate also that you are quite busy with your honours at the moment.

I am still reading through the references you included in your emails as well as some additional reference reading I have come across. In particular, I have really enjoyed an insightful article written by Dr Gerald Joyce on the Origin of Life. When I have completed the research and reading I will then formulate a more meaningful reply.

Regarding the use of the material contained in our brochure entitled Origin of Life, I could have just copied and pasted the article unedited in my last email or sent the brochure as an attachment. However, I wanted to present it as a commentary, interjected with my own expressions to indicate that I have an understanding of the topic, rather than just giving you an article I hadn't given some thought on.

Lastly, I feel it is important to mention to you that the basis for any ongoing discussion should include respect for each others differing opinions. While we are entitled to disagree with one another, I think it appropriate not to use derogatory terms when referring to the other persons beliefs and reference material. I hope you agree ;-)

I will be in contact soon with a more detailed reply to your last email. Hope your studying is going well. Just as a matter of interest, my job is hidden personal information What direction you hoping to go with your qualification?

Kind regards

hidden

hidden signature



My draft reply

Hi hidden

I was actually going to send you an email today regardless, just to ask you how you were, I was starting to believe you may not send me another message.

I’m not sure exactly what article of Dr Gerald Joyce you are reading, but he is a respected scientist, and I look forward to your meaningful reply in the future.

I know you didn’t just copy and paste the whole article unedited, but you didn’t cite it as your original source, when the similarity was overwhelming (This link is temporary, and will expire in 1 month) and while you may have wanted to indicate you had an understanding of the topic, the ‘understanding’ was from that source which was highly fallible, and I picked it apart, by looking at both the sources you gave (from the JW website), and put what was written into context, plus, I looked at, and linked to several other sources. I don’t want to overwhelm you, by asking you to read anything else, you seem to be doing a good amount of research, but please read this Wikipedia article on contextomy. I hate to admit, but I also read questions 2, 3 and 4 from the brochure, and looking at their sources, I found other examples of this quoting out of context, and that is a technique in propaganda.

I respect your right to have an opinion; but I cannot respect your opinion about religion, though I will certainly tolerate it. That doesn’t mean I do not respect you, or other opinions you have, on the day we met, you gave me your opinion on homosexuals, which I fully respect. Once, when speaking to a Catholic preacher, I asked for his opinion on homosexuality, and he said “it’s wrong, it’s unnatural”, and even though, I respect his right to that opinion, I certainly don’t agree with it, and I don’t respect his opinion on homosexuality which differs from mine. I hope you can see this distinction.

I didn’t mean to use any derogatory terms, and I’m sorry that you think that I have done this, but I don’t see anything derogatory in referring to your reference material as propaganda.

Simple definition of ‘propoganda’ Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
Simple definition of ‘derogatory’ Showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve read the first 4 questions from your reference material, and it is actually very derogatory towards science, just one small example, in Question 4 “Has All Life Descended From a Common Ancestor?” , the first heading is “Darwin’s Tree Chopped Down”, which is a reference to this article (don’t worry, it’s only a very short preview here!) but the full article concludes (with hilarious foreshadowing)

As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, we await a
third revolution that will see biology changed and strengthened.
None of this should give succour to creationists, whose blinkered
universe is doubtless already buzzing with the news that "New
Scientist has announced Darwin was wrong". Expect to find excerpts
ripped out of context and presented as evidence that biologists are
deserting the theory of evolution en masse. They are not.

Nor will the new work do anything to diminish the standing of Darwin
himself. When it came to gravitation and the laws of motion, Isaac
Newton didn't see the whole picture either, but he remains one of
science's giants. In the same way, Darwin's ideas will prove
influential for decades to come.

So here's to the impending revolution in biology. Come Darwin's
300th anniversary there will be even more to celebrate.

the rest of the question 4 answer discusses fossils, but really, scientists now don’t even need fossils to be sure about evolution (because of DNA mapping), but they are just a bonus. Richard Dawkins discusses this in his book “The Greatest Show on Earth”, you could watch him talk about this here, I would only ask you to watch (or just listen) to chapter 4, which is 6 minutes 22 seconds, but you may want to watch other chapters.

hidden personal information

Sincerely,

hidden
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23-07-2013, 08:17 AM
RE: Email exchange with Jehovah's Witness
I like read e-mail from this exchange.
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23-07-2013, 11:58 AM
RE: Email exchange with Jehovah's Witness
Just to let it be known, I have sent my reply with a few small changes.
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02-08-2013, 04:27 PM
RE: Email exchange with Jehovah's Witness
[/quote]
Anyway, I would really like some opinions/comments/feedback, even if it's critical, just so I know what others are thinking. Is my argument any good?

I realise there's quite a lot to read, and that's not including the articles which have been linked to, so thank you to anyone who has got through it!
[/quote]

Thanks for the great links. I think your arguments are solid and well expressed.
On the subject of artificial life Martin Hanczyc has a great talk on TED covering lifelike behaviors of non-living materials. http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_hanczyc_..._life.html
Enjoy.
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07-08-2013, 05:42 PM
RE: Email exchange with Jehovah's Witness
I am actually quite surprised you got someone who was willing to take up a debate like that. Most JWs would just quote a paragraph from the "Reasoning from the Scriptures" book (A book designed to give the Witness replies to conversation stoppers) and write you off as difficult if you weren't willing to change your views. I think if you were talking to him in person he would have backed down a while ago without having time to research a decent counter argument.

But I think you conducted yourself very well and your argument was sound and logical. Despite that I still think there is a high chance you won't be able to change their mind (They are very good at hearing without listening), but hopefully I am wrong and it will contribute to a change down the road.
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14-08-2013, 08:00 AM
RE: Email exchange with Jehovah's Witness
Twocultsurvior and Yvette bring up valid points. Back in my fundie days I had a great deal of experience debating JWs. They don't like being asked questions, they only like answering them. I know that sounded odd, but "answering" your question gives them a chance to direct the discussion. At least in the medium you chose to discuss the subject you have at least given yourself an advantage. The key will be to pin him down by bringing up unanswered or insufficiently answered questions you had. During verbal exchanges the have been trained at shifting the subject and moving on quickly. At least here, you can hold his feet to the fire so to speak. I look forward to reading more.

"Now I don't want to be sane either, but I'm just saying there may be other delusions and hallucinations worthy of consideration before jumping to an irrational conclusion, that's all."
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