Science-denial to be a regular feature of Watchtower’s monthly JW Broadcasting episodes
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Yaroslav XXX and Professor Raj Kalaria endorse Watchtower's anti-evolution stance

Yaroslav Dovhanych and Professor Raj Kalaria endorse Watchtower’s anti-evolution stance

Watchtower has a long and ignominious history with its forays into the realm of science.

Charles Taze Russell’s 1914 film The Photo-Drama of Creation advised cinema audiences that Earth was assembled in 49,000 years, that Noah’s Flood was caused by a Saturn-like orbital ring of water collapsing, and that getting rid of bacteria would be a good thing.

Russell’s ugly legacy of pseudo-science was continued by his successor Rutherford, who used the organization’s publications to spread his own brand of quackery.

The January 16, 1924 edition of the Golden Age proclaimed that: “It has never been proven that a single disease is due to germs.” And in his 1928 book Reconciliation, Rutherford denounced human evolution as an “insult to Jehovah,” instructing his followers: “it becomes the duty of the Christian to refuse to consider the man-made evidence offered by so-called scientists.”

Watchtower has continued to embrace this head-in-the-sand, backwards approach to science ever since. And the latest JW Broadcasting episode, hosted by Governing Body helper William Malenfant, indicates an escalation by the organization in its war against evolution, which it recently dismissed as a “doctrine” and a “false teaching.”

“One widespread false teaching that blinds people to the truth about God is the doctrine of evolution.” (Watchtower study edition, Oct 15, 2013, pp. 7-11)

The April 2016 broadcast sees Malenfant introducing a new feature in which scientists who happen to be Jehovah’s Witnesses are interviewed about their views on evolution. First up is Yaroslav Dovhanych, a Russian zoologist, followed by Professor Raj Kalaria, a brain researcher at Newcastle University in England.

Predictably, in their attempts to refute evolution, both Dovhanych and Kalaria demonstrate that their grasp on evolutionary theory is tenuous at best.

DNA: proof of creationism?

“The evolutionary theory, in my opinion, quite reasonably argued that there is no creator,” says Dovhanych, describing his pre-creationist experience. “[It argues] that everything was shaped by a series of random changes and combinations.”

Firstly, we can be grateful that not everyone who believes in God also dismisses evolution. A number of prominent scientists, including Francis Collins (Director of the National Institutes of Health in America), are able to reconcile both.

Secondly, natural selection is far from a random process. When successive generations of an organism are shaped by their surroundings, and an environment selects which attributes are best suited to reproduction and survival, what we have is cause and effect. Evolution is a guided process, even if natural forces rather than a supreme celestial supervisor are doing the guiding.

Dovhanych enjoys a moment of contemplation

Dovhanych enjoys a moment of contemplation

 

“When I studied nature through this lens [of the evolution theory],” Dovhanych continues, “I began to notice things that contradicted the theory of evolution. I found things that couldn’t have been formed by natural selection.”

Conveniently, none of these “things” are cited for our edification. However, Dovhanych at least teases an example that suggests his “contradictions” may not have stood up to much scrutiny.

“As I started to wonder about this, whether there is a creator, I began to discover more facts contradicting the theory of evolution,” he muses. “Can anyone say that some computer programs appeared simply by chance? In contrast, evolutionists would like us to believe that DNA was formed by evolution. To illustrate, say you take some letter blocks, pour them on to the table, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica is formed. There is an even smaller probability that DNA originated by evolution.”

Creationists like Ray Comfort (left) and Ken Ham (right) are renowned for trying to blur the lines between chemical and biological evolution

Creationists like Ray Comfort (left) and Ken Ham (right) are renowned for trying to blur the lines between chemical and biological evolution

Dovhanych thus resorts to the age-old trick, repeatedly used by the likes of Ken Ham and Ray Comfort, of trying to lump biological evolution together with chemical evolution, or abiogenesis. He is hoping that nobody will consider the gaping difference between the two, namely that living organisms are imbued with key components for natural selection, i.e. reproduction and scope for genetic variation.

Chemicals do not normally have the same potential; thus the idea of complex self-replicating chemical structures like DNA arising spontaneously is much harder to comprehend, even if it is not theoretically impossible. Thus, to discredit the proven science of biological evolution, Dovhanych bypasses it altogether by invoking the implausibility of DNA originating through natural forces.

Though abiogenesis is not established science in the same way as biological evolution, its seeming implausibility diminishes the more you consider the observed natural tendencies of certain chemicals to form complex structures when subjected to various repetitive processes, such as rising and falling tides, the warmth and cold of day and night, or frequent geo-thermal eruptions.

Rather than behaving like stationary “letter blocks,” under the right conditions chemical compounds can be drawn to each other in remarkable ways, as the following video explains…

Once you factor in hundreds of millions of years of natural experimentation (scientists think it took the first billion of Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history for the earliest life-forms to develop), and infinite possibilities for experiments to go wrong, you begin to understand why abiogenesis is a worthy area of study. Its investigation certainly makes more sense than throwing in the towel because life must have originated through an originator who is above any questioning over his, her or its origin.

The idea of DNA arising naturally will certainly come to sound even less silly if, as many astro-biologists predict, life is found to be naturally occurring elsewhere in our solar-system. After all, if Earth was seeded with plant and animal life solely for the enjoyment of humans, for whose benefit did God repeat the trick on the dusty plains of Mars, or in the frigid, sub-surface waters of Europa?

The Creationist Professor

Slightly less sophisticated in his efforts to discredit evolution was Professor Raj Kalaria, who stuck to misrepresenting evolution as “random,” and as contradicted by “phenomenal complexity.”

“We were taught about evolution of life, and this was just part of the curriculum,” said Kalaria. “At the time there were no other options, as it were. God did not come in the picture at all, or God creating the heavens and the earth, as it were, never came in the picture.”

One wonders whether Professor Kalaria is equally indignant that he was never given “other options” when germ theory, or the theory of gravity, or the theory of plate tectonics came up in class.

Professor Kalaria busies himself at Newcastle University

Professor Kalaria busies himself at Newcastle University

 

“The brain is an extremely complex organ,” Kalaria continues. “And brain is what we are; what I am, what you are. No brain, no life. It’s as simple as that.”

But for 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, including Kalaria, it isn’t as simple as that. Kalaria supports the belief that human life can continue once a brain dies so long as its owner surrendered all critical thinking skills, and pledged full loyalty to a group of religious leaders based in New York.

Professor Kalaria believes that Christ will rule in heaven with 144,000 former humans who are no longer in need of their brains

Professor Kalaria believes that Christ will rule in heaven with 144,000 former humans who are no longer in need of their brains

In Kalaria’s mind, some people will be able to live as spirit creatures in heaven without brains, and these kingly entities will rule over a future Earth populated solely by Jehovah’s Witnesses, many of whom will be resurrected with new brains to replace the ones they lost at death.

Not very scientific, is it?!

“We started looking at the nerve cells themselves in terms of the volume and the number,” says Kalaria, suggesting certain colleagues at Newcastle University join him in his bold conclusions. To Kalaria, anti-science views probably have more weight when nameless others are said to concur.

“And it’s phenomenal that in that small area of the brain there are some 1.4 billion neurons. So the number of connections that make us, synapses they make, is phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. And so when you think about the complexity of all that, how is it possible that that is just by random chance? It has to be guided.”

Scientists would agree that it has to be guided, but they would not agree that the “guide” is a supreme entity who is keenly interested in what we do when we are naked, or how tight our pants are, or whether we take part in an immersion ritual. Natural selection, as explained, is a guiding force. And it is more than capable of producing “phenomenal complexity.”

In fact, when one truly grasps natural selection, a feat Professor Kalaria is yet to accomplish, one appreciates why complexity does not negate evolution. Pointing to complexity as evidence of God is otherwise known as “God of the gaps” reasoning, i.e. “I don’t know how this happened, therefore God did it.”

As convenient as this line of reasoning may be, it has an achilles heel – namely a failure to subject the creator himself to similar scrutiny. As Richard Dawkins observes in The Blind Watchmaker:

“If we want to postulate a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution, that deity must have been vastly complex in the first place. The creationist, whether a naive Bible-thumper or an educated bishop, simply postulates an already existing being of prodigious intelligence and complexity. If we are going to allow ourselves the luxury of postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation, we might as well make a job of it and simply postulate the existence of life as we know it!”

The University closes ranks

I decided to reach out to Newcastle University to find out whether it endorses Professor Kalaria’s stance on evolution, and found myself in a rather frustrating email exchange with the Media Relations Manager at the University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. After much to-ing and fro-ing, an official statement was finally forthcoming…

Dear Lloyd,

Please see the comment below.

A Newcastle University spokesperson said: “Academic freedom, which is written into Newcastle University’s statutes, allows all academic staff freedom to put forward opinions that do not necessarily represent the University.”

Best wishes,

That, I suppose, is a polite way of saying: “we don’t want to be associated with what this guy is saying.” Even so, I felt the University could be more emphatic given Kalaria’s suggestion that his views are shared. I replied…

Thank you…

Forgive me, but do you have any comment on Professor Kalaria saying “we,” thereby implying the support of his colleagues for his findings?

And does Newcastle University support Professor Kalaria’s anti-evolution views, or not?

The answer?

Dear Lloyd,

We have nothing further to add other than the statement provided.

Best wishes…

Though I can understand the representative’s awkward position as someone who shares a payroll with Professor Kalaria, I do feel saddened that, in this age of political correctness, Newcastle University is not able to be more robust in distancing itself from a piece of propaganda aimed at indoctrinating an entire generation to view science with suspicion.

newcastle_2571059b

Newcastle University has been less than emphatic in distancing itself from Kalaria’s comments

Thanks to his Hindu upbringing, Professor Kalaria may be enjoying the benefits of a decent education that allows him to live comfortably. But the vast majority of Witness children who will be made to absorb his anti-science rhetoric will have no such option.

They will be steered away from higher education, and taught to frown upon the scientific consensus wherever this conflicts with the ideas of Sam, Steve, Mark, Geoff, Dave, Tony and Gerrit.

Raj Kalaria may be entitled to his own opinion, but he also has a moral duty towards the impressionable minds who may be swayed by his credentials.

By using his reputation as a university Professor in this way, even implying the support of his colleagues, Kalaria has made himself an accessory in the exporting of backwards, ignorant, anti-science dogma at the expense of the intellectual development of countless children who will take his words seriously. And Newcastle University is happy to shrug its shoulders and effectively say: “it has nothing to do with us.”

More to come?

Goodness knows what pseudo-scientist double-act will replace Dovhanych and Kalaria as the next would-be demolishers of Darwin’s theory in future videos, but we can be reasonably assured of two things: (1) they will have a fundamental lack of understanding of evolutionary theory, and (2) they will be willing to jettison their credibility in furtherance of Watchtower’s creationist agenda.

We can at least be grateful that if the Watchtower cult were considered an organism, the habitat of the internet age is proving far less conducive to its survival than the age of ignorance from whence it spawned.

 

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176 Responses to Science-denial to be a regular feature of Watchtower’s monthly JW Broadcasting episodes

  1. Twmack says:

    Just extending the analogy of the 45,000,000 to 1
    chance of winning the lottery, in relation to the odds
    of conditions on earth being right for life.

    Recently the English lotto went 13 weeks before someone
    came up with the right combination, and don’t forget
    many people buy multiple tickets. So although the odds
    of winning are the same each week, many more combinations
    (Or can we say Experiments) will have been tried than the
    figure of 45,000,000. But eventually Bingo!

    Thanks for being patient, here’s my point. Nature, the
    environment, or whatever you like to call it has had not just
    a few weeks, but around 5, billion years to experiment
    with its molecules, chemicals, proteins or whatever.

    during that time it would have had many losing tickets
    but also plenty of time to hit some jackpots combining
    it’s winnings into what’s in evidence today. ( A bit
    simplistic and amateurish on the science aspect I know,
    but I was 25 years a J W, lol.)

    • Minion says:

      Greetings to all:

      @D, @W,

      Injecting a thought on ,”how to win the English American lottery – you play the same numbers each week – until the mathmatical systems chooses your numbers ” an explanation given by a four-time grand prize winner from Florida.

      Ironically, I have started to use this technique and have noticed more of my numbers matched. Getting closer to the big pay out. Stay tune folks.

      Peace out,

    • FriendofJW says:

      The fault with your reasoning is that on the odds, there are many more chances of failure than success, something in the region of 10^127 – 1 chance of failure with the 1 representing the successful odd. You only need to calculate the time required for each amino acid combination to form, say 1 every 0.1 second, by the age of the earth to get the answer. There hasn’t been enough time in the entire age of the universe for molecules to form into a successful combination of a working protein of average size.

  2. Randy Galbraith says:

    Hi Holy,

    Point well taken 🙂 By “fog” I really do mean of the type created by scientific inquiry. Here is the fictional conversation I imagine…

    JW: So, Randy, you left the truth and no longer believe in God?
    me: Yes, I left the faith and I no longer believe in God.
    JW: Well, tell me then, how did life originate?
    me: I don’t know
    JW: You don’t know? Really?
    me: Yes, really, I don’t know.
    JW: You have no idea at all? Really?
    me: Well I’ve read books like The Spark of Life by Christopher Wills and Jeffrey Bada, but no definite answer was provided, so I still don’t know how life originated.

    JW: Well, what do you know?
    me: Well I’m pretty certain life did originate — it is here now and we have good evidence it did not always exist.
    JW: And…
    me: And the basic components of life, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, etc, are the same material as non-living things.
    JW: And…
    me: All examples of living things now come from parent forms. For every living thing there must have been a non-broken chain of ancestral parents. Life does not arise spontaneously, as shown by Pasteur, et al.

    JW: So, you just admitted that life does not arise spontaneously, so you must still be believe in God.
    me: Forgive me, I should have added “now”, life does not spontaneously “now”, not that we can see. In fact the existence of free oxygen and existing life may preclude life originating in the current environment.
    JW: Yes, I’ve heard of these arguments for a “reducing atmosphere” creating a chicken-n-egg problem of no oxygen for life to start, yet no oxygen means no ozone to protect life once it got started. What do you think of that?
    me: I don’t know. I’m a software engineer, not a chemist or expert on likely ancient atmospheric conditions. Suffice to say, since it is living things that produce oxygen, it seems reasonable to believe there was less oxygen on earth before life existed. In fact how chemistry must of worked on the pre-life Earth, without living things to muck-around and interfere must have been pretty amazing and wide ranging.

    JW: Well, I still believe, Jehovah created everything just as it says in Genesis.
    me: Like the first living cell 3.5 billion years ago? Or would he have prepared the organic chemistry that existed before that?
    JW: The Bible doesn’t say.
    me: You mentioned the problem about oxygen and reducing atmosphere, so wouldn’t this have also been a problem for Jehovah’s creation?
    JW: No, he is God Almighty, and all his creations were good.
    me: But, if, that first cell, didn’t reproduce it would go extinct, wouldn’t it?
    JW: Yes, but Jehovah would ensure that didn’t happen.

    me: Okay, fine. What about Stygimoloch, did Jehovah create that too?
    JW: Yes, of course.
    me: At a different time than the first cell?
    JW: Yes, Genesis clearly shows Jehovah is a God of order not chaos.
    me: What would Jehovah do if the very first copy of Stygimoloch died without producing offspring?
    JW: I guess it would then be extinct, but since we have a fossil record we know that didn’t happen — so what is your point?
    me: Well, true the first copy must have lived and reproduce. But the fossil record shows something rather curious about this creation process. It seems Jehovah, as good as he is, can’t create living things that survive over generations. In fact, more than 90% of all organisms that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct. The Earth, rather than being a paradise oasis of life support in the cosmos, the place is down right hostile to life! From massive asteroids crashing into the planet to cycles of heating to mass ice-ages the planet routinely kills of life en masse.

    JW: Hmm…
    me: The larger point though is any obstacle one can imagine to the origin of life, would also be faced by any creator, both in terms of what he created and…
    JW: and…
    me: himself!
    JW: I knew you were going to say that! Who created God? Right?
    me: Well, yes, if Jehovah God is “alive”, then saying he created life on Earth, doesn’t address the the “origin of life” question, it merely pushes it into another realm.

    So… welcome to the “fog” of “I don’t know” But don’t despair, it is not a bad place really. It allows one to sit back and wonder, all the while being ready, not to accept just anything, but to be open to new information that deepens our understanding of nature.

    Cheers,
    -Randy

  3. Minion says:

    A message to The Watchtower Corporation:

    Each month your TV evangelising segment on science topics, your members Jehovah’s Witnesses will turn to JWSurvey to see the true perspective with out the Spin.

    You 7 men are not competent, not school, not certified, and can’t handle the truth. You can not even prove your own facts and policies with the silver sword. Reconsider and don’t go down this road, you will not win. No victory or awards given from JWSurvey.

    Peace out,

  4. Deep Thought says:

    While I do believe there was a world wide catastrophe about 10,000 years which has been well documented in such publications as the following…
    Forbidden Archaeology
    The Hidden History of the Human Race
    Red Earth, White Lies
    God Star
    and many others.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7EAlTcZFwY

    The Wallace Line shows that it was not a worldwide catastrophe.

    Is there a higher being taking credit as god or just trying to help us out or is directing the human race, not really sure.

    Maybe the Sun is sentient and alive that influences all life here on earth. Who’s to say.

    What I do know (subject to revision) is that theories come and go.
    I do not believe in the Big Bang
    I do not believe in Dark Matter
    I do not believe in Dark Energy
    I am still not sure about God (but its good to hedge your bets)

    I do believe in the Electric Universe which explains all of the above and life in general, including DNA.
    https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2016/04/15/dna-in-the-electric-universe-electricity-of-life/

    We live in a three dimensional world but are limited in what we can see and hear in the spectrum. There is no 4th or 5th dimensions which are just products of someones over active imagination and their love of math.

    All of Einsteins theories can be explained by simple refraction and electricity.

    • Outandabout says:

      But spare a thought for poor old Gallileo, aye. Put under house arrest for daring to suggest that the Earth was not at the centre of everything after all. Poor insecure Creationists! But, times have changed for the better, I suppose. At least when a new scientific ‘fact’ is discovered, rather than throwing the Scientist into jail, Creationists just throw themselves further into their very own Prison of Belief.

      • Outandabout says:

        “I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.” – US comedian Emo Philips

        I’m not sure if this is funny or not, given that millions of people seriously base their lives on the essence of this. One could also wonder why the Bible and it’s teachings are so easily made fun of.

      • Deep Thinker says:

        If I deny Global Warming, I am vilified or worse any funding or my job may be terminated.
        There is no difference from back then to today.
        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/02/french-weatherman-fired-for-promoting-book-sceptical-of-climate-change

        I try to keep an open mind on every possibility, and change my views as new evidence presents itself.

        One theory that took me about 10 years to accept since I originally dismissed it without looking at the evidence because was so outlandish, was that at one time the earth was in orbit around Saturn – which was a Brown Dwarf in the past.

        I think since I became a JW I spend too much time searching for the real origins of where we came from and what happened in the past.

        • Cedars says:

          “One theory that took me about 10 years to accept since I originally dismissed it without looking at the evidence because was so outlandish, was that at one time the earth was in orbit around Saturn – which was a Brown Dwarf in the past.”

          I too was a brown dwarf in the past, and Saturn was my twin sister. I also had planets revolving around me. Of course, I would offer you evidence, but apparently you don’t need evidence to believe in stuff, so you can take my word for it.

    • Cappytan says:

      “I do not believe in Dark Matter
      I do not believe in Dark Energy”

      I suggest you examine the evidence: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/aug/HQ_06297_CHANDRA_Dark_Matter.html

  5. Wip it says:

    They get you thinking about purpose, the why & what, it seems that many people need to believe something, i am now at a point where i don’t know anymore, sure i see intelligent & design but that doesn’t indicate one supreme being, people have seen other stuff as well, flying sauces etc etc, all i know is i am going to die like my parents & many friends, the JW prophecies are garbage & many people are tiring of the Borg, sure many bad things are happening in the world, does not prove to me anything that JW teach. So many people with their heads in the sand.

    • Randy Galbraith says:

      Hi Wip It,

      Agreed! Seeing issues with my JW view of science was the crack that let in the light. But it was only the beginning that eventually led to a whole rewiring of how I viewed almost all aspects of my former faith.

      Here for the fun of it, is another fictional encounter with a JW that addresses some of the topics in your post.

      JW: What about the purpose of life?
      me: Can you be more specific?
      JW: Well, you’ve said you’re an atheist, so that must mean you see no purpose in life. That seems kinda bleak!
      me: Well, I do think life has a purpose, albeit perhaps a bit different than I use to.
      JW: So what is the purpose of life?
      me: The purpose of life is to reproduce more life according to kind.
      JW: That’s it? Nothing more?
      me: That’s it, yes.
      JW: What about homosexuals? You say you’re more accepting of them now and yet they don’t reproduce?
      me: Woe! Slow down! Human sexuality is a vast and complex area as is strategies that lead to reproductive success. Humans survive in groups and it is entirely possible that certain percentage of homosexuals within a group wasn’t a deterrent to reproduction, maybe it was even helpful.

      JW: That still seems like not much of a purpose. I don’t see how your life could have any meaning.
      me: Why should the cosmos owe me anything more? Is it not enough that I’m alive now, I’m married to an angel, have four wonderful daughters, two great sons-in-law and one grandson? Must I cry fowl and say it is not enough?, and…

      JW: You’re hesitating, do you want to say something else?
      me: … well, yes, I worry about the “purpose trap.”
      JW: Purpose trap?

      me: Did you ever see the movie Fiddler on the Roof?
      JW: I did
      me: Right at the beginning Tevye, asked how do we keep our balance? That, I can answer in one word “Tradition!”. He goes on to say, “because of our tradition everyone knows who he is and what God expects of him.”
      JW: Yes, I love that movie!
      me: Do you see though the purpose trap?
      JW: No.
      me: It is in the phrase “what God expects of him.”
      JW: Is that bad?
      me: Well if God exists, as Tevye believes, then it would be reasonable to for him to want to know what God expects of him. For the Witness the question is the same, what does Jehovah expect of me?
      JW: Well, true, and Jehovah tells us in James. To look after orphans and widows and to keep oneself without spot from the world.
      me: What about the preaching work?
      JW: Yes, of course, we must be at it in favorable season and troublesome season we must never give up in doing what is fine. The good news of God’s Kingdom must be preached world-wide.

      me: Organized or ad-hoc?
      JW: Organized! Jesus set the pattern, he gave instructions and sent out his disciples two-by-two. We can also see by how the issue of how the question of circumcision was settled showed how God’s people functioned under and ancient Governing Body.
      me: The “trap” in such a “purpose” is upon honest and thoughtful reflection we can see, that everything about it aligns with the needs of the organization telling you what God’s purpose happens to be. Jehovah’s Witnesses print Bible literature so it is not surprising that distributing such literature becomes part of what God expects. The Witnesses run an impressive website with content in hundreds of languages, so again, part of the “purpose of life” becomes directing folks to a website. If you were a Mormon no doubt you would feel that part of purpose of life involved a priesthood and giving 10% of your income to the Church.

      JW: But in all the incredible living things you surely can see the handiwork of a great designer. How can you deny such things as the migration of the Monarch butterfly?
      me: I don’t, I just look at it differently than I did as a Witness.
      JW: Well do you believe in Intelligent Design?
      me: Yes, I do.
      JW: What!? Really? I thought you said you believe in the theory of evolution?
      me: Yes, I do
      JW: I’m confused, which is it Intelligent Design or theory of evolution?
      me: Both
      JW: Stop it! How is it that you believe in the theory of evolution?
      me: The theory of evolution explains the origin of species. If evolution were not true the alternative of species created in one way and not changing over time would need to be true. If species do change over time it should be possible that so much change would accumulate that a new species would come into existence. I believe the evidence shows clearly that both the mechanism for change exists (reproduction and survival selection) and examples of living things past and present show evolutionary change over time really does happen. In contrast I see nothing that would keep a species forever static. If a group of humans moved to Mars and survived and reproduced under those different conditions, I see no reason to believe they wouldn’t become a different species — Martians — unable to reproduce with Humans. There is nothing in our DNA or in how we reproduce that demands that a species forever stay static and unchanging.

      JW: Okay, how is it that you believe in Intelligent Design.
      me: Lots of things are the result of Intelligent Design. A computer for example. Individual components are designed by intelligent humans and eventually assembled into a whole unit.
      JW: Can you give an example not involving a human?
      me: Sure, a gopher hole is intelligently designed. The hole exists due to the intellect of the gopher. Many other examples exist such as birds nests and ant hills and beaver dams. But do you see a difference between how things evolve and intelligent design?
      JW: I think I see what you’re getting at. Evolution operates on self-reproduction and change-over-time, whereas things designed by an intelligence don’t reproduce and serve the purpose of the designer.
      me: You’ve got it! Don’t confuse the gopher with the gopher hole. Just because real living brains can design things with purpose, don’t assume there is purpose in everything. And be careful not to do the bidding of someone else, simply because they tell you such is “the purpose of life” and what “God expects” of you.

      Cheers,
      -Randy

    • dee2 says:

      “They get you thinking about purpose, the why & what……”

      JWs have been programmed to believe that there is only one way that life can have meaning and purpose – if you live according to their beliefs and if you can live forever………the latter asks a bit of the cosmos – as I understand it, everything in the universe has an expiration date: planets, stars, galaxies….

      “…….sure many bad things are happening in the world, does not prove to me anything that JW teach.”
      The bad things happening in the world is the line of argument that is used to attract and trap many in the JW religion including myself when I used to be one. After a while one begins to see that the JW solution of a Paradise earth is nothing more than just a dangling carrot.

  6. Gary says:

    Excellent rebuttal Lloyd in the most recent John Cedars video. Besides the obvious and enjoyable, you raise several poignant points for Christians and those with faith in the bible to consider. Thank you.

  7. Randy Galbraith says:

    Hi Deep Thought,

    On my FB feed Steve Hassan, ex-Unification Church member and author of Combating Cult Mind Control, posted an article that suggested a good way to test information is to ask for it to be explained in simple jargon-free terms.

    “Big Bang” = Consequence of observing that the Universe is expanding and thus, in the past must have been smaller. Upon getting small enough it becomes a single point. When knowledge of physics is applied and computer models created it “appears” like an initial big explosion.
    “Dark” = “Unknown”
    “Dark Matter” = A form of unknown matter, that if it exists, would account for certain aspects of cosmic size structures, such as gravitational lensing.
    “Dark Energy” = A form of unknown energy, that if it exists, would account for recently detected acceleration of the universe.
    “God” = At a minimum a concept of a super-being that exists within the mind of a believer and sometimes as a shared concept among a group of like minded believers. At a maximum a super-being outside the physical who created all things and is able to manipulate the physical world we live in.
    “4th, 5th, nth dimensions” = A mathematical construct used to make String Theory logical and consistent. If real, these extra dimensions may wrap up bits of physical matter in ways that currently makes the dimensions themselves beyond our ability to observe.

    JW: So if “dark” means “unknown”, does that mean you don’t know what dark matter and dark energy is?
    me: That’s correct. I certainly don’t know, I’m a software engineering, not a physics major, but as far as I’m aware, even they best and brightest scientists in the field don’t know.
    JW: What happened before the Big Bang?
    me: Your question makes no sense. The word “before” is a reference to time, which as we know it, only came into existence at the Big Bang.
    JW: So you believe the Universe just pop into existence from nothing?
    me: Yes. The key word in your question is “nothing” or “no thing”. All the laws we know like cause and effect, all the “things” we know, like matter and energy, is part of this Universe. Thus for the lack of a better word to mean something not part of this Universe, “nothing” works.
    JW: Couldn’t what you call “nothing” be Jehovah?
    me: Sure, but, such speculation would be pointless.
    JW: Pointless? How?
    me: Just like “before” the Big Bang makes no sense, so does speculation of anything outside the Universe.
    JW: Well I believe Jehovah created the Universe, if he caused the Big Bang so be it.
    me: Such meta-physical views are neither here nor there. We just can’t know — welcome to the “fog.” But, the story of Jehovah doesn’t just end there does it?
    JW: No! Jehovah is wonderful, he is the Rock, Perfect is his activity, all his ways are justice! Soon he will intervene in human affairs and create a paradise Earth.
    me: But Jehovah is interested in other things too, isn’t he? When Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, offered “strange fire”, he killed them, right?
    JW: Yes, there were being disobedient.
    me: When Jehovah created humans he endowed them with a powerful sexual desire. This in turn would ensure they be fruitful and multiply an fill the Earth, right?
    JW: Yes, what’s your point?
    me: But when a young unmarried man or woman masturbates somewhere on Earth, he is interested in that and use his power through his organization to declare this an unclean habit. Leading some to feel awful guilt when they do this otherwise natural thing.
    JW: Sex is only to be enjoyed with God’s arrangement of marriage. Those young people simply need to learn self-control.
    me: Maybe, but it seems like a programmer adding a feature to a system then expect the user not to use it. Why add the feature, just to tempt the user?
    JW: Well that’s your view, but as for me and my household we will serve Jehovah
    me: Fair enough, but my point is, mere intellectual discussions about cosmology and origin of life and the theory of evolution is really leading to a point about obedience to Jehovah. And what that obedience means in specific detail really comes down to what the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses decide is important. Thus if we’re not careful a discussion about the Big Bang can suddenly and most oddly become a discussion on whether or not one should hug during prayer.

    Cheers,
    -Randy

    • Outandabout says:

      I wouldn’t want God’s job. Out there with his Gameboy controller, controlling the Universe in every direction for billions of light years, exploding stars, forming new galaxies, creating black holes, etc, and all the while having to look back over his shoulder to keep a very very close eye on all the thousands of people in the world who would be masturbating at any one time, shaking his head and going “tsk tsk tsk, 24/7. Okay, one must not underestimate the importance of keeping an eye on masturbators, but hey, what a total distraction! Not only that, the poor guy’s mouth must be hideously dry all the time with that constant tsk-ing. Still…if it were easy, anyone could do it.

      • Grace says:

        Randy,

        I love your analysis, it’s straight to the point. It’s the agenda. I didn’t think of it in a nutshell like that until you put it down like that. It’s all very manipulative isn’t it.

        This article made me think of the list of Propaganda Techniques that Wt uses to manipulate, especially the uneducated (like me). I have never had an interest in science, I prefer philosophy. When I first started waking up, I went to that list so many times & realised that they tick just about every technique in the list. The one that I had thought of was the following:

        Third Party Technique:
        *Works on the principal that people are more willing to accept an argument from a seemingly independent source of information than from someone with a stake in the outcome. It is a marketing strategy commonly employed by Public Relations (PR) firms, that involves placing a premeditated message in the “mouth of the media.”

        The third party technique can take many forms, ranging from the hiring of journalists to report the organization in a favorable light, to using scientists within the organization to present their perhaps prejudicial findings to the public. Frequently, astroturf groups or front groups are used to deliver the message.

  8. James Broughton says:

    Lloyd, thank you for another superb article. Really this goes back to the centuries old debate of religion versus science. When our great British universities were founded back in the thirteenth century, theology was considered to be the Queen of Science because there was no real divergence of opinion. True, there were brave souls like Galileo and Copernicus who challenged the teaching of the Church. But it was a narrow, literalist interpretation of the Bible which created dissent, and JWs are not the only ones to be guilty of that. The quest for knowledge and truth is a common value and not the possession of one organisation, especially one which despises education and champions pseudo-science.

  9. Tara says:

    I’m not into all this science jargon etc etc. Cogito ergo sum…..I think, therefore I am. I’m a Penny. The only Big Bang I can get my head around is on TV. I’ll let all you higher thinkers work this one out 🙂

  10. Doc Obvious says:

    Before the JW Broadcast network, we never knew these 2 scientists existed. For every 2 scientists who are against evolution, there are 12 scientists that are for evolution. In addition, these 2 are not well known in the scientific community and no one is actually seeking their comment. Other scientists that are more well known such as Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Einstein, Marie Curie, and others are well known and have contributed a substantial amount to the scientific community are respected more than the 2 scientists in the recent JW Broadcast. Let’s stick to the ones who are known, not the ones that are not known.

  11. Vinitha says:

    Glad to see your article Cedars, just focusing on the these two guys in addition to the rebuttal video.

    The contribution of the guys in the video seemed to be just providing justifications for shifting their personal ideology from atheist/agnostic to theist view based on their professional insight and Bible. What intrigues me is that both the guys did not mention the name Jehovah, it must be either because they are not JWs yet or the JW.ORG wanted to push forward scientific justification for their view on creation so they obtained independent opinions of two well respected people and twisted it for their propaganda agenda. Whatever it may be, it is important that the people from scientific community understand their social responsibility and abstain from vocalizing their personal views to promote cults.

    The zoologist seems to be much more drawn into the cult spell than the professor who is still under programming. However, if these guys did this interview because they were under the influence of cult programming then WE the members of ex-JW community forgive you.

    This interview from the zoologist and professor stands testimony of the effect JW indoctrination could have on well educated open-minded adults trained in critical thinking and it makes one shudder thinking of the adverse effect it would have on the minds of young children. This has to STOP!

    Intellectual curiosity led me to dig more on Bible as a mature adult 30+. There were many times I thought I had enough of the crap but the JW girl kept coming for 4 years, I proceeded to study thinking she was a genuine friend. It was hard to be rude and impolite although I was in the end and she pleaded with me not to throw the towel. After few days I felt bad for hurting a good friend and got back. Once they signed me up for baptism the special pioneer girl and her husband moved to another congregation. After this, it took me a couple of years to obtain the courage to walk out.

    It starts with providing fodder to your intellectual curiosity and then emotional blackmail to bind people to their cult. So the scientific community, please stop substantiating your believes without proofs as authentic due to your education/qualification so that you can help to put an end to the beginning of cult programming.

    An apology letter from the Professor and the zoologist would be greatly appreciated. However if you both think this is a test of your faith or persecution of JWs for the sake of Jehovah as taught by the JWs then all we could do is wish you good luck with the JDubs.

  12. alan says:

    A good thing would be if every one here wrote to the University asking if other scientist there shared the same viewpoint since he used the word “we”. I wonder what their response would be? One person questioning about a thing can be ignored but 100’s questioning is not so easy. This way the individual may be taken to task and told to in effect “shut up” since he is bringing the University into disrepute.

  13. Cherie says:

    I went back to college as an older person after many years away from the witnesses. When my biology professor raised the topic of evolution, I listened with some trepidation, but kept an open mind. Now I realize that to deny evolution is to deny our connection to everything else in the living world. Even when I was a believer, I never thought of evolution and creation as mutually exclusive. Staunch creationist beliefs only serve to feed human superiority.

  14. Will F. says:

    Hello there,
    How about we just skip right to the root of all of this?
    Assuming the causality principle doesn’t apply to space/time (because I know many atheists/scientists find it convenient to dismiss that for their argument) and therefore does not apply to the cause of the Big Bang (which I wholly believe in, for the record….I also do not believe in the preposterous idea that Earth was created in 6,000 years….there are actually many scientific ideas and theories that make perfect sense to me), what then caused the Big Bang? I’ve read that a quantum fluctuation is a possibility. Ok fine. Where did that come from (ad nauseum)? In order to end that loop of infinite questions, there are really only two answers….God, or nothing.
    As someone who believes in a creator, of course I would say God, but as an atheist one’s only other option is nothing, correct?
    That being said, how is believing that everything sprung up from nothing any different than believing in an infinite creator (i.e. also came from nothing, had no creator himself, and therefore has no ’cause’) who exists outside of time and space yet created everything from nothing?
    They’re pretty much the same thing if you think about it. To me, however, one is a lot harder pill to swallow than the other.
    Just my $.02
    Best,
    -Will

    • Winston Smith says:

      I agree with your reasoning Will and likewise choose to believe that the Big Bang was caused by a creator and that the universe has a purpose. The point is that l “choose” to credit the Big Bang to a creator. It can just as easily be argued that there was no intelligent cause for the Big Bang. An agnostic would likely argue that none of us were around for the Big Bang, so to argue one way or another is pointless.

      I’m reminded of a song that came out a few years ago called BU2B (brought up to believe). Here are a couple of lines I like:

      I was brought up to believe
      The universe has a plan
      We are only human
      It’s not ours to understand

      The universe has a plan
      All is for the best
      Some will be rewarded
      And the devil will take the rest

      All is for the best
      Believe in what we’re told
      Blind men in the market
      Buying what we’re sold

      Believe in what we’re told
      Until our final breath
      While our loving Watchmaker
      Loves us all to death

      WS

      • Will F. says:

        Thanks for your comment. On the other side of the coin, it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of a creator through science, because at that point it becomes more philosophy and conjecture than actual science. I have seen many things in science that also uses ‘if’ in its findings.
        Ultimately, it is up to one’s own faith (faith applies to more than just religion) and personal convictions based on research and meditation whether they believe in a creator or choose not to.

    • dee2 says:

      “……… how is believing that everything sprung up from nothing any different than believing in an infinite creator (i.e. also came from nothing, had no creator himself, and therefore has no ’cause’) who exists outside of time and space yet created everything from nothing?”

      Very good question Will F. It all boils down to what one chooses to believe. For some, positing a God explains nothing. This merely adds further complications since the question now is: who created the God who created the God who created God……………….

      One can simply answer this by choosing to believe that the universe had to have a First Cause but that First Cause didn’t have to have a First Cause. It all boils down to what one chooses to believe.

      • dee2 says:

        Either you believe that:
        1. God came from nothing OR
        2. The universe came from nothing

        Pick your choice, it’s all up to you.

      • Will F. says:

        Thank you for your reply.
        I guess my question to your answer would be, how does positing that everything came from nothing explain anything either?
        If one believes that God came from nothing (always existed, according to the scriptures), at least you have a starting point and explains the ‘how and why’. If no one created the creator, then it is still the same thing as starting from nothing….asking me to answer how that happened is the same as me asking you how everything came from nothing. Of course, trying to understand how and why everything came from nothing poses its own challenges as well. Ultimately, as an atheist one would have to put faith in science that it will eventually answer that question satisfactorily. You are, in effect, putting your faith in the abilities of another imperfect human'(s’) understanding of how things work who just might have unknowingly given the wrong answer. Even the scientific community disagrees within itself on how everything came to be and has yet to come up with a definitive solution.

        • dee2 says:

          As Randy commented above: ‘welcome to the “fog” ‘ when trying/attempting to explain anything before the Big Bang.

          Maybe one day we will hear from God what the real story before the Big Bang is, or maybe one day humans will become perfect so that we will no longer be putting our faith in the abilities of another imperfect human'(s’) understanding of how things work who just might have unknowingly given the wrong answer. I wonder though, can humans ever become perfect so that we can be sure that we are getting the right answer about how things work? Pity humans have an imperfection handicap which affects our mental aptitude/intellectual capacity so that we are at risk of not getting the right answer about how things work.

          Getting back to the topic/focus of this article – as I understand it, whether or not one believes in a Creator, biological evolution is plausible, since it has nothing to do with what happened before the Big Bang as some persons believe.

  15. Geoff says:

    Stick to debunking what can be debunked….

    • dee2 says:

      Can the WT’s stance against evolution be debunked?

      • Geoff says:

        It depends on which side of the debate you are on. I guess my idea of helping people wake up to the Watchtower is not to turn them off by debating issues of when and how the Big Bang happened/process of evolution, etc. In my mind all this does is sink to the level of Watchtower.

        I think that if someone wanting to find information or help leaving Watchtower comes across articles like this it will not help them to leave. That was my thought when I wrote OP.

        This is coming from someone that has just recently woke up. Still dealing with fading, family, etc. An article like this, when I was first waking up, would not have helped one bit at all. That’s just my situation, I am not naive to the fact that this might be more of an issue with others however.

        • dee2 says:

          The point was made in an earlier comment that evolution does not equal atheism. Most JWs are of the opinion that evolution and atheism are one and the same which would explain your thinking that if someone wanting to find information or help leaving Watchtower comes across articles like this it will not help them to leave.

  16. Julien says:

    When you are raised in this religion you really are blinded. After I left the jw’s I still found it difficult to accept evolution. I didnt even beleive cavemen where real. ( I did always have the nagging feeling that they definetely had to be wrong about dinosaurs.) It wasnt until a few years later when I visited the Smithsonian institute that i really got it. It was such an eye opener. I fell in love with science, with my human race, with the beauty of just being alive. Arguments aside about wrong or right, anyone raised in this religion that is questioning, my advise is don’t ever stop. Unlearning what one is conditioned to beleive from birth is difficult but totally rewarding.

  17. Peter the Digger says:

    So did the Jehovah’s Witnesses really land on the Moon or was it a big fake by NASA – now I’m really confused…..

    https://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/jehovahs-witness-teen-told-to-pass-on-nasa-space-camp-to-avoid-exposure-to-things-not-in-the-bible/

  18. Amy Watson says:

    Science should be based on observable, reproducible experimentation. Life simply does not come from non-life. It has never been observed. Experiments have never been successfully done. Scientists have not copied the experiments of other scientists to confirm the results. Life from non-life is not science, it is magic. Creation, at least, has an explanation for life. Science, so far, does not. Until science shows evidence for life from non-life, creation is the best, and only, explanation.

    • Winston Smith says:

      @Amy
      Common creationist propaganda: there is no scientific evidence for evolution. The fact of the matter is that there is abundant scientific evidence for evolution. Anyone who wants to move beyond the creationist propaganda should check out this link on 10 myths creationists tell about evolution.
      http://www.skeptic.com/downloads/top-10-evolution-myths.pdf

      If evolution is not scientifically supported, then why do the vast majority of scientists accept it? Oh that’s right, it’s just a huge conspiracy against God. As if.

      WS

    • Randy Galbraith says:

      Hi Amy,

      The fact that all living things come from parental forms is fundamental to understanding the theory of evolution. Thus it is critical to separate these two areas of science. The theory of evolution deals with the origin of species. Origin of life is outside the theory of evolution.

      So, scientifically speaking, how did life originate? Answer: We don’t know.

      How is it that we can have a strong theory about the origin of species but so weak in regards to the origin of life? The answer lies in your first sentence.

      We have many cases where we can observe the origin of species. My four daughters, although still belonging to species of homo sapien, are nonetheless one evolutionary generation more distant than I am. Odd though it may sound, there is no fundamental biological reason why, if they reproduce and this keeps happening, a new species could not be produced. Even odder still is to realize the difference between one generation to the next would be so small that one species would never give birth to a new species in one go — “natura non facit saltus” as Darwin would say (Latin for “Nature does not make jumps”) — the effect is only seen across many generations.

      DNA sequencing allows us to directly compare species, both closely related and distant. We literally can state with confidence that humans and bananas have about 50% of their DNA in common. This is not only strong evidence that both us and bananas once had a common ancestor, but also helps explain why we gain nutritional value from eating bananas.

      Does this mean that we have never “observed” non-living matter become a living self-reproducing organism? And that as, such we must label such as magic and give up on science? Actually we have observed this transition at least once. By studying rock strata we are able to find layers where no life existed at that time or before. Thus since life exists now, but not always in the past, we can be confident this transition did in fact happen.

      Calling upon a super-being to solve the mystery of origin of life, does not resolve the riddle of the super-being himself is a living thing. In fact it complicates the problem, because now instead of asking how a simple life form came into existence, then evolved from there, we’re asking how a super-complex living thing originated. This also runs counter to the general pattern we see in the universe, where, complexity of structures that exist now (stars, planets, galaxies, life) did not exist in the past.

      Although “we don’t know” is a frustrating answer, it does invite us to use the tools of science to try and uncover the likely steps between non-living matter and the first self-replicating organism. We also have to keep in mind that some aspects of science take time and involve guided speculation. We are fairly certain Pluto will orbit the Sun in the future and has in the past, based on our understanding of how planets interact with gravity. But we must still admit that since the orbital period for Pluto is 248 years, no human has observed this aspect of nature.

      Cheers,
      -Randy

  19. Caroline says:

    Rose, answer me this: In Numbers chapter 31, Jehovah told Moses to go to Midian and slaughter every man, woman and child but to keep alive all the little virgin girls (16,000 Vs. 40,41) and of those 16,000 which were divided up between the men that went to war and the congregations, 32 of those little girls went to Jehovah.

    Midian was where Moses went when he left Egypt and he lived there for 40 years and married a Midiante girl and had 2 Midiante children. Moses’ father-in-law Jethro had even given Moses advice while he was in the wilderness which Moses listened to and yet Moses was to turn right around and go into Midian and with a sword, kill every man, woman and male child and keep all the virgin girls for themselves, which means he probably killed his father-in-law Jethro.

    How many of those defenseless people did those men have to hack to death with swords to have 16,000 virgin little girls left over? It had to be hundreds of thousands. Obviously the Midianites were defenseless or they couldn’t have all be killed off like that.

    What did Jehovah need with 32 virgin girls? If it was slaves they needed, it would have made sense to kill the girls instead of the boys. What do you think those men and Jehovah did with those 16,000 little virgin girls?

    Today, a man who would do that to little girls and little boys and their parents would be considered the worst of the worst criminals.

    Why am I supposed to worship that God just because you do? I think I am more moral than you are if that is the God that you worship and you think had every right to do that to those people in the Bible because they weren’t living up to His standards.

    Since when had those people had a proper witness so that they were supposed to turn around and worship him or be hacked to death by the Israelites? If it was because they lived there first, why does that make it okay to kill them? It has never been okay to kill defenseless people to take over their land.

    It isn’t okay to own people either but in the Law that Jehovah gave to Moses, it was okay for them to own people and even kill them and sell their children as slaves because slaves were considered nothing but property. They could even will their slaves to future generations. They could even kill their slaves if they wanted to.

    Tell me how many people did Satan kill in the Bible?

    • Winston Smith says:

      Caroline,
      Large portions of the Bible seemingly contain accurate historical information. Other parts contain legends or myths (or allegories some may say). This account was probably historical as this type of behavior (absorbing your enemies into your tribe by killing off all the men) was common practice is ancient middle eastern cultures. And they always had their priests and shamans endorsing the behavior.

      For one to believe in an all powerful, all loving creator, then the account you mention must be relagated to an act of men and not God. This is why I believe that you cannot accept any holy book as the inerrant word of God. It contains some history, some legends, some ancient rules, some wise sayings, etc. But much of the early parts of the writings reflect a time in our history when humanity was much more violent and cruel. This was commonplace both for the Israelites and their contemporaries.

      WS

      • Caroline says:

        Winston, what you said is exactly how I feel about the Bible too. The first time I said anything about the Bible being history and probably embellished history at that, I horrified my JW family and was hauled before the elders to have them set me straight and what I did was point out some very obvious contradictions and all they had to say was that it was probably mistakes in translating over the years and so the obvious question is then, how would we know what was a mistake and what wasn’t mistakes?

        • Winston Smith says:

          “how would we know what was a mistake and what wasn’t mistakes?”

          Exactly. It seems to give us quite a bit of liberty to believe whatever we want and to reject whatever we don’t want. Or is that why we need some spirit-directed body to interpret things for us? I am confused as to why God waited for about 1,900 after the book was completed to provide this resource. For an omnipotent being, he is apparently limited in his capacity. Or maybe just horribly slow. Whew! Lightning hasn’t struck me yet for suggesting that.

          I’d also like to propose that we could consider imposed prohibitions on life saving medical treatments to be translation issues too, but we really can’t blame that on the bible itself (since no other group who claims biblical alignment has these restrictions).

          George Carlin said that his religious teachers made a questioner out of him and they really didn’t have any answers other than “Well, it’s a mystery.” Seems to me that you were given a similar answer by your loving (tongue in cheek) body of elders.

          WS

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