Real Life Experiences
Jehovah’s Witnesses Misleading LiteratureSubmitted by Andrew on June 15, 2012 - 2:01 pm 4 Comments
I once pointed out to John Taliadoros, the head honcho of the Nicosia English congregation, that the Watchtower often ‘quote-mined’, or took quotes out of context. I also said how scientists are often attacked and written about in a negative light. He asked me to provide some examples, which I gladly did. It wasn’t hard – I just opened the ‘Life – How did it get here?’, facade of a book and found a couple in the first chapter. His reply, word for word, was:
“I do not agree with you that an organization that has done so much to benefit people by enlightening them so they can have hope in a better future (not to mention assisting in disasters, offering free literacy classes etc) would consciously try to get involved in what you described as “quote-mining”. For what purpose? To gain what?”
I’ll be publishing all the emails I had with John on JWB in the near future so you can all see how an elder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses had no real answers to my questions. There are some real classics in there.
For what purpose? To gain what? I’d say to distort the truth and keep people ignorant, to make people believe that the Watchtower’s position is valid.
The other day, I popped on to Watchtower.org and came across an article that was originally published in The Watchtower June 1, 2002. It was called, “Who Is to Blame – You or Your Genes?” It starts off like this, which immediately set alarm bells ringing:
SCIENTISTS are hard at work to try to find genetic causes for alcoholism, homosexuality, promiscuity, violence, other aberrant behavior, and even for death itself. Would it not be a relief to find that we are not responsible for our actions but are merely victims of biology? It is human nature to blame someone or something else for our errors.
Did you see that? They snuck “homosexuality” in there along with other “aberrant behavior”. Disgusting pigs at Watchtower HQ!
Anyway, let’s move on to the taking people’s quotes out of context. The article goes on to skew the idea that scientists are wasting their time looking at genes, and that we are responsible for all our actions. It says:
For a long time, scientists have been tackling the monumental task of finding genetic causes and cures for human pathology and behavior. After ten years of work by six teams of researchers, the gene linked to Huntington’s disease was isolated, although the researchers have no idea how the gene causes the disease. However, reporting on this research, Scientific American quoted Harvard biologist Evan Balaban, who said that it would be “almost infinitely harder to discover genes for behavioral disorders.”
Clearly, the article is implying that it took ten years and lots of scientists before they found a gene linked to Huntington’s disease. Then they quote Balaban who talks about behavioural disorder. First off, homosexuality is not a ‘disorder’. Second, the Watchtower is leaving off important information from the context of what and why Balaban said what he said.
As a science geek, I just so happen to read Scientific American, and quickly found the June 1993 issue online that they referred to. Interesting, because the entire paragraph, which appears on page 127, says:
As difficult as it was to pinpoint the gene for Huntington’s, it will be almost infinitely harder to discover genes for behavioral disorders, says Evan S. Balaban, a biologist at Harvard University. Unlike Huntington’s disease, he notes, disorders such as schizophrenia and alcoholism cannot be unambiguously diagnosed. Furthermore, they stem not from a single dominant gene but from many genes acting in concert with environmental effects. If researchers do find a statistical association between certain genes and a trait, Balaban says, that knowledge may never be translated into useful therapies or tests. “What does it mean to have a 10 percent increased risk of alcoholism?” he asks.
You see, the reason why Balaban said that it would be hard (but not impossible) to find genes for behavioural disorders is because the diagnoses of disorders are ambiguous, and that behaviour stems from MANY genes working in tandem and together with environmental effects.
I really hate how the Watchtower constantly, throughout it’s publications, make scientists out to be bad people with bad motives. Are scientists really researching behavioural links to genetics because they are trying to get an excuse to be gay, or violent? No, of course not!
The Watchtower always seems to do this – they find some evidence that they feel disproves something, (in this case that genes are responsible for our behaviour) and then present their alternative. Their alternative, however, has no supporting evidence. They say, “You’re wrong, so we’re right by default!” That isn’t honest and doesn’t prove your argument. I could say that, “because scientists can not link certain behavioural disorders to genes, it must mean that aliens control our minds.” You can see how absurd that is, I hope.
People who read the Watchtower really need to learn what good reasons are to believe something. The rational default position for any claim is not to accept it until evidence is provided to support that claim. In their “Who is to Blame” article, they throw in just enough of a quote to get people doubting scientists and then present their position with no evidence at all. I don’t claim to know enough about genetics and behavioural links to have a position either way – and neither should the uneducated dinosaurs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body. The right answer would be to say, “we don’t know”, rather than posit our own speculations as if they were fact.