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This series of videos is devoted specifically to Jehovah’s Witnesses who have or are waking up to the true nature of JW.org. When your life is all planned out for you and your salvation is assured based on membership in and obedience to an organization, it is extremely distressing to be suddenly “out on the street” as it were.
For some, the motivation to leave the organization comes from a love of truth.[i] Sitting in a meeting listening to falsehoods being expounded from the platform grates on the soul to the point that you can no longer stand it and have to get out.
Others are driven out by revelations of gross hypocrisy coming from men whom they have trusted with their very salvation. Disfellowshipping someone, for example, for getting a membership in the YMCA or for voting is unconscionable when it comes from men who have authorized a voluntary 10-year affiliation with the United Nations, the image of the Wild Beast.[ii]
But perhaps for the majority, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ was the worldwide mishandling of child sexual abuse revealed most prominently when the Government of Australia investigated Jehovah’s Witnesses. They seized their records from the branch and saw that over a thousand cases were handled, and yet not one was reported to the authorities, revealing a decades-long policy of silence.[iii]
Whatever the cause, the benefit for many has been the freedom that comes from knowing the truth. Just as Jesus promised, the truth has set us free. So, it seems such a tragedy that having gained freedom, some again succumb to enslavement to men. Scanning the internet leads to the inevitable conclusion that the majority of those leaving the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses turn to agnosticism and atheism. Then there are others who fall prey to the many conspiracy theorists out there spouting all manner of zany ideas.
The question that must be asked is, ‘Have the majority of people lost the power of critical thought?’ We’re not just talking with regard to religion, but rather there seems to be a willingness in all walks of life—politics, economics, science, you name it—to simply surrender one’s thinking ability up to others whom we may consider more knowledgeable or more intelligent or more powerful than ourselves. This is understandable, though not excusable, because we are kept so busy just making ends meet that we feel we lack the time and inclination to properly examine whether what someone is preaching and teaching is fact or fiction.
But can we really afford to do this? The apostle John tells us that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one”. (1 John 5:19) Jesus calls Satan the father of the lie and the original manslayer. (John 8:42-44 NTW Reference Bible) It follows that lies and deception would be the standard modus operandi of today’s world.
Paul told the Galatians: “For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast, and do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 NWT) And again to the Colossians he said, “Look out that no one takes you captive by means of the philosophy and empty deception according to human tradition, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ;” (Col 2:8 NWT)
It appears that for many, having been set free from enslavement to the men governing the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they then fall prey to modern “philosophies and empty deceptions” and again become “captives of a concept”.
Your only protection is your own ability to think critically. You can still trust people, but only after you have verified that they are trustworthy, and even then, your trust must have limits. “Trust but verify” must be our mantra. You may trust me to a degree—and I’ll do what I can to earn that trust—but never give up your power of critical thinking and never again follow men. Follow only the Christ.
If you have become disillusioned by religion, you may, like many, turn to agnosticism, which is essentially saying, ‘Maybe there is a god and maybe there isn’t. No one knows, and I don’t really care either way.’ This is a life without hope and is ultimately not satisfying. Others deny God’s existence altogether. Without any hope, the words of the Apostle Paul make good sense for such ones: “ If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Co 15:32 NIV)
However, both atheists and agnostics are left with a problem: How to explain the existence of life, the universe, and everything. For this, many turn to evolution.
Now, for the sake of some, I should state that there are a minority of believers in evolution that accept what you might call creationist evolution which is the belief that certain processes believed to be evolutionary are the result of creation by a superior intelligence. However, this is not the premise upon which the evolutionary theory is built, not taught in educational institutions, nor supported in scientific journals. That theory concerns itself with explaining the process by which the “established fact” of evolution works itself out. What scientists that support evolution teach is that life, the universe, and everything, came about by chance, not by some overriding intelligence.
It is that fundamental difference that will be the subject of this discussion.
I will be upfront with you. I don’t believe in evolution at all. I do believe in God. However, my beliefs do not matter. I could be wrong. It is only by examining the evidence and evaluating my conclusions that you will be able to determine if you agree with me, or instead, side with those believing in evolution.
The first thing you need to evaluate when listening to anyone is what motivates them. Are they motivated by a desire to know truth, to follow the evidence wherever it may lead even if the destination may not be desirable at first?
It is not always easy to understand the motivation of another, but if it is other than a love of truth, one must exercise great caution.
Traditionally, there are two sides to the argument concerning the origin of all things: Evolution vs. Creationism.
A Revealing Debate
On April 4, 2009 at Biola University, a debate was held between Professor William Lane Craig (a Christian) and Christopher Hitchens (an atheist) on the question: “Does God Exist?”
One would expect an argument like this to be based on science. Getting into questions of religious interpretation would only muddy the waters and offer no solid basis of proof. Yet, that is exactly where both men went with their arguments, and quite willingly I might add.
The reason, I believe, for this was revealed by the atheist, Mr. Hitchens, in a splendid little gem of unsolicited honesty at the 1:24 minute mark.
And there it is! There is the key to the whole question, and the reason that religionists and evolutionists attack this issue with such fervour and zeal. To a religious leader, the existence of God means he has the right to tell other people what to do with their lives. To the evolutionist, the existence of God empowers religion to have a significant role in how our society is controlled.
Both are wrong. The existence of God does not empower men to rule over other men.
What is my motivation in telling you all this? I make no money from it, and I seek no followers. In fact, I reject the whole idea and would consider that were men to follow me, I would be a failure. I seek only followers of Jesus—and for myself, his favor.
Believe that if you will, or doubt it. Whatever the case, look at the evidence presented.
The word, “science”, comes from Latin scientia, from scire “to know”. Science is the pursuit of knowledge and we should all be scientists, i.e., knowledge seekers. The sure way to block the discovery of scientific fact is to enter the search with the idea that you already have a fundamental truth which only needs proving. A hypothesis is one thing. All that means is that we are starting with a reasonable assumption and then going on a search for evidence to either support or dismiss it—giving equal weight to either possibility.
However, neither creationists nor evolutionists approach their field of investigation hypothetically. Creationists already “know” that the earth was created in six literal 24-hour days. They are just looking for evidence to prove that “fact”. Likewise, evolutionists “know” that evolution is a fact. When they speak of the theory of evolution, they are referring to the process by which it comes about.
Our concern here is not to change the minds of those within either the creationist nor the evolutionist communities. Our concern is to protect those awakening from decades of thought-controlling doctrine who may be prone to falling for the same trick again, but under a new guise. Let us not trust what strangers tell us, but instead, let us “make sure of all things.” Let us engage our power of critical thought. Thus, we will enter this discussion with an open mind; no preconceived knowledge nor bias; and let the evidence take us where it will.
Does God Exist?
The question of the existence or non-existence of God is pivotal to the teaching of evolution. Therefore, rather than get caught up in endless disputes about the process of evolution vs. the process of creation, let’s go back to square one. Everything depends on the first cause. There is no creation, if God doesn’t exist, and there is no evolution if he does. (Again, some will argue that God could use evolutionary processes in creation, but I would counter that we’re just talking about good programming, not random chance. It’s still design by an intelligence and this what is at issue here.)
This is not going to be a Bible discussion. The Bible is irrelevant at this stage, since the entirety of its message depends on what we have yet to prove exists. The Bible cannot be the Word of God if there is no God, and trying to use it to prove God exists is the very definition of circular logic. Likewise, all religion, Christian and otherwise, has no place in this analysis. No God…no religion.
It should be noted, however, that proving God’s existence doesn’t automatically validate that any particular book men consider as sacred is of divine origin. Nor does the mere existence of God legitimize any religion. We would be getting ahead of ourselves if we try to factor such questions into our analysis of the existing evidence.
Since we are dismissing all religion and religious writings from the discussion, let us also refrain from using the title “God”. Its association with religion, however unwarranted and unwelcome in my opinion, may create an unwanted bias that we can well do without.
We are trying to establish whether life, the universe, and everything came about by design or by chance. That’s it. The ‘how’ does not concern us here, but only the ‘what’.
On a personal note, I should state that I don’t like the term “intelligent design” because I consider it to be a tautology. All design requires intelligence, so there is no need to qualify the term with an adjective. By the same token, using the term “design” in evolutionary texts is misleading. Random chance cannot design anything. If I roll a 7 at the Craps table and then cry out, “The dice came up 7 by design”, I’m likely to be escorted out of the casino.)
Do the Math
How are we going to prove whether the universe came about by design or by chance? Let us use the science that is employed to define all aspects of the universe – mathematics. Probability theory is a branch of mathematics that deals with quantities having random distributions. Let’s look at it to examine a vital element for life, the protein.
We’ve all heard of proteins, but the average person—and I’m including myself in that number—doesn’t really know what they are. Proteins are made up of amino acids. And no, I don’t really know what an amino acid is either, only that they are complex molecules. Yes, I do know what a molecule is, but if you’re not sure, let’s simplify the whole thing by saying an amino acid is like a letter of the alphabet. If you combine letters the right way, you get meaningful words; the wrong way and you get gibberish.
There are many proteins. There’s one in particular called Cytochrome C. It is critical in cells for energy metabolism. It is a relatively small protein made up of only 104 amino acids—a 104 letter word. With 20 amino acids to choose from, we could say that we have an alphabet of 20 letters, 6 fewer than the English alphabet. What are the chances that this protein could come about by random chance? The answer is 1 in 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
That’s a 2 with 135 zeroes after it. To put that into perspective, the number of atoms in the entire observable universe has been calculated to be 1080 or a 10 with 80 zeroes after it, falling short by 55 zeroes.
Now bear in mind that Cytochrome C is a small protein. There is a large protein called titin which is a component of muscle and it comes in at between 25,000 to 30,000 amino acids. Imagine a word made up of 30,000 letters occurring by chance.
Understanding the odds presented here is beyond the comprehension of most of us, so let’s reduce it down to something simpler. What if I were to tell you that I held two tickets to yesterday’s lottery and I wanted to give you one of them, but you had to choose. One was a winner and the other a losing ticket. I then said that the one in my right hand was 99% likely to be the winner, while the one in my left hand was only 1% likely to be the winner. Which ticket would you choose?
This is how scientific discovery works. When we can’t know for sure, we have to go with the probability. A probably that something is 99% true is very compelling. A probability of 99.9999999% is overwhelming compelling. So why would a scientist go with the least probable option? What would motivate him to take such a course of action?
For the evolutionist to insist against such beyond astronomical odds that the universe came about by chance should make us question his motivation. A scientist should never try to make the evidence fit a conclusion, but rather, he should follow the evidence to its most likely conclusion.
Now, evolutionists might suggest that the precise order of amino acids in a protein is very, very flexible and that there are many different viable combinations. It’s like saying that there’s a much better chance of winning a lottery if, instead of one winning number, there are hundreds of thousands of winning numbers. That was the hope when molecular biology was in its infancy—following the discovery of DNA. However, today we’ve come to see that is not the case. The sequences are very fixed and invariable, and there is a marked absence of the type of transitional proteins what would be expected were species evolving from one to another.
Nevertheless, died-in-the-wool evolutionists will insist that as unlikely as these chance combinations are, there is a possibility that given enough time, they are inevitable. You may have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than of winning the lottery, but hey, somebody does end up winning the lottery, and some get struck by lightening.
Okay, let’s go with that. For most of us, it’s hard to grasp all this microbiological stuff, so here’s something simpler:
This is a diagram of a bacterial flagellum. It looks like a motor with a propeller attached and that is exactly what it is: a biological motor. It has a stator, a rotor, bushings, a hook and a propeller. Cells use it to move around. Now we recognize that there are different ways that a cell can propel itself. Sperm cells come to mind. However, any engineer will tell you that the alternatives for a viable propulsion system are quite finite. Instead of a brass propeller on my outboard motor, try using rotating flowerpots and see how far you get.
What are the possibilities that this little beastie arose by chance? I can’t do the math, but those who can say 1 in 2234. The number of times you’d have to try would be a 2 followed by 234 zeros.
Is it conceivable, let alone inevitable, that given enough time, such a device could occur by chance?
Let’s see. There is something called the Planck constant which is a measure of the fastest time in which matter can transition from one state to another. It is 10-45 of a second. We’ve already discussed that the total number of atoms in the observable universe is a 1080 and if we go with the most liberal estimates for the age of the universe expressed in seconds, we get 1025.
So, let’s say that every atom in the universe (1080) is devoted to the sole task of evolving the bacterial flagellum, and that every atom is working at this task at the fastest possible speed allowed by physics (10-45 seconds) and that these atoms have been working at this since the literal beginning of time (1025 seconds). Just how many chances have they had to accomplish this one task?
1080 X 1045 X 1025 gives us 10150.
If we missed it by only one zero, we’d need 10 universes to make it. If we missed by 3 zeros, we’d need a thousand universes to make it, but we are short by over 80 zeroes. There isn’t even a word in the English language to express a number of that magnitude.
If evolution can’t be shown to produce a relatively simple structure by chance, what about DNA which is billions of elements in length?
A Mind Recognizes Intelligence
So far, we’ve discussed math and probabilities, but there’s another element that we should consider.
In the movie, Contact, based on the book by the same name by renowned evolutionist, Carl Sagan, the lead character, Dr. Ellie Arroway, played by Jodie Foster, detects a series of radio pulses from the star system Vega. These pulses come in a pattern that counts out prime numbers – numbers divisible only by one and themselves, such as 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, and so on. The scientists all recognize this as an indication of intelligent life, communicating using the universal language of math.
It takes an intelligence to recognize an intelligence. If you land on Mars with your cat and you find scrawled on the ground in front of you the words, “Welcome to Mars. I hope you brought beer.” Your cat will have no idea that you’ve just found evidence of intelligent life, but you will.
I have been programming computers since before there was an IBM PC. There are two things I can state with certainty. 1) A computer program is the result of intelligence not random chance. 2) Program code is useless without a computer on which to run it.
DNA is program code. Like a computer program, it is useless by itself. Only within the confines of a cell can the programming code of DNA do its work. Comparing even the most complex of human computer programs to DNA is like comparing a candle to the sun. Nevertheless, the analogy serves to emphasize that what we see in DNA—what our intelligence recognizes—is design. We recognize another intelligence.
DNA will take a cell and cause it to reproduce itself and then through a mechanism we are barely starting to understand, tell some cells to turn themselves into bone, others to muscle, or a heart, or liver, or an eye, an ear, or a brain; and it will tell them when to stop. This microscopic strand of code contains not only the programming to assemble the matter making up the human body, but also instructions that give us the capacity to love, laugh, and rejoice—not to mention the human conscience. All programmed in there. There truly are no words to express how marvelous it is.
If you wish to conclude after all this that there is no designer, no universal intelligence, then go right ahead. That is what free will is all about. Of course, having the right to free will doesn’t grant any of us freedom from the consequences.
The scope of this video’s audience, as I stated at the start, is pretty restrictive. We are dealing with people who have always believed in God, but may have lost their faith in the divine due to the hypocrisy of men. If we have helped some to regain that, so much the better.
There still may be lingering doubts. Where is God? Why doesn’t he help us? Why do we still die? Is there any hope for the future? Does God love us? If so, why does he permit injustice and suffering? Why did he order genocide in the past?
Valid questions, all. I’d like to take a stab at them all, given time. But at least we have a starting point. Somebody made us. Now we can start searching for him.
Most of the ideas in this video were learned by reading an excellent treatise on the subject found in the book, Catastrophes, Chaos & Convolutions by James P. Hogan, “Intelligence Test”, p. 381. If you wish to go deeper into this subject, I recommend the following:
Evolution Under the Microscope by David Swift
No Free Lunch by William Dembski
Not By Chance! By Lee Spetner
[i] The failed overlapping generation doctrine, the baseless 1914 teaching, or the false teaching that the other sheep of John 10:16 represent a distinct class of Christian who are not the children of God.
[ii] While praising the brothers and sisters in Malawi for enduring unspeakable persecution rather than compromise their integrity by purchasing a membership card in the reigning political party, the Governing Body authorized a 10-year affiliation in support of the Wild Beast of Revelation, the United Nations Organization.
[iii] Australia Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Meliti, thanks for tackling the subject. DNA must be one of the greatest lines of evidence of a Creator. As for all the numbers, Who on earth ever decided those probability figures. There are lies, damned lies, and Statistics. People can use statistics to prove anything they want. However to use those numbers to show the chance to some sort of life starting still does not explain how it can produce the wonderful variety of life which exists, nor does it explain how so much of it appears to arrive at the same period of time. Is there not a… Read more »
Meliti, This is a much-needed article/video. I have seen too many ex JWs go down the route of becoming atheists or agnostics. They accept evolution as correct because they have heard “authority figures” say so. The challenge for many is that in the previous JW world they had not developed their critical thinking faculties to any level of maturity. This issue is still there when they accept that evolution is correct because there has been no critical evaluation of the information. I thought this was a very good start in addressing this problem. A further piece of work that is… Read more »
Flipping a coin will never establish if God exists or not, neither will an astronomical amount of zeros. Just look at our Earth and what it contains, if you don’t see God’s evolving creation, then perhaps you should make an appointment with the eye Doctor. Evolution is Satan’s little creation, backed up by a bunch of “people” that believe that he is “brighter” than God. It’s the same old story, Satan thought he was better than God and the ones that believe him think they are better than God. leave them be to decide what is true, The Lord Jesus… Read more »
[I appreciate that my views here will be mostly rejected. Yet for the benefit of the people who have done their due-diligence on both sides of the argument I’d like to share my thoughts. It may help some people who would otherwise experience a new form of cognitive dissonance, which most of already know is an unpleasant way to live.] Meleti, I believe that you are right about some things and seriously wrong about others. This paragraph from your article captures the main problem in your lines of argument: —- There is no creation, if God doesn’t exist, and there… Read more »
Thank you for sharing this point of view. I respect that.
Dear appolosOfAlexandria, I followed your line of reasoning for the rebuttal of Eric’s presentation but my reasons for objection are as follows. Firstly you say that Eric’s arguments in his presentation is in a framework of a false dichotomy with the following, along with your counter argument after which you offer info as support for your counter augment. You object to Eric’s statement as follows; There is no creation, if God doesn’t exist, and there is no evolution if he does. (Again, some will argue that God could use evolutionary processes in creation, but I would counter that we’re just… Read more »
Alithia You misunderstand me on many levels, and that is to be expected. I’ve preached your message from the pulpit. I’ve studied it extensively. At the heart of this lies the assertion that someone who accepts the evidence for “natural selection” believes in “random unguided chance” as you put it. I believe in the evidence for natural selection, but I don’t believe that everything is here by means of “random unguided chance”. Unless we can agree that there is no logical fallacy on this specific point then we have nothing to base a discussion on. I do fully understand how… Read more »
Hi Apollos, thank you for sharing this view. You have explained in a very nice manner. I also believe that our creator provided the building blocks so that we can develop but also influence. Play with the variables and create different outcomes. Some nice some less but we can learn. It is like “mixing” two dog species to ‘”create” a third species / type of dog. Playing with variables in a program to generate another outcome. It allows for humans to learn, use their skills, their free will. It makes life therefore very interesting as the outcome is not always… Read more »
To Brother Appolos and the points you made after mine. I think we are on a different page as you say. My point is that your arguments around natural selection and random mutations do not explain how life came about in the first instance. Natural selection is an idea based on already preexisting life that can already reproduce itself. The question dealt here is whether first life could have begun by chance or given the facts the probability is zero with a lot of zeros to hefty power after it!. So if there is a creator then there is no… Read more »
It’s important to understand where we agree and where we disagree. The latter may not even be the case because I haven’t argued against the probability that life came into existence by means of a creator. The evidence in that regard is indeed most compelling and I’ve never said anything to the contrary. It’s unfortunate that it’s even necessary, but I hereby reiterate my belief that life came into existence by means of God, and all the variety of life that we see is by means of God and the perfect processes he put in place. I called out the… Read more »
Nice article Eric. I referred it to a regular poster on JWSurvey who goes by the psydonym outandabout.
Always an interesting topic and a topic one will probably never solve to the satisfaction of all. My concern is far more related to the consequence of believing in a creator. Does this mean one MUST believe in the scriptures (all of them)? If one does not believe in a creator, then all rules come from men and that is it. You can agree, disagree, discuss and change those rules. But when on does believe in a creator, it seems such a person also must believe in a written document (Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Islam etc). And in general these documents… Read more »
I guess the first thing is to establish which document is from God and which is from men. I know that men following “sacred writings” have brought much pain, but is it because the writings have directed them to, or because they have chosen to ignore those writings?
Questions worth analyzing.
Nicely (video) played, Meleti.
In case you aren’t already familiar with his research, I’d also recommend the work of nanotechnologist Dr Jim Tour. His analyses of the putative mechanisms for abiogenesis are a veritable tour de force (pun intended).
When you have a spare hour, sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy watching chemical evolution dissolve into some primordial soup here.
Thanks Vox Ratio, I’ll be sure to check it out.
About the probability of proteins forming through chance: All the calculations are based on the premise that there were amino acids hanging around in a “prebiotic soup”, waiting to be assembled. However, there is no evidence that this was ever the case. The famed Miller Urey experiment used a hypothetical early atmosphere that is no longer considered to be realistic, and even then they had to use a trap door to preserve their results from dissolving. The likely composition of the early atmosphere is now thought to have been higher in oxygen, which would make it even more hostile to… Read more »
If I’m understanding you correctly, you are saying that the math that Eric quoted is flawed from the get-go because the premise that it is based on is flawed, thereby rendering it useless?
Sorry to take so long to respond, Warp, but I didn’t see this till now.
Yes, that’s essentially what I’m saying. The prebiotic soup is just another sub-myth in the greater materialist OOL mythology. Nevertheless, one simple way to demonstrate the impossibility of abiogenesis is to demonstrate the probability calculations involved in the chance formation of proteins, since the variables are easy to manage. That’s undoubtedly why it’s used here. But I just wanted to point out that, in this approach, there’s an unspoken granting of the prebiotic soup premise for the sake of argument.
Eric, Thank you for this article and the ones to follow. I personally need to have my faith restored, not that I ever believed or will ever believe in evolution as I have searched for God since I was 11 and for 45 years of my life thought I had found the “truth”! My awakening over the last 9 years has left me feeling completely lost and alienated from the creator and to some extent angry with Jehovah. I know I still have a hunger for truth and want to reconnect with my creator by the mere fact that I… Read more »
I’ll make it a priority to get those articles out, GoGetter.
I’ll add my thanks to gogetter’s. As I said in my email to you recently, I’m one of those who have struggled with questions about God after leaving JW .org. Your video has helped me greatly. I always clung to belief in a first cause, but was puzzled by the evidence of change in species over time and in isolation. Your statement that to you, this speaks of programming not chance, made a lot of sense. Thanks! As for the math… I don’t understand it but I do understand the improbability and the implications, which has restored my faith. I’m… Read more »
Hi Eric, wow! A very well formulated piece of excellent reasoning – a lot of thinking and work in what you present. Appreciate the references to further pursue this subject as well. And very well done, as usual.
I agree totally in what you say about those who leave the Organisation Eric and it does sadden me greatly too. Unfortunately many allow themselves to come into another slavery of ideas that are equally based on erroneous foundations. Thinking that this will bring them the freedom and happiness they are seeking in life. I also have observed from scanning the internet and contacting personally some of these ones that they are equally unable to conclusively defend their new found belief system based on the available evidence as they could not when they were JWs. After a while sensing the… Read more »
Thank you, Alithia. I just found this quote, in line with what you expressed, that I had to share: