Scorecard: Watchtower vs. “the world”

“By their fruits you will know them.”

Overview: This scorecard compares the Watchtower against science/”the world” in two dozen categories. I was curious to see who would fare better, and by how much. Would it be close? Or would one viewpoint greatly outshine the other?

Scoring: I’ve tried to be objective here, but please understand that some subjectivity is unavoidable in such ratings. I have limited scores to:

  • +1 when the belief/action corresponds to facts/morality
  • -1 when the belief/action is false/immoral
  •  0 when the topic is either not applicable or, in the case of science/”the world” science deserves a +1 while “the world” deserves a -1: thus canceling each other out.

When a wrong belief is no longer held, the side which clung to the erroneous belief the longest will score -1.

The Scorecard

Topic Watchtower Science/”The World”
1. Astrology +1 0
2. Blood Transfusions -1 +1
3. Charitable Actions -1 +1
4. Cosmology -1 +1
5. Disfellowshipping -1 0
6. Earth-Wide Flood -1 +1
7. Environmental Action -1 0
8. False Prophecies -1 0
9. Freedom of thought -1 +1
10. Germ Theory -1 +1
11. Historical Accuracy -1 +1
12. No-fault Divorce -1 +1
13. Organ Transplants -1 +1
14. Origins of Holidays +1 -1
15. Participation in decision-making processes -1 0
16. Patriotism +1 -1
17. Phrenology -1 +1
18. Proper View of Bible -1 0
19. Protection of Children -1 +1
20. Scientific Method -1 +1
21. Theory of Evolution -1 +1
22. Vaccination -1 +1
23. Vibration theory of disease -1 +1
24. War +1 -1

TOTAL -16 +12

Conclusion: We see that science/”the world” wins by 28 points over the Watchtower. Even if you disagree with some of the scores, from this landslide victory it should not be difficult to decide on which side you should look for truth, and on which side you should honestly align yourself.

Detailed explanations of the scores follow, in the Footnotes below.


Footnotes

1. Astrology: The WT gets a point, here, for recognizing that astrology is pseudo-science. Science also recognizes this fact, having frequently debunked astrology. However, since astrology seems ubiquitous within “the world,” it cancels out the positive influence of science, and we arrive at a zero score for the combination of science/”the world”. return

2. Blood Transfusions: The WT continues to regard the life-saving procedure of transfusing blood as sinful, while those in “the world” continue to save lives by making use of it. Please see: The Watchtower: A bloody Mother Thou Art! return

3. Charitable Actions: The WT has stated that starving people are more in need of Watchtower publications than they are of bread. When disaster strikes, they pretty much just help other Jehovah’s Witnesses. The “world” meanwhile engages in massive charitable efforts to feed the hungry and bring relief to victims of poverty and disasters (regardless of their religious beliefs). return

4. Cosmology: The WT believes in a “young Earth” and that the universe was created 7 “days” ago by a conscious act (with each “day” being somewhere around 7,000 years in length.) This does not accord with the facts such as light having traveled millions of light years from distant stars before reaching Earth, and rocks and fossils whose origins have been dated to at least half a billion years ago. It also does not account for the expanding universe that anyone can detect with a simple experiment. Science clearly wins on this one. return

5. Disfellowshipping: The WT mandates disfellowshipping for any believer who either breaks their rules or comes to disagree with something the WT holds true. Disfellowshipped individuals are actively shunned by Witnesses. The concept is not applicable to “the world”; being “in the world” does not require membership or certain beliefs. However, some small-minded people in the world do practice shunning: score zero. return

6. Earth-wide Flood: The WT believes the Bible’s account of an Earth-wide flood covering the highest mountain peaks some 4,500 years ago after 40 days of rain. Science has proven that this did not occur, and could not possibly have occurred.  return

7. Environmental Action: The WT does not advocate or engage in actions to protect the environment. Instead, they rely on God’s kingdom to restore the Earth to paradise conditions following the battle of Armageddon. In contrast, science has pointed out the urgent need to protect Earth’s environment. However, much of “the world” ignores the solid science behind this, and continues to harm our home: resulting in a zero score. return

8. False Prophecies: The WT claims to be a “prophet of God” and has made several predictions (which thereby qualify as “prophecies”). Some of these involved dates which have since come and gone without fulfillment. For example, they prophesied the resurrection of Abraham and David in the year 1925. The World is not in the prophecy business. Though there are deluded and fraudulent “psychics” in the world who sometimes foolishly make predictions, such people are a minority who do not represent the world: score zero. return

9. Freedom of thought: Witnesses are required to believe and follow whatever the Watchtower publishes. They are discouraged from “independent thinking.” In contrast, “the world” incentifies creative outside-of-the-box thinking. return

10. Germ Theory: The WT has published the statement: “It has never been proven that a single disease is due to germs.” (The Golden Age, Jan. 16, 1924, p. 250) Meanwhile, science has proven the cause-and-effect relationship between germs and disease, and the world has acted on the science of germ theory to bring better health to all (including the eradication of smallpox.)  return

11. Historical Accuracy:   The WT clings to its date of 607 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem. They do this in order to arrive at their date of 1914 for the “end of the Gentile Times” and the start of the generation that would witness the “last days” and their culmination in Armageddon. However, the date for the destruction of Jerusalem is one of the firmest dates in all history: it happened in the year 587 BCE based on a plethora of evidence.

The WT belief in the significance or the year 1914 drives their belief in the year 607 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem. But the 1914 generation is dead, and the “Gentile Times” (whatever we can reasonably take that to mean) still seem to be ongoing. Furthermore, the WT has stated: “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914” (Watchtower 9/1/22, page 262). Since the date 1925 proved false, and by their own admission the 1914 date rests on even flimsier Scriptural support, there remains no reason to believe in any Scriptural significance for the year 1914.

Without 1914 to drive it, there remains no excuse for belief in the 607 BCE date. Yet the WT persists in espousing this completely baseless belief. return

12. No-fault Divorce: The WT, in an attempt to make sense out of the Bible’s contradictory statements regarding divorce, holds that divorce is only acceptable when one party in the marriage has committed adultery. This forces people who have been badly matched to stay together and make life miserable for each other. In the secular world, however, divorce is not considered a “sin” no matter what the reason (including “incompatibility”). return

13. Organ Transplants: From 1967 to 1980 the WT held that organ transplants were “cannibalism” and hence against God’s law. Science gave us organ transplants, and while Witnesses who needed transplants were dying, patients in “the world” took advantage of the life-saving procedure and lived. return

14. Origins of Holidays: The WT has correctly pointed out the pagan origins of many holidays, and has questioned why we celebrate certain others. Although this information is available in the world, the world largely ignores the origins and “true meanings” of holidays and celebrates them blindly: often simply following the dictates of those who merchandise the events. In some ways these holidays can be destructive: cutting down massive quantities of trees, slaughtering millions of birds, using valuable resources to overproduce unneeded items, etc.  return

15. Participation in decision-making processes: The WT is an aristocracy in which the minions have no say. The Witnesses “must adhere absolutely to the decisions and scriptural understandings of the Society”  (Watchtower 5/1/1972 p.272). In contrast, the world at least appears to sometimes consider the input of the rank and file by means of representative government. However, since this seems to be largely for show (as evinced by the U.S. presidential elections in which the carefully gathered “popular vote” is irrelevant since the election is decided by an aristocracy known as the “electoral college”), the world scores a zero.  return

16. Patriotism: Next to religion, patriotism has led to more atrocities being committed than any other ideology. It is a travesty that the world by and large promotes patriotism and lets where we live divide us,  and perpetuates the illusion that murder is acceptable (as long as it is the murder of someone in a country that our country has declared war on.) For eschewing patriotism (even for the wrong reasons) the WT earns a point, and the world’s stance costs them a very bloody point.  return

17. Phrenology: This is the belief that the shape of one’s head indicates one’s intelligence and personality. The WT used to publish an annual phrenology reading of their president’s head to back up their belief in his being chosen by God. Phrenology had been mostly discredited as a scientific theory decades before.  return

18. Proper View of Bible: The WT views the Bible as the inerrant “word of God”. Most of the world knows that it is filled with impossible legends, tall tales, and contradictions. return

19. Protection of Children: The WT has a policy of refusing to report child molestation unless there are two witnesses to the crime. They also encourage parents to inflict physical pain on their children in order to get them to conform. The world has set up agencies and counselors to deal with child abuse.   return

20. Scientific Method: The WT uses the Bible and its interpretation thereof as the source of all truth. They do not follow or advocate the scientific method of determining truth based on evidence. return

21. Theory of Evolution: The WT denies the theory of evolution: the key to understanding the reality of our world and ourselves. return

 

22. Vaccination: From 1921 to 1952 the WT held that vaccinations were against God’s law. They taught that vaccines were merely “filthy pus” which “never prevented anything and never will”. Meanwhile, “the world” made use of the science behind vaccinations to rid the world of its deadliest killer: smallpox. return

23. Vibration theory of disease: The WT bought into the crackpot theory of “electronic reactions of Abrams” (E.R.A.) They advertised and extolled quack medical devices based on the theory. Science had debunked the theory years before. return

 

24. War: We have to give the WT a full point for taking a stand against war and refusing to participate (even if it is for the wrong reasons). The world has used science to build ever more powerful weapons, and so is deducted another very bloody point. return


2 thoughts on “Scorecard: Watchtower vs. “the world””

  1. A few questions and unbiased observations:

    4) What is the simple experiment one can do to see the expanding universe?

    9) Freedom of thought. Many communist nations, those under dictators, and those ruled by fundamentalists also do not allow freedom of thought. Ever hear of re-education centers? Nations where women are not allowed an education? I’d give the world a 0; only a few nations allow freedom of thought, and then, if you’re a member of a certain political party, you’re highly pressured to think the way the party thinks.

    11) Historical accuracy: Even you wrote a book correcting the historical accuracy of the way the US Government mistreated the North American tribes. How many times has history been rewritten to promote whatever government was in power according to it’s narrow view? Why do we celebrate Columbus, for example. Have China’s/North Korea’s/African rulers all been so benevolent? I’d give the world a 0.

    18) Proper view of the Bible and 21) Theory of Evolution are both too subjective to say one theory is right. There are so many different worldly beliefs in the Bible, and saying one must believe in the “theory” of evolution to be true denies its status as a theory. No one knows for sure and neither have been proven beyond all doubt.

    19) Protection of Children. The world has used and abused children in sweatshops, as child soldiers, and slaves. Other churches, particularly the Catholic church has a huge problem with priests molesting children. Does the government of any nation put the welfare of homeless children first? No, their first order of the day is to give themselves a big raise. Then they want to build stadiums to attract tourists to get more money. Once they get all the money, do they use it to help the children? No, they want to build more tourist attractions, or give their supporters benefits, or themselves another big raise. I’d give the world a 0.

    1. Diane, thanks for your input! I knew not everyone would agree with all of my scores. Here are my answers/thoughts on your post:

      4) For the expanding universe experiment: you’ll need a telescope and a prism to observe the Doppler red-shift for yourself. Here is an interactive explanation of the experiment and the results you would see (just as everyone else who has ever done the experiment has seen): http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/doppler-effect.html

      9) Freedom of Thought. Fair enough. But at least there are pockets of free thought in the world, whereas there is none under the WT religion’s policy.

      11) Historical Accuracy. What you cite are interpretations of history such as: Was Columbus a “role model” or an cruel slave-trader? Not a denial of the fact that he sailed to North America in 1492. The WT is denying historical facts, few in the world do this (outside of fringe elements such as Holocaust deniers).

      18) Proper view of the Bible. I still maintain that it’s fair to characterize the “world” (as distinct from what the WT would call “Christendom”) as viewing the Bible in its proper context as just another attempt by primitive men to interpret their world in terms of the supernatural. The only ones who really believe in all the stories are fundamentalists, and I don’t classify them as part of “the world”.

      21) Theory of evolution. Science courts doubt, holding to the most reasonable explanation until such time as the explanation proves false or a better explanation of the facts passes experimental validation. This is what makes it more in harmony with reality than religions which adhere to dated documents as “truth”. If something is “beyond all doubt” then it is not science: it is religion, superstition, or delusion.
      For over a century the theory of evolution has passed all tests in every field. It is one of the surest facts we know about our world and our place in it. I know that the WT harps on the word “theory” as if it denigrates a scientific finding. But that’s because they don’t understand science. In science a theory is a hypothesis that has been supported with repeated testing until it has become an accepted hypothesis. If you define “proof” as arriving at a logical conclusion, based on the evidence, then you can consider a scientific theory as proven. The theory of relativity is a good example; it has proven itself as reliable as the law of gravity.

      Wikipedia says it best: “Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge, in contrast to more common uses of the word “theory” that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which is better defined by the word ‘hypothesis’). Scientific theories are also distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature will behave under certain conditions.”

      19) Protection of Children. Fair enough. But, again, at least most people in the world think that child abuse is wrong. Their leaders may not be advocates of child protection (and certainly some religions are not) but in general the majority of humanity would not subscribe to and defend a policy that enables a “paradise for pedophiles”.

      Let’s see… If we changed the scores as you suggest we reduce the world’s score to +7, and still -16 for the WT. So we’re in agreement on the outcome: the world wins by a large margin (23 points)!

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