I was perhaps not as clear as I should have been on a major point: I think that whoever may be controlling this new crop of JW defenders, whether a single GB member or a member of the Writing Staff, or even if these guys are self-appointed, they have one thing in common: They are too arrogant and stupid to understand what a hopeless task they've taken on. This is a new development.
For example, my friend and I discussed the possibility that the relatively new GB member Guy Pierce might have decided to spearhead a group of young Bethelites and/or outside JWs to "handle" the "apostate critic" problem. Would Pierce have the mental wherewithal to understand the implications of doing this? Not likely. The now-deceased oldtimers had enough experience to understand that they were better off keeping quiet in terms of publishing specific defenses. Better to just publish their claims in regular Watchtower literature and ignore almost all criticisms, except the occasional sideways reference that never really addressed the criticism. Pierce actually had his wife working on research for a recent article on blood. This woman is no more qualified for such research than she is to do research in quantum physics, yet Pierce is too stupid to realize this. Why would he do it? Well, being a true believer, he must think that Jehovah would give "spirit-direction" to whoever was assigned the research and writing task. The same goes for his assigning Bethelites or whoever to tackle Internet "apostates" -- "apostate" being the operative term for JW critics of any sort. With Jehovah's help, of course these new crusaders would have success! It is this kind of thoroughgoing braindeadness on the part of whoever is spearheading these latest efforts that I'm talking about, a braindeadness born of complete loyalty to "Jehovah's Organization" and a complete confidence that whatever the Holy Organization does, it must have God's backing. In short, whoever is spearheading this effort suffers from terminal cult-think.
Slimboyfat mentioned Nelson Herle as a defender of Watchtower christology. Herle actually tends to support my speculation, because from what I know of him, when his writing came to the attention of certain Bethel heavies, he was informally assigned to continue what he was doing. He also displayed complete loyalty to all Watchtower teachings. Certain other defenders of the 1980s, who expressed views not 100% in line with the Society's and who never managed to cultivate a relationship with a powerful inner circle guy, were ultimately rejected and even disfellowshipped. For example, one Jay Hess wrote a defense called something like, "Jehovah's Witnesses Are Not False Prophets". He never had support from Bethel, even though he was an enthusiastic elder. The ideas presented in his essay were later put almost verbatim into a 1993 Awake! article by the same name. He also held certain views at odds with the Society's, and perhaps it was his discussing these with the wrong Bethelites that made the right Bethelites distance themselves, and later got him in trouble. He was disfellowshipped around 1992.
Black Sheep said:
: They are very much in damage control mode at the moment . . . The GB have been making mistakes of judgement lately. Re-studying Rev Climax with updates that highlight the sillyness in the original is a classic one. Methinks these mistakes are the result of a wee tinge of panic.
: Both he and scholar have similar styles in posting.
Not in the least, other than ignoring everything they can't deal with and misrepresenting things left and right. Thirdwitness (or least, whoever is doing the writing that is posted from canned material) has some writing ability, and is able to express himself intelligibly much of the time. Of course, we see that when he strays away from the canned stuff, his ability to argue largely disappears. 'Scholar' on the other hand is a uniformly horrific writer. Much of what he posts is complete gibberish and contains glaring errors of the sort that don't appear even in thirdwitness' uncanned writing.
: although they both appear intelligent
Nope. Thirdwitness I'll grant, but 'scholar' is as dumb as a rock.
: and possibly even concerned about one thing 'sharing the truth'
I'll grant you that, but the guys behind thirdwitness are too bright to actually collaborate with 'scholar'.
: they are obviously biased for the Watchtower.
Scully, you're exactly right.
: I think the intent is to create the effect their posts initially had on saki2fifty. He noticed that we were arguing about it and initially concluded that there must be grounds for dispute over the issue. We know better, but these yahoos muddied the water sufficiently with their unfounded statements of fact that some have been left wondering whether there is a possibility the WTS is correct after all.
: . . . it is odd how they refuse to discuss the issues on which we have them dead to rights and prefer to stick with issues revolving around chronology, as if timetables are the theme of the Bible.
It's not odd at all. It's entirely to be expected.
: Is it possible they are trying to figure out who are their chief adversaries, the ones they should be most concerned about?
Perhaps, but some of us have been around a long time, and have long been thorns in the Society's side. The Society's inner circle who know anything about Internet criticisms know us by name.
dozy, you've completely missed my point: these are new developments. New because the old guard has died off and been replaced by younger, naive leaders.
: The style and quality of argumentation is reminiscent of what has been coming out of Flemming's group for years
It certainly is. I had the same thought when I first read the 607 website last winter. It would be no stretch of the imagination to speculate that his group has been give a "new assignment".
Of course, Flemming's writing leaves a lot to be desired. Last year I bought one of his little books, and found it extremely poorly written and chock full of typically bad JW-style argumentation.
: What is proposed here is that, either at their own behest, or under the instructions of a superior, the "character" of Thirdwitness was created by an agent of the WTBTS.
That pretty well sums it up.
: This implies a level of intellectual organization and ability to define (and even laugh at) their own weaknesses
Not "laugh at" at all. My point is that these guys take themselves very seriously, and demonstrate a gross underlying naivete (stupidity, really) by so doing.
: that simply does not exist among fundamentalists (whose dogged literalism is what defines them). In this scenario one then has to imagine Ted/Karla resting his work-fevered, hairless cranium against the window as dawn approaches, his tired, hooded eyes suddenly sparkling with glee... his creation has found versimillitude with one single, master stroke: an unshakable faith in the never-rebuilt city of Tyre! "Check, and mate, you wiley poztate. Check and mate."
No no no! Ted Jaracz is a wiley oldtimer, and would never accede to doing this. That's why my friend and I think that this must be a covert operation, a skunkworks deal (yeah, I get the implication of "skunk"). It's much more likely that it's being done by a younger dullard, like Guy Pierce.
: On the other hand, is it not far more straightforward to suggest that, as world events have become less stable, that more disaffected, marginal Witnesses will come to the fore with their crackpot theories?
Sure, but I think that it's equally to more likely that such a coming out would be initiated by an inner Bethel core out to make a name for themselves.
In another post, dilacertaus said:
: Attempting to castigate by speculation and rumor Thirdwitness, Scholar, et al, based on their real or imagined affiliations is a low form of bullying.
You're missing the point of the post. My and my friend's speculations have nothing to do with arguments by those morons. Indeed, 'scholar' obviously has no direct connection with thirdwitness and his buddies. The speculations are more musings on the larger picture of what may be going on in the inner Watchtower Society, to help try to understand why the Society is now engaging in several forms of self-destructive behavior.
: If it could be revealed with some substance that Thirdwitness were in the direct employ of the WTBTS, this would be interesting (and comical) only in what it revealed of their methods, interests, and possibly deperation.
Exactly. The problem is how to get hold of the required substance. Obviously these guys are not going to tell anyone. But speculation by people with good intuition -- and I'm not very intuitive, which is why I discuss things with people who are -- can be remarkably accurate.
Death to the Pixies wrote:
: Broseph, you got to stop smoking crack... Thirwitness and his pals are defectors from the E-watchman cult.
Their exact history is immaterial to the fact that they are now fanatical JW defenders.
: With those possibilities in mind it might be a good idea to meet their postings with logical and well-researched rebuttals rather than the name calling Which often gets thrown at them.
You're misrepresenting the history of the threads. For example, in the "607" thread, after thirdwitness posted a link to his website and claimed that no one had ever refuted anything on the website (which is a lie and misrepresentation on many fronts, one being that there is no mechanism on the site to post refutations), I challenged him to present one item for debate to keep things simple. Then he presented his theory that claimed that Egypt was desolated for 40 years from 588 to 548 B.C., a number of posters asked questions and posted minor challenges, thirdwitness ignored nearly all questions and challenges and kept posting more new stuff without dealing with the old stuff. This set the tone for the rest of the discussion: thirdwitness would ignore almost all challenges and questions. I soon posted a fairly detailed and objective rebuttal. Thirdwitness quickly posted an evasive answer that ignored virtually everything I said, misrepresented what little he did comment on, and then claimed that I had no answer. He posted other replies that continued misrepresenting what various people said and continued ignoring people's actual arguments. He even posted blatant lies. He displayed the usual JW arrogance. Other solid posters gradually chimed in, and thirdwitness continued to lie and misrepresent and evade important points. In short, he acted in the manner of the stereotypical JW defender most of us have come to expect. Very quickly, posters began calling a spade a spade and calling him out on his lies and misrepresentations. He began to cry. Very quickly there arose a typical slugfest between a deceitful, evasive, arrogant JW defender and critics.
Now, you said that it would be a good idea to post logical rebuttals rather than engaging in name calling -- as if that is what was done. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I've shown. You can easily verify my summary of the 607 thread yourself.
What happened here is fairly typical of debates involving logical, reasonable posters who won't take shit from fanatics. After the fanatics expose themselves as illogical, unreasonable, deceitful, evasive and arrogant, there is no reason to treat them with kid gloves. Besides, lots of posters are entertained, and the deserved derision heaped upon the self-demonstrated fanatics serves to insulate many lurkers from their stupidity.
: What also surprizes me - although you don't see much of it anymore - are various Witnesses who dare to dispute us. Logically, if you buy into the notion that John was talking about Gnostic apostates when he commanded that you shouldn't even say a greeting to them, then no Witness should be conversing with us. We would be the ultimate, the very pinnacle of people to be shunned, far above mere fornicators. Yet, they often ignore this.
Indeed, which is why I suspect that this spate of new JW defenders is a measure of the Society's desperation. Or at least, desperation on the part of whoever is spearheading the campaign.
: Others may quote Jesus word's about " let them be, if a blind man leads a blind man, both fall into a pit" - in regard to how they generally pay no attention to us ( contrary-wise). If they think that will save them, they are very mistaken. One crack at a time, one brick at a time , we are taking them down.