Earthquakes and rumors of war or whatever ;o)

by Hellrider 39 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Hellrider

    I was so inspired by the ridicolousness of Thirdwitnoid in that other thread ("The gentile times reconsidered again...but this time I am using the Bible"), in which he actually dared bring up the old "increase in earthquakes"-fairytale from the WT and Asleep. It really had nothing to do in that thread, which was about 607 vs 587 (oh no, not that again...), so I thought I`d start a thread about it here. Anyway, here is what I found when googling "worlds deadliest earthquakes", this is a list that might look favorable to JWs:


    Jan. 23, 1556

    Shansi, China



    July 27, 1976Tangshan, China 255,000 17.5
    Aug. 9, 1138Aleppo, Syria230,000n.a.
    Dec. 26, 2004off west coast of northern Sumatra225,000+9.0
    Dec. 22, 856 2Damghan, Iran200,000n.a.
    May 22, 1927near Xining, Tsinghai, China 200,0007.9
    Dec. 16, 1920Gansu, China200,0007.8
    March 23, 893 2Ardabil, Iran150,000n.a.
    Sept. 1, 1923Kwanto, Japan143,0007.9
    Oct. 5, 1948Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, USSR110,0007.3
    Dec. 28, 1908Messina, Italy70,000–
    100,000 3
    Sept. 1290Chihli, China100,000n.a.
    Oct. 8, 2005Pakistan 80,3617.6
    Nov. 1667Shemakha, Caucasia 80,000n.a.
    Nov. 18, 1727Tabriz, Iran 77,000n.a.
    Dec. 25, 1932Gansu, China 70,0007.6
    Nov. 1, 1755Lisbon, Portugal 70,0008.7
    May 31, 1970Peru 66,0007.9
    May 30, 1935Quetta, Pakistan 30,000–
    Jan. 11, 1693Sicily, Italy 60,000n.a.
    1268 4Silicia, Asia Minor 60,000n.a.
    June 20, 1990Iran 50,0007.7
    Feb. 4, 1783Calabria, Italy 50,000n.a.

    ...from this site: (perfectly neutral and unapostate)

    Now, I have a problem: From JW-files webpage, I found this list:

    1201 IX 1,100,000 Upper Egypt or Syria


    1556 IX 830,000 Shensi province, China


    1737 . . . 300,000 Calcutta, India


    526 . . . 250,000 Antioch, Syria


    1976 7.8 240,000 T'ang-shan, China


    1138 XI 230,000 Ganzah, Aleppo, Syria


    1920 8.5 200,000 Kansu province, China


    1703 . . . 200,000 Jeddo, Japan


    856 . . . 200,000 Qumis, Damghan, Iran


    893 . . . 180,000 Daipur, India


    (// ("apostate", in the eyes of jws)

    ...and this last list differs a bit from the first. It mentions the Shansi (China) - earthquake in 1556, but it differs a bit from the first list. Anyone here know anything more about this? Anyway, if we use the FIRST list as the basis for discussion, that would be fair to any jw-apologist that would want to participate in the discussion:

    ...of the 23 deadliest earthquakes, 11 has happened after 1914. The deadliest earthquake was in China in 1556. On the surface, and to the untrained eye an brainwashed mind (as in "jw", I mean), this might look shocking, and like something that would support their theories. 11 of the 23 deadliest earthquakes has happened since 1914..."gaaasp, the slave is right about eeeverything!!" It`s just that it`s not as simple as it looks on the surface, and here are the reasons why:

    1) First of all, there is no reason to assume that earthquakes were any less frequent before 1914 than after. There is nothing in seismological history that indicates that this is the case. Also, the seismological tools used to measure the activity in the ground, were not invented until the 18th century, and the first machines weren`t as accurate as the ones we have today. Everything we know about earthquakes over the last 2000 (or more) years, is from written material from the time of the event. Anyone that knows anything about history would understand that these records are unreliable, incomplete, missing or were never written down in the first place. Further, seismologists says, and they are all in agreement on this, that earthquakes are neither more frequent now (or in the 20th century) or any stronger now (in the 20th century) than in the preceding centuries. The number of earthquakes every year and their intensity has been fairly stabile for many centuries. (There are some good quotes about this on the jw-files-page)

    2) Is 11 out of 23 such a shocking figure? If comparing one century to the preceding ...what...20 ? - yes, it might look that way. But on the other hand, as demonstrated in point 1), we have no way of knowing whether or not there were many more earthquakes, taking tens of thousands of lives (maybe more), but that these events were lost to history. It`s of course impossible to argue that this was the case, but the point is that it is highly likely that it was the case. Oh, and take a look at all the earthquakes before 1914 on this list, and look at their locations: They all happened in areas with large populations (even then) that were also fairly civilised, areas that had a central government, places in which "stuff" was written down! - and these places were also places that the western world had contact with/ trade with! If an earthquake killing 500 000 people had happened in India in the 10th century, would it be so sure that we would know about this today? I don`t think so. At that time, the area had no strong central government, was divided and under the rule of local leaders, completely rural, ,etc. If noone had written it down, and made sure the written story/text was passed on within the nations history, there is no way we would know about it today (unless archaeology had stumbled across it, and uncovered it to us).

    3) There are also other reasons why the death tolls were so high in the earthquakes of the 20th century. In 2006, there are 6.5 billion people in the world. In 1802 AD, there were 1 billion. In 1420 AD, 375 million. In 950 AD, 250 million. Clearly, when an earthquake hits a large city in in the 2006, it`s going to take more lives than it would have, in 1420. That`s just common sense.

    But that in itself does not mean that this is "the time of the end"...

    (please add your comments and expertise folks, and let`s kill off this jw-myth once and for all)

  • purplesofa
    If an earthquake killing 500 000 people had happened in India in the 10th century, would it be so sure that we would know about this today? I don`t think so. At that time, the area had no strong central government, was divided and under the rule of local leaders, completely rural, ,etc. If noone had written it down, and made sure the written story/text was passed on within the nations history, there is no way we would know about it today

    I read in the newspaper...........I am going to say maybe 10 years ago......that there was an earthquake in China that killed 5,000 people and was not reported to the outside world. I don't know how long it was secret but it was not like a whole lot of years back.........I remember thinking ......How do you hide an earthquake?


  • stillajwexelder

    The Society has changed its view anyway on earthquakes


    g02 3/22 p. 9 Earthquakes, Bible Prophecy, and You *** Earthquakes, Bible Prophecy, and You

    BEFORE his death, Jesus foretold events and situations that would give evidence that this world had entered "the conclusion of the system of things." That period, he said, would be marked by such things as pestilences, food shortages, and large-scale warfare. He also mentioned "great earthquakes" that would occur "in one place after another." (Matthew 24:3, 7; Luke 21:10, 11) Was Jesus referring to our day?

    Many say no. They assert that the number of earthquakes has not substantially increased in recent decades. In fact, the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center reports that earthquakes of 7.0 magnitude and greater remained "fairly constant" throughout the 20th century.

    Note, though, that the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy does not require an increase in the number or power of earthquakes. All Jesus said was that there would be great earthquakes in one place after another. Furthermore, he stated that these events would mark the "beginning of pangs of distress." (Matthew 24:8) Distress is measured, not by the number of earthquakes or how they rate on the Richter scale, but by the effect that they have upon people.

    Earthquakes have indeed caused much distress in our day. In fact, during the 20th century, millions have been killed or left homeless by these disasters. Experts say that many of these deaths could have been prevented. "In developing countries," reports BBC News, "building regulations frequently take second place to the demands for cheap, quickly built housing to meet the needs of rapid urbanisation." Commenting on two recent tragedies, Ben Wisner, an expert in urban disasters, states: "It wasn’t earthquakes that killed these people. It was a combination of human error, indifference, corruption, and greed."

    Yes, sometimes the deadliest factors in an earthquake are human selfishness and negligence. Interestingly, such qualities come to the fore in another Bible prophecy concerning "the last days" of this system. During that time, the Bible states, people would be "self-centered, lovers of money," and "callous." (2 Timothy 3:1-5, The Amplified Bible) Along with Jesus’ words regarding the conclusion of the system of things, this prophecy provides clear evidence that we are nearing the time when God will bring relief to distressed humanity from all present causes of pain and suffering—including great earthquakes.—Psalm 37:11.

    Would you like to learn more about this Bible-based hope? Contact Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area, or write to the appropriate address on page 5.


    Some say that any reports of an increase in the number of earthquakes are simply due to advances in technology, which enable more seismic events to be detected.

  • RubaDub

    If an earthquake killing 500 000 people had happened in India in the 10th century, would it be so sure that we would know about this today? I don`t think so. At that time, the area had no strong central government, was divided and under the rule of local leaders, completely rural, ,etc. If noone had written it down, and made sure the written story/text was passed on within the nations history, there is no way we would know about it today

    Sort of like asking if 500,000 people were killed in the woods and noone heard it, did they make noise.

    Rub a Dub

  • johnny cip
    johnny cip

    my jw dad tried that earthquake ,famine crap on me about 8 years ago. but he didn't know a had a secret, weapon. THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. this is before i had a p.c. i was coming home with books every other day. . oh boy the fights we had. my dad would not look a a single history book. he kept saying over a period of months that all those books from the public library . were written to make jehovah's org look bad. even tho not one was an apostate book. i had one book on british history that said in India in the 18th century, famine took about 100 or 200 million lives. and that was just in India. then i looked up the wt on professor Iko. from the u.s. earthquake comm. o9r some org. and found that the wt miss quoted the professor . i showed my dad the exact true quote and the wt lie in wt mag. on how pro. Iko never said that quakes are higher in the 20th. century. my dad said the book was lying . even tho , it was the quote the wt used in the wt mag. go figure. by the way my dad called the police on me , a number of times during my coming home with books from the public library. because . i was bringing satans history books into the house. the police thought he was nuts. john

  • jwfacts

    Hi, the 'apostate' JWFacts here. The second list that you quote from my is copied from the 2002 Encyclopedia Britanica DVD, so is a totally unbiased source.

    The figure of 1,100,000 deaths in 1201 in Egypt is verified at . is an excellent source for information listing over 5800 major earthquakes from the last 4000 years.

    It is interesting that in the 1200s there were more deaths from earthquakes than in the 1900's, despite the increased population of the 1900s.

  • Arthur

    The whole theory of earthquakes increasing in frequency and severity since 1914 is a sham. Carl Olof Jonsson, when researching his book: Sign of the Last Days, corresponded with respected geologists regarding the whole earthquake issue. Not one of the geologists he talked with could find any data that substantiated the WTS claim regarding earthquakes since 1914. Jonsson even printed a couple of the letters inside his book so that the reader could see it for themself.

  • Hellrider

    Hi jwfacts! Yes, I don`t doubt that, so if we include your list into the other, we get:

    1201, upper Egypt: 1.100 000 deaths

    1556, China, Shensi: 830 000 deaths

    1737, India, Calcutta: 300 000 deaths

    1976, China, Tangshan: 255 000 deaths

    526, Syria, Antioch: 250 000 deaths

    1976, China, Tangshan: 240 000 deaths

    1138, Syria: 230 000 deaths

    2004, dec.26th, of Sumatra, 225 000 deaths

    856, Iran, Damghan: 200 000 deaths

    1920, China 200 000 deaths

    1703, Japan, Jeddo, 200 000 deaths

    893, India, Daipur, 180 000 deaths

    893, Iran, Ardabil, 150 000 deaths

    1923, Japan, 143 000 deaths

    1948, Turkmenistan, 110 000 deaths

    1908, Italy, Messina, 70 000 - 100 000 deaths

    1290, China, 100 000 deaths

    2005, Pakistan, 80 361 deaths

    1667, Shemakha, Caucasus, 80 000 deaths

    1727, Iran, Tabriz, 77 000 deaths

    1932, China, 70 000 deaths

    1775, Portugal, Lisbon, 70 000 deaths

    1970, Peru, 66 000 deaths

    1693, Italy, Sicily, 60 000 deaths

    1268, Silicia, Asia minor, 60 000 deaths

    1935, Pakistan, 35 000 - 60 000 deaths

    1990, Iran, 50 000 deaths

    1783, Italy, Calabria, 50 000 deaths

    In addition to this, the volcanic eruption and explosion/destruction of Krakatao in 1883 should be listed. Volcanic eruptions are also the result of seismological activity, and Krakatao resulted in 30 000 dead the following few days, but the thousands of tons of ashes and dust thrown into the atmosphere, crating a black cloud blocking out the sun on several continents in the following years, caused crops to fail, resulting in famine, killing many times the number that died instantly. So, let`s sum it up:

    Of the worlds 29 most deadliest earthquake-disasters (including the Krakatao-eruption), 18 happened before 1914. )In addition to this, we have to take into consideration that there were probably several major-scale earthquakes in the 20 000 + deaths- category, that happened in remote locations, and that they were lost to history. The three deadliest ones, happened before 1914. Both the 800s and 1200s were just as bad as the 1900s, with similar death tolls, even despite the fact that the population of the world was just a fraction of what it was in the 1900s! In the 1200s, there were around 300 million people on the planet, in the 800s, the number was around 200 million (or less). In the 1900s, the number has been increasing from around 3 billion, to 6.5 billion today! And still, the earthquakes of the 800s and 1200s killed as many people as the earthquakes of the 1900s! How about that, Thridwitnoid! Pretty shocking, isn`t it! I pity the people of the 1200s, first those horrible earthquakes, and then then black plague, a century later, killing of between one half and a third of Europes population, and also wiping out millions of people in the middle east, the caucasus, Russia and India. That sure were the END TIMES, right then and there, I sure am glad I wasn`t alive back then...

    Thirdwitness still hasn`t showed up to defend his case. I believe that is a wise decision of him to make, because has no case. The earthquake-myth has now been layed to rest forever, if anyone were in doubt.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Yes, such events are really proof of nothing. Takes the real 'bite' out of those Bible prophecy nuts huh?
    I just started reading the book "When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture", it's amazing to see how these kind of beliefs are so prevelant in our society and the reasons why.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Also wanted to add that when you take a look at the way the JWs understand the Bible, you can't help but notice that it is a very AMERICAN way of looking at the book. Like it or not, their view of the world is very American in nature. Seems kind of ironic to me.

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