A magician can demonstrate an empty hat from which, seconds later, he pulls a rabbit. Was there
a rabbit in that empty hat?
In Pre-Enlightenment times, the easy answer was: Magic was real--but--it was accomplished
by super-natural means. Most people believed there was Nature and beyond that was a Super-
nature. This unseen world was inhabited by spirits, demons, ghosts, gods, angels, etc.
SUPERSTITION was an answer to any question which didn't seem to have any 'other' explanation.
Today there are so-called 3rd World countries without a system of sewers or distribution of fresh water. Death and disease are everywhere! In parts of Africa, superstition rules supreme. A man who contracts AIDS will seek out a virgin girl for sex TO CURE HIMSELF!
Is this folk medicine magically effective? No, it is merely a throwback to earlier times in civilization when there was no REASON, SCIENCE, or EVIDENCE-BASED methodology transmitted through public education. There was plenty of superstition, rumor, myth, speculation, Old Wives Tales. The Enlightenment led to technology, medicine, and understanding of nutrition and disease.
What turned things around for humanity? How did we get to the point we could actually self-activate reasonable thinking?
One huge step was the principle called FALSIFIABILITY.
What is it?
It is a means of testing and separating what we think we know from what we can actually verify with evidence. Does that sound too obvious to be regarded as a great milestone advancement?
FALSIFIABILITY is a method for avoiding superstition by carefully dividing knowledge into provable assertions vs. unprovable nonsense.
Let us review
Some things are GOOD.
Fresh Air, pure drinking water, laughter, beautiful surroundings. . .
Some things are BAD.
Pollution, sickness, grieving, death and dying . . .
But it is important to know about a 3rd category because it is insidious when overlooked.
Things that are so speculative that there would be no way ever to know whether they're right or wrong, good or bad, true or false
The danger in this 3rd category should be obvious. But so often, it is not obvious at all.
Guesswork, hunches, speculations--when they are presented as FACT--are extremely dangerous when regarded as true. Further, acceptance based on nothing more than AUTHORITY may be the most destructive of all.
Take for example, a religious leader who convinces his followers he is representing God's will, and who passes out cups of Kool-Aid for everybody to drink.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
People without 'reason,' only FAITH, trusted God. But, 'God' was--for them--speaking through a man who was their religion leader.
Man of God speaking = God speaking = Superstition
This was FAITH and faith is Things that are so speculative that there would be no way ever to know whether they're right or wrong, good or bad, true or false.
Except, of course, by dying. But even then, others could claim they were rewarded for that faith in the untestable after-life.
This is the principle of falsifiability, famously associated with the philosopher Karl Popper. Hypotheses that might be wrong are the lifeblood of science: you test them, find evidence to support or undermine them, and learn something in the process. But hypotheses that can't even be wrong can't tell you anything.
A life of Hope gives you a positive frame of mind; you choose to believe things are going to work out to your benefit--but you realize they might not work out that way.
A life of Faith gives you an absolute frame of mind; you will yourself to believe things cannot but work out to your benefit--and nothing can convince you otherwise.
Which is more dangerous? Which is less enlightened? Ask the folks in Jamestown who drank the Kool-Aid. Oh wait--you can't because they are dead!
Jehovah's Witnesses live their lives having dedicated and committed themselves to an absolute loyalty to an Organization of men claiming divine connection, fully empowered to SPEAK on behalf of GOD.
They call this transmission of God's will: THE TRUTH.
What kind of special knowledge do they receive in this arrangement?
Is it GOOD?
Is it BAD?
Or is it speculation that can't even be wrong; can't tell you anything?
The most dangerous information is that which is UN-testable!
We EX-JW's know, this means--anything the Watchtower Organization publishes is to be accepted WITHOUT skepticism. No testing is required or allowed upon penalty of excommunication.
UNITY AT ALL COSTS is the primary.
LOYALTY is the test.
Obedience is the be-all and end-all.
JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES don't even have this choice!
The Watchtower Organization is dedicated to the deliberate cultivation of stupidity.
How can we say this?
“Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them “brainwash” you with the Devil's propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. This world has very little time left! Any “future” this world offers is no future! Wisely, then, let God's Word influence you in selecting a course that will result in your protection and blessing. Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry, with the possibility of Bethel or missionary service your goal.” Watchtower 1969 Mar 15 p.171
“No doubt, school counselors sincerely believe that it is in your best interests to pursue higher education and to plan for a secular career. Yet, their confidence lies in a social and financial system that has no lasting future.” Watchtower 2012 Jun 15 p.23
The entire history of the Watchtower Organization is a slide into darkness.
By demanding its members strictly obey men claiming access to the divine, the Watchtower religion removes any means of cognitive verification, testing, or Falsifiability.
Are JW's Right?
Are JW's Wrong?
Jehovah's Witnesses are "not even wrong."
They are worse than BAD.