My notes on the new Creation DVD

by Half a Person 7 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Half a Person
    Half a Person

    I was given a copy of the new Wonders of Creation DVD. As I watched it, I made some notes, which I have included below. I'm not sure they make any sense without actually seeing the DVD, but hopefully they give an idea of the general contents and the sort of arguments that are used.

    0:00 - Ted Jaracz appears on screen and encourages us to "see the qualities and personality of our Grand Creator".

    So presumably we won't be seeing any footage of animals killing each other's offspring. Or parasites. Or gay animals.

    1:00 - Obligatory reference to Romans 1:20

    Only the first part of verse 20 is displayed on screen. The Bible itself goes on to say that those who don't accept God are "inexcusable", "empty-headed" and "unintelligent". But it's probably a bit early in the video to start having a go at any sceptical viewers by including these words. Better to win them over with pretty pictures rather than call them stupid.

    1:31 - A father and son walk though the woods, checking out the wildlife. Father says to son: "You know, there's a lot of amazing things to see out here. But you can't see them all with your eyes."

    Here, the father teaches his son an important lesson about being a JW :- That invisible things are just as important as visible ones. Things like Jesus' invisible-since-1914 presence, or the invisible evidence for a global flood, or the invisible original manuscripts of the New Testament containing the divine name.

    2:40 - Title sequence, then voiceover: "Many enjoy looking at creation. But few realise that they are catching a glimpse into the mind and heart of our Grand Creator."

    It sounded to me like he put a bit of scorn into the word "looking". Like all these "many" people, whoever they are, should be ashamed of themselves for just "looking", and not taking their "looking" to the Next Level. Which, presumably, involves jumping to the conclusion that the Adventist-offshoot religion which keeps waking them up on a Saturday morning is the one and only Truth(TM) which they must dedicate the rest of their lives to.

    3:00 - A young shepherd-not-yet-king David stares at the moon and says some nice words to God.

    Fortunately for David, all these currying-favour-with-God Psalms will come in handy later in life, when he does something wrong and, as punishment, God kills his infant son instead of him. In a similar fashion, God kills lots of random innocent people, because David decides to count them. (1 Chronicles 21:14) So, in summary, looking at the moon and saying nice things about God is good, because when you do something wrong, God will punish someone else in your place.

    4:00 - Narrator: "Do you take time to look beyond the man-made world? When you do, even something seemingly common becomes extraordinary, as you open your eyes to see the one who made it."

    To me, this carries the implication that Jehovah's Witnesses are the only people who can REALLY appreciate the natural world. Everyone else is presumably too busy buying HD-ready televisions and watching Torchwood to notice "life, our planet, and the starry heavens."

    But this isn't true. There is a lot of love for the natural world outside the JW's, like Carl Sagan or Science Friday. Even Richard Dawkins, in his book Unweaving the Rainbow, is bubbling over with enthusiasm for the light spectrum, prisms and Fraunhofer lines.

    And the Society responds by biting the hand that feeds it all of this information. They take scientists' words out of context to support whatever point they are trying to make. They are happy to paint scientists as fraudsters who manipulate evidence for their own personal gain. (Awake! 1990 1/22)

    4:57 - There are lots of stars. (illustration)

    5:35 - Pictures from the Hubble Space telescope.

    5:50 - Narrator: "But did Jehovah scatter them randomly? Even at this colossal scale, elegant organisation is seen." (Isaiah 40:22 is read)

    Citation needed! That's what I say. How do I know half of these stars aren't crashing into each other all the time?

    6:22 - Stars are very far apart. (illustration)

    7:36 - More scriptures and Hubble pictures.

    8:00 - e = mc². Video of mushroom cloud. "Man has often used [power] destructively. In contrast, as a potter with clay, Jehovah skillfully used his dynamic energy"

    What a contrast. Unlike man, Jehovah certainly wouldn't use power destructively. He wouldn't, for example, cause a global flood, or ten plagues, or Armageddon.

    8:40 - Even MORE Hubble pictures. "In modern times, we have peered into the far reaches of space. And seen creation at an awe-inspiring scale." More scriptures.

    All this talk of "creation" sort of calls to mind the whole Creation Vs Evolution thing. But of course, evolution by natural selection has nothing whatsoever to do with stars. I wonder if they're going to talk about living organisms?

    9:33 - Father and son again. Son asks father: "Do you really think [Jehovah] cares about each of us on earth?" Father replies: "He shows that he cares in how he designed a comfortable home made just right for us."

    OK. First of all, I'm sure that much of the "comfort" and "just right"-ness of modern [Western] life actually comes from man-made conveniences. I'm sure there are some residents of Planet Earth who would not describe their existence as "comfortable". Secondly, I was reminded of a Douglas Adams quote:

    "Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"

    10:33 - Water. "Each molecule has a deceptively simple design. Two atoms of hydrogen attached to one atom of oxygen."

    At least he didn't say: "BEHOLD! The Atheist's nightmare!" We're still firmly in physics territory though, there's no rush to get onto biology.

    12:10 - Ice is like a sea blanket that keeps penguins warm.

    12:20 - Interesting juxtaposition: Picture of a beach sunset, with the caption: "Revelation 14:7".

    The gist of this scripture is "God made the sea", but Revelation chapter 14 also contains lots of other stuff, like this:

    poured out undiluted into the cup of his wrath, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest

    and this:

    And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and he hurled it into the great winepress of the anger of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress as high up as the bridles of the horses, for a distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs.

    which isn't really what I'd associate with a holiday destination.

    12:40 - Narrator: "Had the Earth been situated only 5 percent closer to the Sun, scorching heat would have made life impossible." Picture of a damaged Golden Gate Bridge with a skeleton beneath it.

    Er... If life on earth was impossible due to the "scorching heat", then who built the Golden Gate Bridge? If there was no life, then what is that skeleton doing there? PICTURE FAIL.

    13:00 - Earth is just the right size.

    13:41 - "Both its size and proximity to the sun reveal that Jehovah formed the earth"

    As opposed to, say, Allah forming the earth, or Baal forming the earth?

    Surely, the only thing this "reveals" is that the earth has the right dimensions and location to accommodate our kind of life. It's a bit of a leap to suggest that these facts actually (a) prove that there is a designer, and (b) identify exactly who he is.

    14:30 - The moon stabilises the earth's 23.4° tilt - "Without the moon, the earth would wobble over long periods of time from nearly 0° to 85°. This would have an extreme effect on our climate."

    Hey, I actually learned something.

    I'm not sure where they got those figures from though.

    15:11 - "It is fitting that the Bible calls our moon 'a faithful witness in the skies'". (Psalm 89:37)

    Yeah, that's nice 'n' all, but it doesn't really say anything about gravity or tilts or climate. It might as well say: "The moon is bright and pretty and dependably predictable!"

  • Half a Person
    Half a Person


    0:00 Narrator: "But what draws us even closer to Jehovah in a personal way is Life itself - and how he designed us to enjoy it." Back to the father and son. Father to son: "Michael - look how much fun they're having." (cut to JW-style barbecue picnic in the woods) "We're not robots. Jehovah's given us the ability to love, and form satisfying relationships."

    There's something kind of weird about the term "satisfying relationships." Why not just say "friendships"? "Satisfying relationships" is like the Society's way of saying "Relationships that are carried out according to our rules." For example, I can't help thinking about the terms "Good/bad association", how "spiritual" a person is, what things can't be talked about (criticising the Society), and supporting the organisation by always "encouraging" each other to stay in it.

    0:30 - "[We have the ability] to laugh, and play. We can appreciate beautiful music. See in vivid colours. Smell and taste an almost infinite variety. These things aren't necessary for life."

    Erm... Yes they are. Or at least, *were*, at some point in our evolutionary history. Sometimes the style of the Society's arguments against evolution suggests that evolutionists are idiots who haven't even thought about things like this. Colour vision! What a brilliant argument for design! I mean, there's absolutely no way that that could have evolved, right? No mere evolutionist could even begin to imag... Oh, wait:

    "High-quality colour vision with a three-colour system may have evolved in our primate ancestors as an aid to finding fruits in the green forest. It has even been suggested, by the Cambridge psychologist John Mollon, that the three-colour system 'is a device invented by certain fruiting trees in order to propagate themselves': an imaginative way to calling attention to the fact that trees benefit from attracting mammals to eat their fruit and spread the seeds."
    - Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow, page 58.

    My reason for including this quote isn't to say "Richard Dawkins is wonderful and knows all the answers and is definitely correct." No. My point is, the Society deliberately "wins" these sort of arguments by presenting only half of the evidence, and then virtually bans individual JW's from doing any research except in their own publications. They don't want people to ask "why?" and search for answers. They just want everyone to accept their own pre-prepared answers, and ignore evidence to the contrary. In this respect they are like the Catholic Church a few hundred years ago.

    You could argue that they deliberately keep followers "in the dark" about evidence for evolution.

    1:05 - Michael (the boy) is imagining what life would be like without all these wonderful senses: Just a bunch of people sitting around, wearing white, doing nothing, saying nothing, and eating gruel. "That would be boring," he says.

    2:00 - Quote from Ecclesiates 3:11 - "He has put time indefinite into our hearts".

    The Society uses this scripture to support the idea that Jehovah wants us to live forever, but I can't help feeling that this is not what this verse means. Perhaps it means: "God has put eternity into man's *heart*, but hasn't put it into man's actual *life*. So you can certainly *think* about the future, but one day you are going to die; the same fate (death with no resurrection) awaits everybody." (Ecc 9:2,3) I think this sounds more in harmony with the everything-is-vanity style of Ecclesiates.

    2:10 "The more we observe creation, the more we appreciate that life is a gift, meant to be enjoyed."

    A bit of common sense. Can't argue with that.

    2:54 "The variety we see in the animal kingdom is breathtaking." Shot of a peacock's tail.

    I can see where this is going.

    "The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me feel sick!" - Charles Darwin.

    3:05 - Shots of animals walking, chirping, cuddling, jumping, yawning, marching, swimming

    Just like a wildlife documentary, but with all the sex and violence taken out.

    3:56 - Shot of a Gazelle running

    Hm, I wonder why it's running so fast? Perhaps because it's being chased by another of God's "creatures great and small" (Ps 104:25), which is no doubt trying to kill and eat it. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, GAZELLE!! Anyway, back to the soothing music and animals which *aren't* facing imminent digestion.

    4:15 - "Who taught x animal to perform y behaviour?" (long list)

    Oh! I've got one: "Who taught the female spider to eat the male after sex?"

    And another: "Who instructed the cuckoo in the ways of the Mafia?"

    5:00 - DNA. "Incredibly, whether a majestic redwood, or an exotic orchid, a giant whale, or a newborn baby, the design for every living organism is recorded in the same format."

    I don't think we're going to hear the words "common ancestor", though.

    6:44. Humans. Psalm 139:13-16. "Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing."

    The quote stops midway though verse 16, missing off the last part, which reads:

    As regards the days when they were formed
    And there was not yet one among them.

    (New World Translation)

    To me, this is really difficult to understand. What on earth does it mean? Here's the last part of verse 16 from some different translations:

    All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
    (New International Version)

    The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began
    (Good News Bible)

    So is the New World Translation hiding the meaning of the text? Does this verse support predestination? (also compare verse 4) Or is it just really ambiguous Hebrew that could have a number of meanings? I don't know.

    7:15 - "What makes us so unique? Of all of Jehovah's earthly creations, how are we different?" Genesis 1:26 "Let us make man in our image."

    The reality is probably the exact opposite - with a person (or group)'s "God" being a reflection of his (or their) qualities. (just my opinion)

    7:50 - "Our inborn spiritual need...". A man is shown praying.

    I haven't prayed for over a year now and I haven't dropped dead yet. Can it really be described as a spiritual *need* if you can survive without it?

    7:53 - "...our capacity for love, all separate us from God's animal creation."

    HUMANS R TEH BEST!!! Because, of course, no animals are capable of love.

    8:08 - "Jehovah gave us the potential to go on living forever." On the brain: "Amazingly, our creative capacity and potential for learning is limitless."

    Is this a version of the ten-percent myth?

    9:30 - "Out of love, Jehovah promises us a life that we can only dream of."

    This is the organisation's way of saying: "Do as we say, and in just a little while all of your dreams will come true!"

    9:40 - "Jehovah will cleanse the earth"

    This is a euphemism for "kill 6 billion people".

    9:54 - "In this New World, we will appreciate animal creation like never before." Shots of a sister petting a lion.

    Because the best way to "appreciate" nature's ultra-adapted killing machines is to reduce them to the level of "docile idiot-pet". Strip them of their power and turn them into large, furry tamagotchis.

    10:03 - "We can only imagine how rich the real life will be." New System summary.

    10:44 - "In vain, many have searched for purpose and meaning through careers..." (woman with about 100 shopping bags arrives at top of escalator and checks her watch)

    "Career" is a dirty word in Watchtower-land, just like "ambition". The underlying message is: "There's no point. There's no point in trying to find a satisfying job. Because you won't. Forget all that and come and work for 'Jehovah' (us)."

    12:50 - Ted Jaracz is back. I think he's reading from an autocue.

    15:02 - Ted: "So many are preoccupied with the imagery and fantasy of television, movies and video games."

    Of course, Jehovah's People(TM) aren't preoccupied with imagery and fantasy. On the contrary, they would rather consider *real* things, like scarlet-coloured wild beasts, or large, multi-material statues, or the imminent destruction of everyone but themselves, or the angels who accompany them on their house-to-house ministry.

    16:10 - Ted: "It is wise not to be unduly distracted by the works of this world. Neither should we become totally absorbed in personal pursuits or selfish interests."

    "The works of this world", or: "Actual Real Life".

    The Society promotes the view that "doing spiritual things" (attending its meetings, studying and distributing its literature, recruiting new members) is like depositing funds into a spiritual bank account (Matt 6:20). But (my opinion), instead of going straight up to heaven, all those reports are actually being sucked up though a pneumatic tube then dumped in the middle of a field where no-one collects them. Just like in "Lost".

    16:33 - Fade to black. It's over! The usual "encouragements" at the end: Regular meeting attendance, daily Bible reading, weekly family study.

  • sir82

    Good review.

    Did you notice Ted trying to smile at the end? It appeared that the effort caused him horrific pain - he just about managed to get to the point of "grimace" and then settled back into the more comfortable zone of "sneer".

  • steve2

    Many thanks Half-A-person for your insightful overview of the DVD. The witnesses are in good company: Lots of religious groups provide a noticeably rosy-eyed and sanitized account of the "wonders" of nature.

    However, when observed closely enough, nature reflects a truly violent, consuming and lunging world in which predatory attacks are very much the norm. Look at the huge variety of animals who "specialize" in violence (e.g., sword fish, paranhas, venomous snakes).

    What makes nature so tolerable is civilization. We talk about how violent the modern world is, conveniently forgetting, that until recent centuries, human life was short and brutish. Europe has its shocking accounts of communities stoning, torturing and burning anyone deemed heretical or apostate. Nature can be uplifting, for sure, but thank human creativity for civilizing it.

  • Half a Person
    Half a Person
    Did you notice Ted trying to smile at the end?

    Yes, I saw that.

    Also I like when it cuts to a different camera but he just continues talking to the first one.

    Director: "Brother Jaracz, the red light tells you which camera to look at. If we can just..."

    Jaracz: "I'M NOT DOING IT AGAIN!!!"*

    (*May not have actually happened. Probably it was intentional. But I like to imagine it wasn't)

  • Mickey mouse
    Mickey mouse
    Did you notice Ted trying to smile at the end?

    Yeah, that really freaked hubby out. He said he thought the deadpan face suited him better.

  • under_believer

    It surprises me that they are putting TJ out front'n'center like that. In the past the Society has come in for a lot of (justified) criticism for appearing to elevate individual named leaders to positions of prominence. Did they actually name him in the video, or did he just appear like some random gargoyle? (As you can tell my wife has not yet forced me to sit through this latest assault.)

    Kudos on the review, by the way. I'll be interested in eventually hearing your story. You remind me of, well, me.

  • out4good3

    My wife practically harassed the hell outta me to watch this tape with her. Your notes on this DVD are right on, I was thinkingmany of the same things while watching it.

    In all, it's just another very slickly produced WT puff piece, soon to be gathering dust on a shelf with all their other digital garbage.

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