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 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!"