What makes a FACT factual? Does the Governing Body know?

by Terry 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry

    A tendency to drastically underestimate the frequency of coincidence is a prime characteristic of innumerates, who generally accord great significance to correspondences of all sorts while attributing too little significance to quite conclusive but less flashy statistical evidence.
    John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences

    Let's look at the possible options involved when a person wants to determine the facts about something.

    1.They can make a wild guess

    2.They can estimate based on some existing data.

    3.They can follow a higher authority and adopt consensus

    4.They can wait until a sufficient sample is available and deduce a meaningful hypothesis

    Let's say you wanted to know how many square miles there are on Earth's surface. How would you go about it?

    I'll wait while you tackle the problem in your head. Do the best you can and then write the figure down on a piece of paper.

    Start with any fact you already know and see where it leads you..............

    What number did you come up with?

    How comfortable are you with it? Strongly confident? Confident? Somewhat confident? Mildly confident? Barely confident? Fairly certain you are dead wrong?

    You see from this exercise that just tackling a fairly ordinary factual problem (there is a definite provable solution) requires specific information to BEGIN with.

    Without it--you may as well make a wild guess.

    Here is how the problem can be done.

    The radius of Earth at the equator is about 3963 miles. The surface area of a sphere is given by Area = 4 pi r 2 , so the surface of the earth is: 4 x 3.14159 x 3963 miles x 3963 miles = 197,359,320.78684 square miles, plus a little extra to compensate for the vertical height of mountains and depth of valleys.

    So, the correct answer is: About 198 million square miles.

    How close did you get?

    Ask yourself: How do we know the radius of the Earth in the first place? How do we know the formula for the surface of a sphere?

    Without those previously figured facts where would we be??

    What point am I making?

    When the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses have made chronology their focus they built on what others have done before them.

    That is their data source. The Adventists (William Miller in particular) used bible passages and also interpretations of certain perceived prophecies.

    We are not talking FACTS. We are talking surmise, conjecture, guesswork and preconceived supposition.

    None of these are facts!

    The Bible, as we all have come to regretfully acknowledge, is itself an estimate of things said and done which was first oral storytelling!

    Nothing comes from nothing.

    You can't be precise based on non-factual starting materials!

    You can believe your estimate of the surface of the Earth BECAUSE somebody told you. But, how did THEY figure it out?

    The process is the key to understanding!

    Facts are the SAME for everybody.

    Opinion is what differs.

    1914 as the second coming of Jesus is not FACT. It is opinion. Opinion based on what? Storytelling interpreted and estimated into writing! Based on what? Belief in the story.

    When a Jehovah's Witness sits down to "explain" how 1914 is contained in the Bible what are they really doing?

    They are basing their process on a series of weaker and weaker connections none of which is provable, demonstrable or actual data.

    If any part of any step is a false step the entire conclusion collapses into rubble.

    How would this be possible to detect?

    If any tentative estimate is used to create a prediction which does not take place in reality the initial premise is FALSE.

    To make a long story short: Jehovah's Witnesses are not much more than an organization of people who can believe the Earth is flat by writing numbers on a sheet of paper while ignoring photos from space satellites.

    Or, worse: an authoritarian regime who dominate the lives of unwitting believers who accept a long series of false premises as though they were facts.

    The Book of Genesis says of the Flood that ‘… all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered…’ Taken literally, this seems to indicate that there were 10,000 to 20,000 feet of water on the surface of the earth, equivalent to more than half a billion cubic miles of liquid! Since, according to biblical accounts, it rained for forty days and forty nights, or at least for only 960 hours, the rain must have fallen at the rate of at least fifteen feet per hour, certainly enough to sink any aircraft carrier, much less an ark with thousands of animals on board.

    – John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy

    You see, when we can test our imagined "facts" against actual facts the results can be quite devasting to our false premises.

  • yknot

    Excellent excercise as always Terry


    JW Facts= opinions reinforced with a random bible verse citation which nobody looks up along with the words or phrases below:





    We must conclude

    Therefore, it is evident

    Without question

    Without a doubt

    It is certain


  • moshe

    Terry, they need to teach the "fact or opinion" lesson in school, but they won't, as politicians don't want voters who are logical thinkers.

  • thetrueone

    Good one Terry, wrong and misleading for people to draw conclusions based on the stories from the ancients as

    being factual.

    There were indeed many embellished stories of their god ( YHWH), most likely just as other civilizations of their time.

    A fact that religionists today wont and will not acknowledge, for it would ruin the established pretense of power

    for which they extrapolate and build themselves up from. To cultivate fear you first have to establish power.

    You must admit Dam good story telling though.

  • JeffT

    When I was leaving, in the course of some research I re-read part of the '74 yearbook. Among other bits of nonsense, when discussing the 1914 prediciton it made a statement on the order of "and that year the Gentile Times did end."

    In my re-reading it struck me that they said this in the same way a historian might say "the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776." A fact, obvious. Or should I say evident. A perfect example of what you are talking about, somebody's opinion delievered as a confirmed fact.

  • sacolton

    It's like the game where you hide a ball under one of the three cups.

    The Governing Body guesses which cup has the ball ...

    Now, this "guess" is now a FACT and everyone should believe that the ball is under the cup that the Governing Body has picked.

    The cup is lifted and the ball isn't there.

    Okay, so now it's OLD LIGHT and the Governing Body choses another cup.

    This is now NEW LIGHT and a FACT and everyone should now believe that the ball is under the cup that the Governing Body has picked.

    The cup is lifted and the ball isn't there.

    Again, it becomes OLD LIGHT and no apologizes are made.

    The cups are re-shuffled and the process begins again ... over ... and over and over and over.

  • JeffT

    You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.

    – Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  • Atman

    The fact is nobody really knows and more importantly who cares?

  • Terry

    I saw identical twins seated in a shopping mall one day.

    Although they look and act exactly alike they are not the same person, of course.

    What makes each distinct from the other, I ask myself?

    The have the same family and experiences. Their parents dress them alike (because it is fun, I suppose) and refer to them as "the twins".

    The only distinguishing characteristic they definitely experience in day to day life is being called by different names and being in different locations.

    Other than that, input is the same.

    It is well known twins like to switch roles just to mess with other people.

    It is a game, of course, but--it is more than that.

    It is a scientific experiment. It tests the question of the nature of identity itself!

    If people think I'm the "other"how am I then different?

    To the outsider, a person is who others say they are and who the person himself says he is. Other than that---what does anybody have to go on, really?

    Now what is the purpose of this little scenario I run in my head?

    Just this one little thing.

    You can think whatever you want about anything or even yourself and act upon it just as though it were so---UNTIL the facts prove otherwise and you are forced to back down and re-examine your premise.

    If I tell you I'm from a wealthy family when we first meet you might treat me differently than if I'd told you I were a murderer or that I'd been separated at birth from a congenital twin who died. Why? Because the STARTING PREMISE becomes my identity and your mental filing cabinet contains a whole backstory scenario you are going to FIT ON TOP of this thing I'm telling you!

    Our conversation would take a different turn in each instance. Your attraction or repulsion would be based (in advance!) on your pre-judgement and off-the-rack premises (based on what I tell you.)

    Recently I discovered a fellow I have known since 1995 is the son of one of the wealthiest men in the world! He never mentioned it even once!

    I was shocked almost senseless when I found out. His name is Peter Buffett and he is a musician friend of mine. I just saw him recently on TV sitting next to his father, Warren Buffett. They were talking about Peter's new book.

    Why am I telling you all this in the context of the TOPIC above?

    I had a set of "facts" about Peter ENTIRELY BASED on my EXPERIENCE and conversation with him for 15 years....NONE of which included his family wealth or circumstances!

    How would I have related to him had he been a billionaire's son? How different would the course of our conversation and thoughts be?

    FACTS are two things in real life. They are LIMITED to how many we have and they are limited to how they are TESTED.

    The set of facts we had when we were Jehovah's Witnesses were limited to what we THOUGHT THEY WERE (and they weren't!).

    We acted according to our set of those (fake) facts. Our life was shaped AS THOUGH those "facts" were true.

    Now we are all walking around with our NEW set of facts (which may include fake-facts) thinking THOSE are true.

    When will we ever learn NOT to rely on untested, non-skeptical acceptance of WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW.

    How much of what we know would be changed IF we knew EVERYTHING ELSE about what we think we know?

    On a personal level, I'm very conflicted now about how to talk with Peter. Everything (and nothing) has changed simultaneously.

    Where is the change taking place? Why, inside of ME of course!

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