I would say that some (though certainly not all) of the articles presented in Witness literature can serve as a simple introduction to a topic. But that is all they are at best, simple introductions. By no means should they be taken as the equivalent of a college textbook's treatment on a subject whether presented as a single article or published as a long-running series. Then there are subjects like mathematics and science that are given a cursory treatment at best. The coverage is superficial, but artfully contrived, and so a Witness reader can easily be deluded into thinking that at the very least he is getting a firm grounding on the subject. Of course, despite all its words to the contrary, it is clear that the WTS is an anti-intellectual, anti-education organization.
What else can be said about a group that promotes its twisted and perverted idea of "full time service" as the only career worthy of pursuit? And for reasons I can't quite understand, many Witnesses I knew were almost rabid in their opposition to any kind of higher education. True, the WTS encouraged that hatred, but many had it before becoming Witnesses. Others were persuaded that with "the end of this system" so close, college was a waste of time and ability. The result has been the creation of a culture that can be used to control the thinking and emotions of its members.
I went to college twice: in my youth and middle age. The first time out, I studied chemical engineering and then metallurgy but left school without finishing. My second coming saw me earning degrees in geography and mathematics. Both experiences showed me that comparing WTS literature to college textbooks and lectures was like comparing a palace to a hovel. And when I listened to public talks that addressed areas I had studied at the university, I could easily see how inadequately and incompletely the subject was presented. Questioning the speakers afterwards showed me that they had done no further research. They had swallowed the WTS take on the matter hook, line, and sinker with no desire to learn more. What a shame!
At the same time, Band on the Run makes a good point about the lacunae many present-day American college students possess. I knew geography majors who could not recognize states when shown their unlabeled maps. They did not know what caused the seasons and were astounded when I told them that Earth was closer to the Sun in January than in July. I knew math students who barely understood algebra, geometry, and trigonometry and wondered why they were doing so poorly in differential and integral calculus. Yet despite these deficiencies, they were still light-years ahead of the average Witness. More's the pity.
But what is most disgusting to me about the WTS take on higher education and its contention that its literature is the equal of a college education, is the hypocrisy that arises when the Society undertakes a complicated project. Then the call goes out for college-educated people to give of their time and knowledge. If your education has been limited to reading WTS literature, your help is not wanted unless you serve as a water-carrier or wood-chopper, so to speak. While calling for experts, the Society simultaneously warns any Witness who may be thinking of getting a college education so he or she can have this knowledge and/or a good career that such pursuits are in vain given that the 'end is so close'. Apparently, it isn't so close that the Society can't pursue its objectives. Sadly, most Witnesses never notice how the organization talks out of both sides of its mouth with respect to higher education, or call them to account for it.