If you don't mind I'll share another gem from my review of the latest Watchtower study editions (July to October '11).
One article which seemed riddled with flawed reasoning and bizarre analogies was entitled "The Internet - Making Wise Use of a Global Tool" on page 3 of the August 15th Watchtower.
Under the heading "Information - Reliable or False?" it has the following to say:
"Never assume that all information found on the Internet is good and beneficial. Internet search engines might be compared to a legion of mushroom pickers who tirelessly collect all types of mushrooms - edible as well as poisonous - throwing them into a single container and dishing them out for us to eat."
On the surface this seems like a well considered illustration (if your goal is to foster paranoia against the internet), but the next statement blows a massive hole in the entire analogy...
"Would you start eating these mushrooms without carefully examining each one? Of course not! Internet search engines use a huge number of computers to harvest or select from billions of Web pages containing everything from the very best to the very worst. We need discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were, lest we poison our minds with mis-information."
The paradox in this illustration is clear. The only way to find out whether the 'mushrooms' or search results are 'poisonous' or not is to "carefully examine each one"!! How exactly does one go about carefully examining each search result thrown up by a search engine such as Google without actually clicking on each and every single search result and reading through the content in depth so as to ascertain its worthiness?! Surely this defeats the original goal of the illustration, which was clearly to warn people away from indiscriminate use of search engines, lest they "poison our minds with mis-information."
The article goes on to say:
"Do not become an "Internet Eve." Be critical and suspicious of the information. Before trusting it, ask: (1) Who published this material? What are the author's credentials? (2) Why was this published? What motivated the writer? Is there any bias? (3) Where did the author get the information? Does he supply sources that can be checked? (4) Is the information current?"
I know what you're thinking, why not apply the society's criteria for checking what's on the internet with its own writings?!
- Who published this material? Anonymous authors hiding behind a huge billion-dollar corporation. What are the author's credentials? Appointed by the Governing Body to write various articles/books, and in doing so helping the Governing Body to fulfil its official role as representatives of a larger group of spirit-anointed individuals who it never speaks to.
- Why was it published? To maintain 'organisational unity'. What motivated the writer? A powerful psychological grip on seven and a half million people, combined with an overwhelming desire to maintain the status quo whatever the consequences to individual followers. Is there any bias? Always, especially in favour of exalting the organisation and its glorious history.
- Where did the author get the information? The governing body, because whatever it says is true and trustworthy even when it later turns out to be false. Does he supply sources that can be checked? If you count misquoted secular publications, then yes.
- Is the information current? Yes it's always current in that it continually shifts from previous assertions under the guise of the flawed doctrine of "increasing light".
The article concludes with a thinly-veiled attempt to put people off using the internet altogether:
"So, then, what should we do with regard to the Internet? Shun it altogether? That may be necessary in some cases. The Internet junkie mentioned earlier did that in order to overcome years of addiction. On the other hand, using the Internet can benefit us, provided we let 'thinking ability keep guard over us and discernment safeguard us.'-Prov. 2:10, 11."
The message is clear - "Yes, you can use the internet so long as you use it on our terms. Otherwise we would recommend that you refrain from using it altogether, incase you find out something that we don't want you to know."