This question is specifically asked of JW-apologists, but anyone's response is greatly appreciated.
Is all evil in the world the result of humankind's sin?
The watchtower teaches that the earth is old (in agreement with science), but that humankind is young (6,000 years as of 1975). Since they wish to have an old earth however, it is necessary to say that each day of creation is longer than an actual day- various figures are given I believe.
I believe I am correct in saying that the logical conclusion must be that animals existed for a long time prior to the events in the Garden of Eden and the sinning of human beings. There is at least one Awake article about this time period, explaining that animals back then only ate plants - and it was only humankind's sin which tainted the rest of creation and caused animals to start killing each other.
There are huge problems with this. Two examples are the extremely efficient killing designs of many animals and the simple fact that the animal/plant classification is only a human invention. There are many species of bacteria which could not be classified as plant/animal (they produce their own food via photosynthesis, but they are animal-like in other ways, such as locomotion).
Recognizing this, scientists have five kingdoms, but even then they acknowledge that these are just arbitrary classifications. Slime molds are a great example. In many ways they are like plants, in many ways they are like animals. Was the majestic slime mold fair prey prior to sin or not? Furthermore there are plants, such as the Venus Fly Trap, which kill animals in order to survive.
That is all a bit of an aside however. My question is- is suffering, pain, and death evil or not?
A lot of JW theology says that it is, that it arose only because of human sin. But if suffering and death are evil, then they should not have existed prior to humankind's fall into sin, and they should not exist in the New Order. However, I seem to recall that the society teaches that animals will continue to die after Armaggedon (only they will no longer eat each other). Furthermore, fossils clearly indicate animals diead prior to 6,000 years ago. From this it seems that death, for animals, is not intrinsically evil, and that it existed prior to sin, and will exist after the world is recreated perfect.
How though will/did animals die? Will they all merely die quietly "in their sleep"? If we have abolished predator/prey relationships I should think that disease and parasites are also done away with. But prior to Adam's sin surely there were things like earthquakes and fires on the earth (very necessary if JW's agree with science's picture of creation minus evolution). Surely animals were caught and killed by such events and suffered great pain and anguish? Alternatively, did no animal ever fall off of something and suffer that way before dying?
And yet evil was not in the world yet. Therefore this suffering cannot be evil...
Have you ever watched an animal die in pain. Is this good? Is this beautiful? No, our instincts tell us that this is bad, that this suffering is evil. It is comforting to read in the Bible that it was only sin which brought such suffering into the world- but this is clearly an unsupportable position, and we must look elsewhere if we are to explain some of the evil and pain in the world.