Further thoughts on "The Origin of Life" booklet

by Doug Mason 2 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    In my previous Thread on “The Origin of Life”, I expressed my concern that Endnotes [1]a, [2]a, and [7]a, are not referenced within the body of the text. This is also true for Endnotes [25]a, [39]a, [39]b, [39]c, and [51]a.

    I have a hypothesis which, although strange, is feasible: each of these Endnotes is an Endnote (or Footnote) of the prior Endnote. For example Endnote [1]a is actually the Endnote/Footnote to Endnote 1, not to the main text. This would mean that each is provided without reason or explanation.


    The key to understanding the brochure, “The Origin of Life” (whose name is a parody of Charles Darwin’s epic work), lies with two pairs of paragraphs on pages 13 and 22. The first of the paragraphs opens with “What do scientists claim?” while the following paragraph opens with “What does the Bible say?” Scientists only make “claims”, they only say what they “believe”, whereas the Bible “says”. The Bible is the authority.

    The author therefore only needs to debunk scientists’ “claims” without having to provide an equivalent forensic examination of the Bible (let alone explain why they use the Christendom Protestant Bible). All the author has to do is keep throwing darts at scientists, while at the same time make full use of their scientific knowledge to show that “what the Bible says is scientifically accurate” (page 30).

    Since the author starts with the position that the Bible is the authoritative source, there is no need to draw on the support of any Creation scientist. To be seen to be aligned with Evangelicals, in any case, would be somewhat embarrassing, to say the least. Therefore, at the outset the author distances the brochure from “religious groups who want to have creation taught in schools” (page 3)

    These predispositions set the brochure’s parameters: Use science and the Bible to attack scientists, all the while keeping well clear of all other religions that defend Biblical authority on creation.


    Apart from the nebulous process described at the start of this piece, the author’s methods of citing and representing sources are illustrated on page 21:

    “More recently, noted philosopher Antony Flew, who advocated atheism for 50 years, did an about-face of sorts. At 81 years of age, he began to express a belief that some intelligence must have been at work in the creation of life. Why the change? A study of DNA. When asked if his new line of thought might prove unpopular among scientists, Flew reportedly answered: ‘That’s too bad. My whole life has been guided by the principle … [to] follow the evidence, wherever it leads’.” (Associated Press Newswires, “Famous Atheist Now Believes in God,” by Richard N. Ostling, December 9, 2004).

    The article is accessible at: http://s8int.com/Godexists.html and it shows that the full quotation is actually: “If his belief upsets people, well ‘that’s too bad,’ Flew said. ‘My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads’.” “I’m thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins,” he said. “It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose.” …

    A different article shows what the brochure means with “an about-face of sorts”:

    “To make things perfectly clear, he told me: ‘I understand why Christians are excited, but if they think I am going to become a convert to Christ in the near future, they are very much mistaken.’ … Flew is not worried about impending death or post-mortem salvation. ‘I don’t want a future life. I have never wanted a future life,’ he told me. He assured the reporter for The Times: ‘I want to be dead when I’m dead and that’s an end to it.’ He even ended an interview with the Humanist Network News by stating: ‘Goodbye. We shall never meet again’.” (http://evidenceforchristianity.org/michael-flew-world-famed-atheist-now-believes-in-god/ ). In Flew’s book, available for download at https://www.difa3iat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/There-is-a-God.pdf , pages 74-75 he explicitly credits DNA for his change. He died aged 84.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    There are generic issues that affect the nature of the brochure. The WTS always starts from its position, with the conclusion it is determined to reach. It then seeks support, whether this is through the use of selective Biblical texts or even through the misrepresentation or mistranslation of Scriptural texts. I do not accept this practice, but nevertheless it is acknowledged that this was the process used by writers of the New Testament. These people, such as the Gospel writers and Paul, had come to conclusions about Jesus Christ and they then “searched the scriptures”. Matthew is notorious for the way Hebrew Scriptures texts were misapplied.

    Because the WTS operates this way, in seeking support for a predetermined conclusion, they are vehemently opposed to Higher Criticism, which for me is the only way to understand the Biblical writings. A true scientist looks at all of the evidence and then creates hypotheses leading to conclusions (“theories”). That is the way Higher Criticism operates, termed “exegesis”. The WTS, however, does not do this, and I classify their methodology as “eisegesis” and as “begging the question” (look up the true meaning of that expression).


    It seems to me that because the Biblical account links creation with fully formed beasts and humans, this forces the brochure’s inability to make the distinction between the creation of life and the subsequent development of living beings.

    “The more that scientists discover about life, the less likely it appears that it could arise by chance. To sidestep this dilemma, some evolutionary scientists would like to make a distinction between the theory of evolution and the question of the origin of life. But does that sound reasonable to you?” (The Origin of Life?, page 12)

    Yes, that sounds absolutely reasonable to me, Mister Watchtower. So are we now determining “truth” on what sounds “reasonable”?

    The scientists discussed in the brochure accept Evolution. But each scientist has a different view on the mechanism that gave rise to the presence of life on planet Earth. Yes, it is most reasonable to separate the origin of life on Earth from the subsequent development.


    Let us accept for one fleeting moment that life commenced on Earth because of the actions by a supernatural energy. Some give this energy the term “God”, or “Gods”. Questions that quickly flow include:

    1. Who created this energy?

    2. Is this supernatural energy comprehensible in human terms?

    3. How many sources of supernatural energy exist? How do we know? Why?

  • Phizzy

    I had quite a long conversation with an annoying JW Elder a couple of years ago about the existence of god and the origin of life.

    He simply took up a faith position, somewhat akin to Intelligent Design, and would not consider any Scientific proof as of any value.

    What finally stumped him was when I said, " O.K, so just say I accept their was a Creator, what is the connection between this Creator and your god, Jehovah ? How do you know they are one and the same ?".

    We had already established that he could not use the Bible as valid proof, of anything. He got that "Deer ( or Rabbit) in the Headlights " look and said no more. Pity really, I could have directed him to some good material on the origin and evolution of Yahweh.

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