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  #11  
Old 18th August 2014, 03:36 PM
Dannoob Dannoob is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

Thanks for the replies and the advice.
Everyday for the last six months I've been listening to atheist experience, dogma debate, and thinking atheist. I also have spent hours reading from iron chariots and talk origins and have since started studying biology. Is this confirmation bias? Should I be trying to balance the information more? I did try some apologetics websites to counter my views but the arguments were really shallow.
I really respect the atheist/sceptic position to be honest enough to say "like don't know" and open to learning. I'm trying to apply this in every aspect of my life.
I'm not sure if it's my sheltered upbringing but is it really so rare to think critically in most aspects of life? How do you stop the deliberate ignorance of others from driving you getting you down? Are there any other podcasts or websites that you'd recommend? Finally if there's anything else JW related to ask, feel free.
Thanks again everyone.
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  #12  
Old 18th August 2014, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

It is difficult to balance the debate, so to speak, when there is no evidence other than the bible and wishful thinking on one side.
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  #13  
Old 18th August 2014, 05:14 PM
the_gelf the_gelf is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

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Dannoob said View Post
Thanks for the replies and the advice.
Everyday for the last six months I've been listening to atheist experience, dogma debate, and thinking atheist. I also have spent hours reading from iron chariots and talk origins and have since started studying biology. Is this confirmation bias? Should I be trying to balance the information more? I did try some apologetics websites to counter my views but the arguments were really shallow.
I really respect the atheist/sceptic position to be honest enough to say "like don't know" and open to learning. I'm trying to apply this in every aspect of my life.
I'm not sure if it's my sheltered upbringing but is it really so rare to think critically in most aspects of life? How do you stop the deliberate ignorance of others from driving you getting you down? Are there any other podcasts or websites that you'd recommend? Finally if there's anything else JW related to ask, feel free.
Thanks again everyone.

I don't feel it's necessary to explore apologetics, but explore

1) why those apologetics are inherently false
2) the motivations of people who try to defend a supposedly all-powerful being
3) why they believe one book instead of 10000 books (science)

From the sounds of it you're done an incredible amount of reading and research before joining this forum - now all you need to do now is understand how you got to where you are now, and why thse people who are still JWs are still JWs. What is different? Atheist experience #879 - yesterday's broadcast talks about a very good book http://www.michaelshermer.com/2002/0...-weird-things/

As my grounding is in science (I am a person who will nominate themselves as being 7.1 on the Dawkins scale) I haven't as much motivation to read related books as others on this forum who were not lucky enough to have been granted a virtually-free education and interest in this area (my specialty being physics, dissertation in isotope science with specialisation in quantum mechanics, nucleosynthesis and general relativity)

To stop the overwhelming depression of dealing with the stupid, join an atheist group and go have lunch with them. You then get to learn that they've come from a huge spectrum of backgrounds - only in the last couple of years did it become important to me - before then I lived in my own bubble, ignorant to the fact that others don't get the same opportunities I was privy to.

I guess the other facets of JWs that I am interested iun would be : what other parts of your doctrine would you consider now to be absolutely insane? Or some that you still have doubts about or are unsure? Are tehere things in that culture that seemed normal 6, 12, 18, 60 months ago, that you have difficulty reconciling? Is it true what I knwo in rumour only, that a large portion of income would be spent on proseltysing and propaganda? Is there some supplementary texts you are given? (as per a girl a know who attends a Catholic doctrine school (she identifies as Christian, not Catholic) told me that the school gave them a booklet of implied 'values' (i.e. stuff not written in the official bible).

Which version do JWs consider the 'true' bible text (we touched on this when talking about literalist/seroius viewpoint.

How are children initiated/indoctrinated into JW-ism? Are there 'rites of passage' 'JW-camp' 'graduation (consecration/communion ceremonies)? Are there different levels of association (such as in Scientology), is there a master invigilator (catholicism) or is it guerilla-style sects (muslims imams)? Or different altogether?
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  #14  
Old 18th August 2014, 09:29 PM
stevebrooks stevebrooks is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

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I did try some apologetics websites to counter my views but the arguments were really shallow.
If god were real apologetics would not be necessary, the theist could just point his/her finger (metaphorically speaking, I really mean "show us the evidence") and that would be that.
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Old 19th August 2014, 12:55 PM
Dannoob Dannoob is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

I take your point on the debate being one sided. I suppose as a bit a side effect of so confident for so long and being wrong about damn near everything, I'm a little cautious about becoming dogmatic. This isn't to say I'm not confident about my new world view. I can back up my agnostic atheism far better then any religious view i've ever held.

I have considered why apologetic arguments are inherently false. The common problem i've noticed is that they're based either on false premises or untestable premises. At best they seem to posit a possibiity, not a probability, of a god.
Are there any other commonalities i could reasearch?

I struggle to understand other peoples motives. I felt like i had a mental disorder (and actually saw a psycologist) because i couldn't relate to how others around me made decisions and formed beliefs. Everything seemed to be informed by emotion and then buttressed with justification. I just don't value emotion over accuracy. I've always felt a little emotionally retarded because i tend to sit in the middle of the emotional spectrum. i don't really get angry or extatic. I didn't like it when people wrongly assumed my motives when i started investigating my doubts so i try not to do the same. I am curious what makes others tick though.

1 book instead of 10 000? I like that line. Can i use it? I'll think about this point more.

I've got Micheal Shermers "skepticism 101" lectures in which he refers to that book. I'll definatly read it.

One of my biggest regrets is the time i've lost learning and spreading baseless claims. I've always loved math and physics because of their imperical nature. i hope to be able to study them properly one day. I never really respected biology until tryed to accuratly understand evolution. (Initally to disprove it. Backfire.) Thats why i'm studying it now. So many things i once dismissed are now facinating.
I have a physics related question. In a recent discussion with one of the elders he claimed that the 2nd law of thermodynamics implied a creator. My response was that kelvin's laws were purely descriptive and there is no reason to assume that they aren't emergent soley within our universe. I also sited about ten examples of order and complexity increasing in several feilds once energy acts in conjunction with natural laws.He said that emergent natural laws were untestable. I agreed that it might be but it was a far more simple explanation than God. Was my reasoning correct? Is it testable?

My "insane" JW belief list:
Homophobia
Sexism
Claimed moral decline of scociety
Justification of God's immorality

Things i still question.
I don't really have any lingering doubts about my old beliefs specifically, but more generally:
Does it matter if what you believe is true if it makes you happy and dosen't effect others?
It does for me, but why is this such a minority view?
Is it a minority view?
Is it possible to disrespect a person's ideas without disrespecting the person?

JW operational details.
All donations are voluntary. There's no passing of a plate or anything similar. Spending as much time as possible preaching is really pushed so that could count sacrificing income. I now see it as a very well run advertising agency. The people doing the work seem happy to volunteer their time because they sincerely believe they are saving peoples lives.
The bible is claimed as the ultimate authority but there is a huge amount of additional information. They've been pushing their jw.org site lately. This has an online library but it only goes back 25 years or so.

They take the entire bible (hebrew and greek) as a true text and feel that Jehovah, through his spirit, has reveales the correct "interpretion" to the governing body (small group of men at the headquarters in America) They initally used the king james version of the bible but now have their own "new world translation" which has recently been revised.

There aren't rites of passage. Baptism is supposed to be voluntary but it's pretty much expected of you by your early 20's. Most I know are baptised around age 18.
I'm running short of time. I'll cover more of you're questions in my next post or edit this one later.
Thanks.
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  #16  
Old 19th August 2014, 03:35 PM
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Strato Strato is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

I admire intellectual courage, Dannoob, cheers,

What makes people tick in the case of the enduring allure and snare of the Watchtower, is the relevant question. Critiquing the teachings is secondary. All cults and sects within religions have their distinctive doctrines, which is all relative.

I think it says everything about credulity, gullibility and the power of memes operating within cultures and religions. Richard Dawkins originated the concept of the 'meme' in his seminal classic, 'The Selfish Gene,' 1975. A meme is a cultural self replicator which inhabits minds and gets itself transmitted. That is not to say it is conscious or possesses intentionality. Memes behave like genes. There are good and bad memes. Universal Human Rights is a good meme we should spread.

What makes people vulnerable to cults? Well it would be that they are rather profoundly uneducated. Or it is inculcated into them from their nurture environment. I don't wish to be one of them, so I read about evolution and critical material that will inform me and how I think. I was a Christian. I have been much edified by discourse and links put up here on the Forums. I am now used to applying myself to reading through a long article.

Religion is formulaic. Satan is taught as the embodiment of evil with power over we fallen, creaturely humans. All the doctrine rides on the assumption of spirituality, to be accepted, believed; faith. Also we too readily embrace artificial structures, constructs to systematize and regulate our mental life, our individual lives and society. It's about what's proscribed, strictures, not about what's permitted.

Religious teaching is a story. We love stories. I love evolution, the account of Life, but I know that story to be true. I recommend 'The Ancestor's Tale, ' Richard Dawkins.

Religion provides members with belonging, no matter how maladaptive and constraining that can be. Baptism is a rite of passage. I love Anthropology, Philosophy, Social Sciences. It taught me about critical thinking and the being human and about convention and custom, relative culture.

Dawkins also said, 'There are a lot more ways of being dead than of being alive.' The odds of you or I of being alive and a healthy, viable specimen of the species, are extremely small! That sperm among trillions, that ovum, those parents who happened to meet and mate. There have been several mass extinctions in the Earth's past, meteorites, Ice Ages. Life survives and proliferates; resilient self-replicating genes.

Mother Nature (a lovely metaphor) has endowed we humans through natural selection, with our awesome intellectual capacity, our amazing potential for cognition and understanding. For the Watchtower to promulgate that 'independent thinking,' as opposed to 'dependent thinking,' must be shunned, is our worst enemy, our undoing, is as pernicious as it gets, an intellectual straight-jacket.
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  #17  
Old 19th August 2014, 04:55 PM
the_gelf the_gelf is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

As a tip, learn to use the quote+ multiquote function, it does make conversation much easier to follow, epsecially if you are replying to multipl people at once

Quote:
Dannoob said View Post

I have considered why apologetic arguments are inherently false. The common problem i've noticed is that they're based either on false premises or untestable premises. At best they seem to posit a possibiity, not a probability, of a god.
Are there any other commonalities i could reasearch?
Apologetics inherently deal with hand waving that the subject (god in this case) isn't bound by the same rules used to found the argument. The lord works in mysterious ways. Translation: I don't know the answer, so I'll spoonfeed some bs you can't argue with

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Dannoob said View Post
I struggle to understand other peoples motives. I felt like i had a mental disorder (and actually saw a psycologist) because i couldn't relate to how others around me made decisions and formed beliefs. Everything seemed to be informed by emotion and then buttressed with justification. I just don't value emotion over accuracy. I've always felt a little emotionally retarded because i tend to sit in the middle of the emotional spectrum. i don't really get angry or extatic. I didn't like it when people wrongly assumed my motives when i started investigating my doubts so i try not to do the same. I am curious what makes others tick though.
Kudos to you for being able to identify and tackle your (perceived) issues head on.
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Dannoob said View Post
1 book instead of 10 000? I like that line. Can i use it? I'll think about this point more.
Absolutely

Quote:
Dannoob said View Post
One of my biggest regrets is the time i've lost learning and spreading baseless claims. I've always loved math and physics because of their imperical nature. i hope to be able to study them properly one day. I never really respected biology until tryed to accuratly understand evolution. (Initally to disprove it. Backfire.) Thats why i'm studying it now. So many things i once dismissed are now facinating.
We all have regrets about things we wanted to do. HIndsight being 20/20.
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Dannoob said View Post
I have a physics related question. In a recent discussion with one of the elders he claimed that the 2nd law of thermodynamics implied a creator. My response was that kelvin's laws were purely descriptive and there is no reason to assume that they aren't emergent soley within our universe. I also sited about ten examples of order and complexity increasing in several feilds once energy acts in conjunction with natural laws.He said that emergent natural laws were untestable. I agreed that it might be but it was a far more simple explanation than God. Was my reasoning correct? Is it testable?
Every law or theory in physics (and in science) is a classifcation on how sure we are that something is true.

A law is something we know to be as true as possible. It does not describe something "that is forever and immutable" It is absolutely 100% testable. That's why it's a law. It means that for all conditions you specify, the behaviour holds true.

A very good example of this is the law of gravity.
Galilieo devised a way to measure gravity.
During Newton's era, he devised the law of gravity between two bodies.

A few hundred years later, Einstein posited that gravity works differently than had been first though, however tehcnology had not caught up with his idea.

The observation was proved when it was shown that light is affected by a large mass (in his case, using the sun as a lens to observe a distant light source (star)

Newton's law wasn't wrong, it just defined a conclusion on observations within a specific frame of reference. The frame of reference was expanded in Einstein's theory to include light (which Newton had not considered to be particle in nature - nor could he have ever known)



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Does it matter if what you believe is true if it makes you happy and dosen't effect others?
If that belief isn't grounded in reality, yes. As it tends to snowball into more magical thinking. And magical thinking is dangerous as it allows cognitive dissonance and abstraction from reality. There isn't a single belief that doesn't affect others. Unless you never have contact with another person again.


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Dannoob said View Post
It does for me, but why is this such a minority view?
I am against one person's social club being funded by the government. I'm not sure it is so much a view, rather than (unintended) ignorance of the harm it can cause. Like homoeopathy, crystals and faith healing being used in place of medicine.
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Dannoob said View Post
Is it a minority view?
Not among skeptics. To some people it is just not something they ever thinking about critically. Like how much I care about the footy results ( ?I have no interest in footy). Or ice hockey.

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Dannoob said View Post
Is it possible to disrespect a person's ideas without disrespecting the person?
Absolutely! I respect your right to hold your belief, but not the beliefs themselves.

This is very pertinent to myself conversing with ex-religionites (many on this forum). They are not shy in reminding me that the term 'fundy wackjob' that I might use could have described some of them five years ago.

Holding this tenet of politness allows for conversations between two individuals who maintain different beliefs. But it works both ways - the other person must respect your right to beleive what you want to.

Hitchens famously spoke about allowing the crazy person in the room heard[this is a paraphrase]. Criticism of that person's idea must be given equal voice. Freedom of speech allows us to criticise others viewpoints.
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  #18  
Old 20th August 2014, 01:21 PM
Dannoob Dannoob is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

Thanks again for the reply. I'll try to sort out the quote+.
Quote:
A law is something we know to be as true as possible. It does not describe something "that is forever and immutable" It is absolutely 100% testable. That's why it's a law. It means that for all conditions you specify, the behaviour holds true.

A very good example of this is the law of gravity.
Galilieo devised a way to measure gravity.
During Newton's era, he devised the law of gravity between two bodies.

A few hundred years later, Einstein posited that gravity works differently than had been first though, however tehcnology had not caught up with his idea.

The observation was proved when it was shown that light is affected by a large mass (in his case, using the sun as a lens to observe a distant light source (star)

Newton's law wasn't wrong, it just defined a conclusion on observations within a specific frame of reference. The frame of reference was expanded in Einstein's theory to include light (which Newton had not considered to be particle in nature - nor could he have ever known)
Is there any reason to assume that the laws we observe in this universe hold in all possible universes?
Can our observable laws have any implications beyond (or before) our universe or is the universe our reference frame?
This was the untestable I was referring to. The elder i was speaking to was making the first cause argument. I'd just never heard anyone use thermodymanics to prove it.
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  #19  
Old 20th August 2014, 02:31 PM
Dannoob Dannoob is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

Quote:
Mother Nature (a lovely metaphor) has endowed we humans through natural selection, with our awesome intellectual capacity, our amazing potential for cognition and understanding. For the Watchtower to promulgate that 'independent thinking,' as opposed to 'dependent thinking,' must be shunned, is our worst enemy, our undoing, is as pernicious as it gets, an intellectual straight-jacket.
This makes a lot of sense. This sums up the witness view of independent thinking and it's dangers very well. It always made me feel uneasy and seeing it in writing helps my straighten it out in my mind. Thank you.
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Old 20th August 2014, 03:08 PM
wadaye wadaye is offline
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Default Re: ex JW points to clarify

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Thanks for the link. I have seen this write up before. I'd imagine the average education level is no higher than hsc. That said I do know of a few highly educated people but usually they got their education before becoming a. JW.They used to strongly advise against university education. The line was just aim for a job that allows you to spend more time preaching. I think their softening this view a little now.
The views on independent thinking is probably main reason I started to question everything. I mentioned to a few elders that if we have truth on our side it should mean our views should be able to be questioned and the truth should shine through. The usual response was that it would be arrogant to assume that our reasoning ability could stand Satan's. Often I was told that independent thinking is what made the devil who he is. This just sounded like scare tactics to me not to mention it's just plain condescending.
I could only speculate on the psychological state of the average witness. They seem happy in general but I also many cases of depression. I've heard it said that that two of the three predictors are having a purpose and a tight nit social group. Everyone I spoke to eventually realised that happiness is more important to them than real truth.
Hi Dannob
The racism is implicit in the idea that a handful of white men from New York can tell everybody else in the world how to think and live, and send out missionaries to convert them to this way of thinking.

My late wife was a JW so I know well what is involved in "bible studies". It's all about sitting down being told this or that absolute truth.

When a person can recite back the correct code and abandon every other principle in life, they are ready for baptism. When they fitted themselves into this intellectually backward mold completely and can sprout it with conviction, then the men among them are ready for positions of leadership as elders, overseers, etcetera, I forget the exact terminology.


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