Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Evolution – Debunked

“Hello Sir, do you have five minutes to
talk about evolution?” “Yeah…” “Basically, I follow the imperfect teachings
of Charles Darwin, and the vast accumulation of evidence since his day, and I have a wonderful
message for you.” “…” “The universe WASN’T created
with you in mind (isn’t that amazing?); there’s NO objective evidence to indicate
that you’re going to see your deceased loved ones; and when you die you die… your consciousness
ends forever (isn’t that amazing!).” “Did you just say that universe wasn’t
created with me in mind?” “Yes!” “Such arrogance!” *Sigh*… “Truth is harder to sell that fiction, folks.” A few days ago two lovely Jehovah’s witnesses
knocked on my door and preached the bible, and I, being the dude I am, invited them in
for tea, cake, and a jolly good conversation. Long story short, I conveyed why exactly I
believe that the existence of evil is incompatible with an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god,
and they conveyed why exactly they reject evolution… because to them, if evolution
is wrong, then Jehovah must be right (even though this is a rather obvious Black & White
fallacy). Anyhow, one of them described himself as an
“ex-evolutionist” (which is a claim that a lot of creationists make), but when I asked
him to explain what evolution is, he couldn’t. He said “It’s the belief that random chance,
all by itself, produced all forms of life”, and then went on to say “It’s the belief
that lighting struck a puddle and then BANG… life came to be.” Now this is the problem with creationists…
they DON’T understand evolution by natural selection, and one of the primary reasons
for this is that they’re victims of propaganda; their sources of knowledge are creationist
websites, which deliberately misrepresent evolution in order to make it easier to attack. Hence, when pressed, the “ex-evolutionist”
insisted that I visit for “the facts” on evolution. Well, I’ve done just that, and… (“If I only had a brain”)… this is Jehovah’s
Evolution – Debunked. If you visit (“Just […] don’t
[…] do it!”), you’ll likely notice that it prominently features many of its Watchtower
brochures and booklets, and the one I was directed to is titled “Was Life Created?” It contains many chapters, such as “Who
designed it first” (because, you know, loaded questions are fun), but the chapter I’m
going to focus on is titled “Evolution – Myths and Facts”. It opens with a quote from Richard Dawkins
– that being “Evolution is as much a fact as the heat of the sun”, and I want to open
by explaining why exactly Richard is correct (as, if I’m honest, this is a convenient
way to refresh everyone, including myself, of all the key-terms). Evolution simply means “Biological change
over generations”, and a fact (in science) means “An objective and verifiable observation”,
and so since it’s objectively the case that organisms biologically change over generations,
evolution is therefore a fact – it’s as much a fact, as Richard said, as the heat
of the sun. The scientific theory as to WHY this change
happens is of course natural selection, but Jehovah’s Witnesses (and creationists in
general) confuse and conflate these terms, and truth be told, most of them don’t even
understand what a scientific theory is. To put it bluntly, evolution is a theory in
the same sense that Einstein’s General Relativity is a theory (which is to say that in everyday
colloquial language, it’s a fact, but scientifically speaking, it’s a theory). Anyhow, there’s a lot to get through here,
and so I’m going to fast-forward to the alleged “myths.” “In reality, though, the teaching of evolution
rests on three myths. Consider the following. Myth 1. Mutations provide the raw materials needed
to create new species. The teaching of macroevolution is built on
the claim that mutations—random changes in the genetic code of plants and animals—can
produce not only new species but also entirely new families of plants and animals.” So first off, evolution DOESN’T rest on
the proposition that GENETIC MUTATIONS can produce new species (again, evolution is just
the observation that organisms change over generations, and that’s it). Secondly, the theory of natural selection
ALSO doesn’t rest on this proposition… random mutations play a vital part, of course, but
what causes speciation is natural selection; the organisms with mutations best suited to
their environment have a greater chance of surviving to reproductive age, and hence their
genes (and mutations) have a greater chance of making it into the next generation. Or to put it metaphorically, genetic mutation
is the fuel to the fire, but natural selection is the engine. “But do mutations really produce entirely
new species? What has a century of study in the field of
genetic research revealed? […] the data now gathered from some 100 years of mutation
research in general and 70 years of mutation breeding in particular enable scientists to
draw conclusions regarding the ability of mutations to produce new species. After examining the evidence, [Wolf-Ekkehard]
Lönnig concluded: “Mutations cannot transform an original species [of plant or animal] into
an entirely new one. This conclusion agrees with all the experiences
and results of mutation research of the 20th century taken together as well as with the
laws of probability.” So, can mutations cause one species to evolve
into a completely new kind of creature? The evidence answers no!” So first off, Wolf has been discredited, and
most of his publications are in NON-scientific journals, and so quoting him as if he’s
the be all and end all of evolution is barely an Appeal to Authority Fallacy. Secondly, and more importantly, notice that
the Watchtower’s conclusion didn’t address the supposed myth – that being “Mutations
provide the raw materials needed to create new species”, instead, it concluded by saying
“Can mutations cause one species to evolve into a completely new kind of creature? The evidence answers no!” Indeed, the evidence suggests that mutations
ALONE won’t cause speciation, but here’s the thing… no one asserts as much! However, as for mutations providing raw materials
to create new species, this is not only overwhelmingly supported by the evidence, it’s a scientific
fact. When organisms reproduce, the offspring receives
a copy of its parent’s DNA, and sometimes the copy isn’t perfect (it’s mutated)
– and these mutations can be beneficial, detrimental, or neutral, but in any case,
they ARE the “raw materials” needed for natural selection to create new species. Hence, and to say it again, mutations are
the fuel to the engine of natural selection. With that, let’s move onto myth 2: “Myth
2. Natural selection led to the creation of new
species. Darwin believed that what he called natural
selection would favour those life-forms best suited to the environment, whereas less suitable
life-forms would eventually die off. Modern evolutionists teach that as species
spread and became isolated, natural selection chose the ones with gene mutations that made
them capable of surviving in their new environment […] What proof do evolutionists provide
to support the claim that natural selection chooses beneficial mutations to produce new
species? A brochure published in 1999 by the National
Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the United States refers to “the 13 species of finches–”
You know, I’m going to do you favour and skip The Watchtower’s misrepresentation
of the NAS, by simply straight-up presenting an example of speciation by natural selection. The Greenish Warbler is a “kind” of bird
that evidently first emerged in the Southern Himalayas, but over generations expanded east
and west around the mountains, slowly adapting (or evolving) to their new environments. Eventually, many generations later, both started
inhabiting the lands north of the mountains, but curiously, they couldn’t successfully
reproduce. They were, and still are, by definition, different
species. But here’s the thing, they’re not necessarily
different “kinds”, because the word “kind” is ambiguous! It’s arbitrary! We say, for example, that Sheep and Goats
are different kinds, but guess what? They can successfully interbreed and produce
fertile offspring, and so while we refer to them as different “kinds”, they’re technically
the same species. For what it’s worth, if you want a more
in-depth debunk of the term “kind” then please check out my now quite dated video,
titled Macroevolution Cannot Occur – Debunked. “So, does natural selection really create
entirely new species? Decades ago, evolutionary biologist George
Christopher Williams began questioning whether natural selection had such power. In 1999, evolutionary theorist Jeffrey H.
Schwartz wrote that natural selection may be helping species adapt to the changing demands
of existence, but it is not creating anything new.” Now, I found this quote from Jeffrey to be
quite peculiar (given that he definitely accepts evolution by natural selection), and so I
did some research, and as it turns out, he’s actually replied DIRECTLY to this quote by
saying “This reference is taken out of context from my book Sudden Origins”, and hence,
the Watchtower is guilty of quote mining. And as for them referencing George (“Evolutionary
biologist George Christopher Williams began questioning whether natural selection had
such power”), they’ve done so simply to seem more credible. The fact of the matter is that George also
accepted speciation via natural selection, and once wrote “Darwin based his theory
on generalizations that were strictly empirical. You can go out and see that organisms do vary,
that variations are inherited, and that every organism is capable of increasing its numbers
in sufficiently favourable circumstances.” This quote mining from The Watchtower is pretty
damn despicable. “Myth 3. The fossil record documents macroevolutionary
changes. The previously mentioned NAS brochure leaves
the reader with the impression that the fossils found by scientists more than adequately document
macroevolution. It declares: “So many intermediate forms
have been discovered between fish and amphibians, between amphibians and reptiles, between reptiles
and mammals, and along the primate lines of descent that it often is difficult to identify
categorically when the transition occurs from one to another particular species.” “The facts. The confident statement made by the NAS brochure
is quite surprising. Why? Niles Eldredge, a staunch evolutionist, states
that the fossil record shows, not that there is a gradual accumulation of change, but that
for long periods of time, “little or no evolutionary change accumulates in most species.” So, you probably won’t be surprised to hear
that likewise to the previous references to evolutionary biologists, this is yet another
act of quote mining… but do you know what? It’s one the most egregious I’ve ever
seen. Niles, along with Stephen Jay Gould, is responsible
for the theory of punctuated equilbrium, which, put simply, proposes that evolution occurs
primarily through short bursts of intense speciation, followed by lengthy periods of
stasis or equilibrium – and what’s happened here is that the Watchtower has taken a quote
of Niles saying as much, stripped it of its context, and presented it as if he’s saying
something that he really isn’t! Honestly, this level of deception is insane. “To date, scientists worldwide have unearthed
and cataloged some 200 million large fossils and billions of small fossils. Many researchers agree that this vast and
detailed record shows that all the major groups of animals appeared suddenly and remained
virtually unchanged, with many species disappearing as suddenly as they arrived.” Now this simply isn’t true… I mean, it’s not even a misrepresentation,
it’s just made up! It’s propaganda! And that’s probably why The Watchtower offers
no references (“Many researchers agree”)… the truth is that we have countless examples
of transitional fossils, which date exactly to what we’d expect them to; from Archaeopteryx
to Pakicetus, to Pezosiren to Tiktaalik, it’s all there, despite the lies of the Watchertower. Take Tiktaalik, for example – it’s a perfect
transitional form between water and land vertebrates! It has scales and gills like water vertebrates,
but strong limb-like fins and a flexible neck like land vertebrates – what more could
you ask for? “If you are to accept the teaching of macroevolution
as true, you must believe that agnostic or atheistic scientists will not let their personal
beliefs influence their interpretations of scientific findings. You must believe that mutations and natural
selection produced all complex life-forms, despite a century of research that shows that
mutations have not transformed even one properly defined species into something entirely new. You must believe that all creatures gradually
evolved from a common ancestor, despite a fossil record that strongly indicates that
the major kinds of plants and animals appeared abruptly and did not evolve into other kinds,
even over aeons of time. Does that type of belief sound as though it
is based on facts or on myths? Really, belief in evolution is an act of “faith.” *Sigh*… If you DON’T accept “macroevolution”,
than you must believe that the vast majority of the scientific community are participating
in the grandest conspiracy of all time; that ordinary people, like you and me, from every
field of science, and from every country in the world, have, over two centuries, somehow
conjured and maintained a perfect conspiracy… because… because! Either this, or you’ve got all of your information
from a creationist website, and thus have a strawman conception of evolution, and probably
science in as a whole. Look, if you REALLY care about what’s true,
then please consider stepping outside of your cult and digesting actual scientific literature…
when I want proof of god, I don’t go to atheists, I go to theists. If you want proof of evolution, don’t go
to creationists, go to evolutionary biologists. Anyhow, before concluding, I want share a
wonderful segment of one of Lloyd Cedars’ / Evan’s videos (who, once upon a time,
was a Jehovah’s Witness himself): “All things considered, you might be wondering
why anyone would become a Jehovah’s Witness – you might even be thinking that you have
to be stupid to get involved with the group, but it really isn’t that simple. Many Witnesses are indoctrinated from when
they are small children, and those who join as adults often do so because they’re emotionally
vulnerable, and need the sense of community and absolute certainty that Witness beliefs
offer. Bottom line – if you happen to know a Jehovah’s
Witness, please be kind to them and don’t assume you can snap them out of their beliefs
easily. Witnesses tend to be extremely emotionally
invested in what they believe, and easing them towards the exit requires an abundance
of kindness, patience and understanding.” I’ll leave a link to Lloyd’s full video
on screen in a just a second, and so if you like what you’ve just seen, please go checkout
his channel, and while you’re there, say a little hello from me. Anyhow, I’m Stephen Woodford, and as always,
thank you kindly for the view, and an extra special thank you to my wonderful patrons
and those of you who’ve donated via PayPal. Until next time my fellow apes, until next