mirrorshard: (Lammas print)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
Bah. Lost my temper with a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses - well, with the one who did alllllll the talking, while her sidekick lurked ominously in the background - who wouldn't accept evolution.

"Everything was created in its kind. Dogs, for instance."
(Explains about the mutation clock. There is, provably, a time before dogs. You cannot deny this.)

Damn, if I hadn't lost my temper (later on, after a particularly egregious I-am-your-teacher implication) I might actually have managed to confuse her properly.

(And yes, I mostly just posted so I could use the phrase "a time before dogs".)

Edit: This is not stopping upsetting me. I hadn't previously encountered this particular strain of evolution denial, and hadn't realised just how incredibly bad theology it was, as well as bad science. "God went through a period of creativity, and then stopped." That's just... so sad.

Date: 2009-05-30 10:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] battlekitty.livejournal.com
An ex's mum got blacklisted by either them or the mormons by arguing with them for about an hour. She used to see them come down the street, get to her letter box, look at a list and continue on.

Another friend's father (apparently - she was prone to exaggeration) once made the mistake of lighting some black candles in the hall and wearing a black robe before opening the door and declaring himself to be a Satanist. They tried to break down his door to exorcise him.

Date: 2009-05-30 11:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
They tried to break down his door to exorcise him.

Did he call the police to report the criminal damage? I'd love to see *that* story in my local paper!

Date: 2009-05-30 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] battlekitty.livejournal.com
No idea, but considering this friend's propensity for exaggeration, I suspect the worst they did was try to stop him closing the door. More likely they just yelled at it in their frustration that here was someone who "needed" help. :)

Date: 2009-05-30 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
I did suspect a little, ahem, embellishment there ;-)

Date: 2009-05-31 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shuripentu.livejournal.com
Almost certainly; the JWs are the least magical (if you'll excuse the term) Christian sect that I can think of. Exorcisms really don't figure in their theology.

Date: 2009-05-30 01:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arkady.livejournal.com
I think I've finally been blacklisted by our local JWs, after they sent a boy of about 10 or 11 to our front door whilst the adult lurked by my hedge. I ignored the boy and yelled at the adult that he was breaking the law and he ought to be bloody ashamed of himself for dragging a child around door to door like that when he ought to be off with his friends playing football and having fun like a normal child instead of being exposed to their crackpot brainwashing.

Quite a few neighbours came out to see what was going on, and the adult JW got short shrift from them too. I haven't been bothered by JWs since then. I'm still disgusted that they were using children to evangelise; i suppose they thought people would be less likely to slam their doors on a child.

Date: 2009-05-30 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] battlekitty.livejournal.com
*is gobsmacked*

Agreed: that's disgusting! I'm glad the adult was easily spot-able!

Date: 2009-05-30 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arkady.livejournal.com
There are three steps up to our doorstep, so you can see fairly easily over the hedge into the street - besides, his head kept popping into view.

Date: 2009-05-30 01:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
That's pretty poor, even by JW standards.

I certainly wouldn't expect it from Mormons, as my understanding of the structure, from my ex-Mormon friend, was that the whole business of witnessing as a progressive task for the young Mormon requires them to be an adult.

Date: 2009-05-30 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arkady.livejournal.com
Yes, they have to be at least 16 - which is also the age at which they're allowed to start dating; my eldest daughter fell for a Mormon lad back in Wales, and they were both waiting until they were 16 to start dating. Except her stepmother kicked out both the girls to come live with me the Sunday after D turned 16. I wouldn't have objected to the partnership, as the boy concerned is well brought up and polite and the rest of his family have never tried to evangelise to us; I know D's father was fairly favourably disposed towards the idea as well.

Mormons do tend to be pretty polite; we've only had them turn up on our doorstep here a couple of times, and were quite OK with being told "No thanks". I'm slightly surprised we haven't had more Mormons turn up, actually, as we aren't that far away from a Temple.

Date: 2009-05-30 01:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
Oh, that's rather sad for your daughter. Poor thing :-(

My experience of Mormons has always been that they're very respectful, yes, which is definitely a plus. You'd think it would be a fairly obvious part of evangelising, actually, so it's amazing how many people seem to forget about it.

Date: 2009-05-31 07:34 am (UTC)
ext_15862: (Default)
From: [identity profile] watervole.livejournal.com
It's quite possible that the child asked his parents if he could do it.

I know some kids (since they were young) who were brought up JW and they're smart, intelligent, like going round door to door, and now they're adults are all holding down job that need brains

I don't agree with their faith, but I've learnt to respect them (at least the local ones) as people who practice what they preach and bring up happy children.

Date: 2009-06-02 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atreic.livejournal.com
Except when they refuse blood transfusions and let their happy children die, of course.

Date: 2009-05-30 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oneplusme.livejournal.com
I'd noticed the lurker/talker pairing in previous encounters as well. Is it some sort of witnessing standard practice? (I had the impression the older, more experienced one was there to make sure that the inexperienced talker didn't get inadvertently swayed by any rational argument they might happen to encounter.)

Evolution denialism is tragically common. Of course, that's not all they have to deny - just wait until they break out creation astronomy (http://www.creationastronomy.com/). I only wish I were making this up.

Date: 2009-05-30 12:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
I think it is standard practice - it's been the case with almost all the pairs I've had come around, from whatever organization. I find it really rather creepy, but then that might be because it reinforces the whole hierarchy & authority thing.

Have you read Ken MacLeod's The Night Sessions? A lot of it is told from the POV of a creation scientist. It makes... interesting reading. I'd love to see what a real evolution-denier made of it, if we could find one capable of holding a sensible conversation.

Date: 2009-05-30 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oneplusme.livejournal.com
I have to admit that I've not read it, no. And yes, finding out what actually persuades those on the other side of the issue would be interesting. Is it "I am unable to accept that evolution can produce the complexity that I observe" (the argument from incredulity), "I cannot accept evolution because it contradicts the tenets of my faith and I am not prepared to give up said faith" (logically valid, if futile) or even "I have concrete evidence not only that evolution is false but also that my chosen creation story is true" (by all means produce it!), or something else?

Date: 2009-05-30 12:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
I commend it to you! I'd happily lend you my copy, but the circuitous route necessary would probably take several weeks.

Cynically, I suspect the answer would be a blend of "I am unable to accept evolution because I have too much social & emotional capital invested in creationism" and "I am unable to accept evolution because you are not a valid authority as I understand authority".

Date: 2009-05-31 07:37 am (UTC)
ext_15862: (err)
From: [identity profile] watervole.livejournal.com
"Cynically, I suspect the answer would be a blend of "I am unable to accept evolution because I have too much social & emotional capital invested in creationism" and "I am unable to accept evolution because you are not a valid authority as I understand authority".

I suspect that pretty much says it all. Psychology shows that people only really accept evidence for anything from people they know (a friend's account of an illness is likely to sway us more than what a strange doctor tells us). And from then on, you're into an small group reinforcing their own beliefs.

Date: 2009-05-30 01:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] battlekitty.livejournal.com
My ex-hubby had a couple where that was happening, but it seemed the lurker was in training. The talker was red in the face by the end of it while the lurker was clearly thinking "Give up - he's just winding you up! This is a waste of our time!"

Date: 2009-05-30 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
Is anyone aware of any reputable research (It need not be wholly independent as long as it's rigorous) about the results of doorstep and street evangelising?

Date: 2009-05-31 02:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shuripentu.livejournal.com
Every January, The Watchtower publishes annual summaries of the preaching work, including hours spent in the field ministry and number of baptisms. (While this is in no way an objective source, I actually have confidence in the honesty of their numbers.) From that you can deduce the number of hours of preaching work required for each baptism: in 2007, it was 4,800 hours of preaching per baptism, or the equivalent of 2 years 5 months at a full-time job.

Additionally, I believe publishers are now allowed to count the time spent conducting Bible studies with their children towards their field service total - and baptisms of youth brought up as JWs are counted in the total baptisms, so it all balances out.

So according to the statistics direct from the Watchtower, it doesn't work very well.

Date: 2009-05-31 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
Indeed. And those are probably the *most* generous figures one is going to find, considering the source.

OF course, what is more interesting and perhaps harder to assess is the extent to which evangelising can change people's minds. It's tempting to assume that conversions work on people who might be inclined that way anyway, and are looking for a path, rather than people who don't care at all, and in the latter case, does experiencing evangelising correlate with a more negative view of religions? It would be extremely complex research to figure out any kind of useful information, but fascinating if anyone's done any part of it.

Date: 2009-05-31 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
I'm mostly of the opinion that witnessing & proselytising are mostly done for their effect on the church members, whether anyone involved knows it or not. So the "useful" effect of it is not what they're measuring.

Date: 2009-05-31 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shuripentu.livejournal.com
Absolutely. I reckon one of the main appeals of the JWs is the pre-packaged lifestyle: 4 meetings a week, a steady stream of publications to study in preparation for the aforementioned meetings, and as much preaching work as you can do in between. This gives you got regular contact with a group of like-minded people, plenty of work with which to occupy yourself, and the satisfaction of knowing that what you're doing is completely fulfilling your purpose in life, and that your purpose in life is completely in harmony with a divine plan.

It's not the only appeal of the religion by any means, but I think it's an important, if subtle one.

Date: 2009-06-01 07:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
That's still a use. You'd have to direct the research towards whether witnessing has a positive effect on the members' strength of faith, perception of their church, and so on. Even trickier.

Date: 2009-05-30 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glassstrider.livejournal.com
"That's super. Have a nice day."

Problem solved.

Date: 2009-05-31 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shuripentu.livejournal.com
...sorry I didn't have anything directly useful to say, but I couldn't help but get involved anyway. :?

Date: 2009-05-31 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
I think your input was extremely helpful, thank you!

Date: 2009-06-01 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ewtikins.livejournal.com
"God went through a period of creativity, and then stopped." That's just... so sad.

Agreed.

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