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Darwin's Eye

There was great joy in the atheist world during 2010, where they celebrated the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin! Sigh.....that left Jehovah's Witnesses doubly out in the cold: we don't worship Darwin and we don't do birthdays. Nonetheless, it's a Charles Darwin statement that will be used as a starting point for this post. It's taken from Origin of the Species, chapter VI. Call my recognition a belated birthday present, if you must.

Darwin wrote:

“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”....

Q: If you quote this line, do you really have to add:  “of course, this is not to suggest that Darwin does not believe in his own theory of evolution by natural selection”?

I would never have thought so. I mean, what do you expect his next words to be? “Thus we can see that my entire theory is a load of horse manure. But I'm in this to win the praise of my peers, who for some reason, eat this stuff up. That, and maybe there's a buck to be made. So I'm putting lipstick on this pig. I'm sticking to my guns, even though you know, and I know, that it's all nonsense.”??

No! He's not going to say that! He's going to say something like: “Still, many now-established truths seemed equally absurd when first proposed. Evidence is scanty with relationship to the eye's one's saying otherwise..... but we can expect future researchers to uncover corroborating material.”

That's my prediction (without peeking). In fact, he says almost exactly that:

“When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei ["the voice of the people = the voice of God "], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.”

Alright, then. Pretty much what I predicted he would say. Any donkey ought to realize Darwin's not throwing in the towel on his own theory by admitting evolution of the eye sounds ridiculous. If you use his quote to suggest he considers himself a charlatan, that's dishonest. But if you use his quote to show he acknowledges some pretty high hurdles exist in proving his theory.....well, what's wrong with that?

Now, statements like that of Darwin appear all the time in evolutionist literature. And Watchtower publications have been known to pick up and run with them, without appending the “of course, so-and-so still believes in his own theory.” So the whiners and grousers have accused them of deliberate misquoting. But Watchtower hasn't done that at all. They've used all such quotes properly. (Though I won't vouch for non-Witness publications, some of which may well use such quotes in misleading ways)

Regarding quotes, you may have noticed that if you quote someone and don't reach the same conclusion he does, he will invariably say you must consider his context. If you do that, and still don't agree, he will want you to expand the context. If you do that, even to the point of quoting the entire article, and still don't agree, he will call you a fool. That's just the way people are.

Whenever the Watchtower quotes an evolutionist, it's understood that he believes his own theory! You don't have to spell that out.  If he says something that sounds far-fetched, and the Creation book picks it up, do you really think the authors wish to imply that he is gleefully lying through his teeth, willfully advancing a fraudulent notion? Of course not! It's obvious he believes his own belief!  Anybody howls dishonesty when their quotes are used to support a conclusion they themselves have not reached. All you have to do when quoting someone is relay their words accurately, as they were stated, without insertions or deletions. If you can't even do that, then you shouldn't allow cross-examination in jury trials....where an opposing lawyer uses a witness's own words to trip him up. It shouldn't be allowed! Just ask the witness what impression he wishes to make upon the court, and leave it at that.

Nonetheless, to placate the crybabies, Watchtower just released new material geared to defending creation at the 2010 District Conventions, and they've taken to pointing out, whenever quoting an evolutionist discussing some glitch in his theory, that “nonetheless, so-and-so still believes his own idea.” I don't think it's ethically necessary. But I see why they did it.

For example, on page 5 of The Origin of Life: Five Questions Worth Asking, (published by Watchtower, 2010), Prof Robert Shapiro of New York University discusses the famous 1953 experiments of Stanley Miller. He says “Some writers have presumed that all life's building blocks could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites. This is not the case.” Shapiro probably says this because evolution textbooks have implied just that for the past 50 years. He further states that the likelihood of a RNA molecule arising from such a mixture “is so vanishingly small that its happening even once anywhere in the visible universe would count as a piece of exceptional good luck.”

And at this point, there is a footnote, explained at the bottom of the page:

*”Professor Shapiro does not believe that life was created. He believes that life arose by chance in some fashion not yet fully understood.”

There! Happy? Don't ask what congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses he attends. He's not one of ours. He's one of theirs.

On the next page, the booklet mentions “researcher Hubert P Yockey, who supports the teaching of evolution, [and] ….. states 'It is impossible that the origin of life was proteins first'” [an order long insisted upon by evolutionary theory, as proteins are building blocks for RNA].

See? Don't lose your cookies. No one's saying he's one of ours. He supports the teaching of evolution, even though he points out the long supported protein-RNA sequence of events is “impossible.” (quote marks mine) There must be some other sequence that is “possible,” he apparently thinks. All that remains is to discover it.

Apparently, both proteins and RNA molecules have to simultaneously appear at the same place and same cannot precede the other.... for their life-forming cooperation to take place. “'The probability of this happening by chance (given a random mixture of proteins and RNA) seems astronomically low,' says Dr Carol Cleland, [who adds] 'most researchers seem to assume that if they can make sense of the independent production of proteins and RNA under natural primordial conditions, the coordination will somehow take care of itself,'” with all efforts to explain that coordination being not “very satisfying.”

And again a footnote. *”Dr Cleland is not a creationalist. She believes that life arose by chance in some fashion not yet fully understood.”

Okay? Again, Watchtower doesn't suggest she one of us. She's not.

At this point, the booklet observes: “Similarly, if scientists ever did construct a cell, (see eighth paragraph of link) they would accomplish something truly amazing – but would they prove that the cell could be made by accident? If anything, they would prove the very opposite, would they not? …..All scientific evidence to date indicates that life can come only from previously existing life. To believe that even a “simple” living cell arose by chance from  nonliving chemicals requires a huge leap of faith. Given the facts, are you willing to make such a leap?”

And on it goes. Other scientists are quoted: Radu Popa, Richard Feynman, Francis Crick, Eric Bapteste, Michael Rose, David M Raup, Henry Gee, Malcolm S Gordon, Robin Derricourt, Gyula Gyenis, Carl N Stephan, Milford H Wolpoff, and maybe some I missed. Each and every time, the publishers point out, usually in separate footnote, that these folks do not believe in creation. They believe in evolution. It's just that each of them have pointed to separate long-held tenets of the belief to observe doesn't....ahh....exactly work the way it has long been supposed to. That's not to say they've thrown in the towel. No! They're merely wrung it out and jumped into the fray afresh. It almost seem silly to include so many if catering to the whiners. Still, there's a lot of whiners, and they make a lot of noise. Maybe this will shut them up for a moment or two.

All of those quoted are respected scientists. None of them believe in creation. They all accept evolution, and they'll continue to accept it, more likely than not. That way they get to remain respected scientists. No, they are not in our camp. They are “hostile witnesses,” every last one of them. They say things we latch onto, even though they don't agree with us. But there's nothing wrong with quoting them. Where would Perry Mason, Bobby Donnel, or the Boston Legal crew be if they couldn't cross-examine hostile witnesses? 


 ‘Tom Irregardless and Me.’    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Evolutionary Psychology and the Whitepebble Institute

The last thing we expected for 2010 was to be awarded First Prize for Scientific Achievement, owing to our recent research contribution on the evolutionary origin of boisterous flatulence. But, indeed, the prestigious Wonderful Scientist Magazine did so honor us, and now Tom Whitepebble, President of the Whitepebble Research Institute, to which I belong, is looking forward to the honorary dinner and hobnobbing with other eminent contributors to the scientific field.

The odd thing (besides the Whitepebble Research Institute being a Biblical research institute) is that our contribution was sent in as a joke. It was intended for the “Those Wascally Scientists” page. Light humor: that's all it was. But later I checked with Tom Pearlsandswine in the mail room, and discovered that, in the crush of business, he did not specifically address our contribution to that page. Hence, it was taken as a serious item, and against all expectations, won top honors.

They couldn't tell it was a joke? I mean, the idea was, back in stone-age eat-or-be-eaten days, you wanted to evolve everything you possibly could to scare off predators. And boisterous flatulence would scare the bejeebers out of them, quickly clearing the area, just like it does in more modern times. So our ancestors that were able to do that survived and procreated, but our more polite ancestors who would never ever evolve such crude goings-on were all eaten, and died out. The scientific community has gone bonkers over our submission. What insight! Yes, of course that's how loud flatulence came about! What else in evolutionary thought could possibly account for it!

Tom Whitepebble was speechless (for once). He was obviously elated to be honored by such an august group, but also dumbfounded as to how they could be so stupid. So he made us all comb the pages of Wonderful Scientist Magazine, especially exploring the category of “evolutionary psychology,” and the mystery soon cleared up. It turns out that our theory, asinine though it is, is only slightly more asinine than what currently hails for ground-breaking research.

For example, consider the fact that, as a species, we can't reason our way out of a paper bag. Now, this is not good news for evolutionists. It would seem to make buffoons of those who naively chant “Let Reason Prevail!” like those atheists did at the Illinois nativity display. Newsweek's Sharon Begley grapples with this awkward circumstance in that magazine's August 5th, 2010 issue. She writes:

“The fact that humans are subject to all these failures of rational thought seems to make no sense. Reason is supposed to be the highest achievement of the human mind, and the route to knowledge and wise decisions. But as psychologists have been documenting since the 1960s, humans are really, really bad at reasoning. It’s not just that we follow our emotions so often, in contexts from voting to ethics. No, even when we intend to deploy the full force of our rational faculties, we are often as ineffectual as eunuchs at an orgy.”

Needless to say, if you are hosting an orgy, you should never invite eunuchs. They will spoil it. And our poor track record for reasoning would seem to spoil evolution. Instead, it would seem to support the Bible's view that, from a perfect start, we are steadily degenerating as inherited sin takes ever-increasing hold.

Not to be outmaneuvered, evolutionary psychologists have come up with an answer. Faulty reasoning is really our friend....and it enabled our ancestors to learn argumentation! See, if there was no faulty reasoning, nobody would have anything to argue about. Throw any issue before the masses, and they'd all instantly agree. Thus, how could “survival of the fittest” take place? Smart people can only evolve if they have idiots to stomp into submission with their clever argumentation! (I swear I'm not making this it all here in the Newsweek article The Limits of Reason: Why Evolution may Favor Irrationality)

As a second example, recall one of the things which proved “too wonderful” for Solomon: “the way of an able-bodied man with a maiden.” What of that “wonderful” attraction between male and female, and the prettier the female, the better?  (Prov 30:18) Not wonderful at all, say the evolutionary psychologists. Guys are drawn to pretty women for purely evolutionary reasons. See, a pretty woman is shapely, and thus has convenient shelves upon which to balance babies. But a less shapely woman lacks those essential shelves, and thus tends to drop all her babies, killing them, which is not good for proliferation of the species. So guys choose shapely babes. It's pure science, and oogling has nothing to do with it. Didn't I write about all of this here?

As a third example, consider the near-universal human urge to worship. A strong indication, the Watchtower (and many others) has long said, that we are designed with need to worship inborn. Not so, counter the evolutionary psychologists, it all evolved! See, in any advancing society, you have to have a means to keep the riffraff, the louts, and the neer-do-wells in check, for the good of everyone else. Trouble is, the riffraff doesn't like being put in check by humans, so they fight back and extract revenge, which retards societal advancement. Better to have a superhuman cop, with whom you can't fight back, but who is ever-ready to cast you into hellfire if you don't shape up! So God and religion evolved through the good old mechanism of evolutionary science, and if you believe there really is a God....well, I guess you're quite the scientific dimwit, aren't you? God did not create us; we created God!

There's more, of course. Did you know the evolutionary basis of depression? It's an adaption so that life's losers may adjust to being beaten out by the fitter ones.

And what of masturbation? Years ago, you could count on the fingers of one hand how many persons thought of science as they were carrying on so. Now, apparently, they all do. Masturbation is hygienic, cleaning out the bad sperm. It's also good advertizing, dazzling potential mates with one's leftover virility. Read it (and weep) here.

Homosexuality? Surely that must be a fly in the ointment of the race to procreate. Not so, say the E.P.s. See, gay men tend to be nurturing, and so they nurture the entire clan, giving everyone a leg up in the fight for survival, including themselves!

 Now, what is striking about this entire field of evolutionary psychology is that it's all pure speculation. Not one shred of the scientific method is to be found. Where are the experiments with which one can test hypotheses, so as to confirm them or devise others? Are there any to be found? It's all guesswork. Evolutionary psychology is entirely analogous to the religious person saying something is proved “because the Bible says so.” In fact, it's not as strong, for one can demonstrate whether the Bible really does say this or that. But, even upon acceptance of an evolutionary foundation for life, one cannot demonstrate whether or not the notions of the psychologists are valid. Yet it parades on the pages of scientific journals as if it were the most learned wisdom, rather than the embarrassment to science that it really is. Speculation is free. But isn't it like the small town circus Huck Finn gushed over?....”It didn't cost nothing, and it was worth it, too!”

But who can resist a tsunami? Not we here at the institute. We've hung our plaque from Wonderful Scientist prominently in the Whitepebble lobby. You can't miss it as you enter. It instantly impresses important persons that come to visit, and we have a lot of them, I can tell you. In fact, I'm going to stop admitting to them that it was a joke. If those donkeys so readily buy into all those other fat-headed notions....well, there's nothing inferior about ours. Where's our proof, you ask? Apparently none is needed in this field. Pearlsandswine might well have learned to “rip one” in exactly the manner our theory describes. Maybe our contribution will be like that of Piltdown man. By the time anyone catches on, we'll be long gone.



Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Pedophiles and Smear Campaigns

On the one hand, I can certainly see it. The boy was molested, repeatedly, by the same individual, over a long period of time. Shouldn't someone be held accountable? Of course.

On the other hand, it was an organization that was held accountable, and that organization has one of the strongest child-protective policies of anyone, and they've had it for a long long time. Ironically, that long track record, which you would think would play in their favor, was used against them. If they've had it for a long long time, and yet pedophiles still slip in on occasion, (just like banks still get robbed) they should have strengthened it! They were negligent! Sometimes you try to be proactive, and all you do is make yourself a bigger target to those who don't like you. Whereas, if you hide your head in the sand, and wail, Sergeant Shultz-like, “I know nothiinng,” you come out better.

At any rate, early in 2010,  a Portland, Oregon jury deemed the Boy Scouts of America responsible for the above gross sexual abuse of a child, and assessed a judgment of $18.2 million in damages. That's said to be the largest such verdict in American history on behalf of a single plaintiff.

Eighteen million is a lot of dough. What's one person ever going to do with it? But it plays into that uniquely Western notion that tons of money is the way to compensate for anything. Sometimes I think much anti-West sentiment is stirred up through that mindset, especially among nations where family ties are still strong. Some foreign national is killed through Western action. “Gee, that's a shame,” is the response, “oh well, here's some money.” (though, not $18 million) Who can forget the French peasant in Tale of Two Cities who wasn't satisfied with silver coins tossed from the coach of the aristocrat which had run down his child?

Of course, I suppose you can argue that, if money truly is the god of society, then anything short of a huge monetary penalty will have no effect. You can't shame or guilt anyone, so the theory goes, since we've ridden ourselves of those concepts. Thus a representative of the plaintiff's legal team stated afterward his belief that the Boy Scouts have undertaken a truly noble and important task in mentoring young boys, for which they are to be commended, and its his sincere hope that the $18 million judgment will impress upon them the need to do it better. Now, that is an American sentiment if ever there was one. I guess I'd be more persuaded if that team plowed their one-third of the take back into charitable causes, perhaps even the Boy Scouts themselves, with the stipulation that it be used for anti-pedophile purposes. And perhaps they did. Do you think so?

Now, I'm no Boy Scout. I'm Tom Sheepandgoats. And whereas, in my second paragraph, I alluded to the fact that some may not like a given organization, does anyone really not like the Boy Scouts? Oh...maybe in these days of contempt for authority, here and there some will look askance at their practice of stuffing kids into uniforms and directing them to earn badges, as if preparing them for later military careers. In the main, though, Boy Scouts are highly regarded. They teach responsibility. They take you out camping. They teach you how to tie knots.

However, I belong to an organization that many loathe, Jehovah's Witnesses. They don't teach you how to tie knots. They wake you up when you're sleeping in late. But, like the Boy Scouts, they also report having a child-protective policy that outclasses that of anyone else. So enemies of Jehovah's Witnesses reacted with glee when, long after the Catholic priest pedophile scandal broke, Jehovah's Witnesses, too, were accused of harboring pedophiles. I admit, I was stung. Nothing in my long association with the faith lent any credence to such accusations. But they have persisted down to this day.


They are, however, bogus.

Not that child molestation has never occurred among our people. Of course it has. We are people. And in an organization of several million people, you're going to find many examples of anything. What is bogus is the attempt to draw a parallel between us and the never-ending reports of churches, schools, even Boy Scouts, in which young boys are victimized by leaders.

This is not hard to discern, if one has the motivation to look beyond the hysteria. Take this excerpt from a 2002 New York Times report, for example. On the surface, it looks pretty damning:

“But the shape of the [JW] scandal is far different than in the Catholic church, where most of the people accused of abuse are priests and a vast majority of the victims were boys and young men. In the Jehovah's Witnesses, where congregations are often collections of extended families and church elders are chosen from among the laypeople, some of those accused are elders, but most are congregation members. The victims who have stepped forward are mostly girls and young women, and many accusations involve incest.”

“Some of those accused are elders.” How many? Eleven, in the course of 100 years* All others are “laypeople,” though doubtless some are Ministerial Servants, roughly the equivalent of deacon.

To the extent it's true, you can't be proud of it, can you? Yet what is really being said? If you expand the base by...say, 30 or 40 fold to include, not just clergy, but also laity, and if you broaden the definition of child abuse to include, not just young boys, but also “girls and young women,” then and only then do you find numbers and percentages among Jehovah's Witnesses comparable to the leaders of these other groups! Put another way, if you want to catch pedophiles in most groups, you need search no further than the leaders. But if you hope for the same catch among Jehovah's Witnesses, you need to broaden your search to include everybody!

I could be wrong, (fat chance!) but try tracking child abuse among the laity of the Catholics or Evangelicals, as is done with Jehovah's Witnesses. Computers would fry trying to list all the names, I suspect. It's a little hard to say for sure because nobody, to my knowledge, has ever done it. Only Jehovah's Witnesses are so scrutinized. Why JWs and only JWs?

Sheesh, Sheepandgoats! You make it sound as if you don't care about cases of abuse among your own people! Not so! Every such instance is shameful, make no mistake. But it's also shameful that those who despise JWs would hold them to a standard 30-fold higher than that of anyone else, yet act as though they are comparing apples to apples. So, have at it! Someone show some initiative and keep track of any other group. Let me know how it turns out with the Catholics, the Evangelicals, the Politicians, the Atheists, the Environmentalists, yes...even the Boy Scouts, or anyone else. I'm pretty confident. After all, if the leaders of JWs are the cleanest of anyone [eleven bad ones in 100 years] due to the application of Bible principles, surely the same will be true among the rank and file.

Some, to their credit, have been able to see though the deliberate smear campaign. For instance, here is a site from someone who compares instances of gross sexual abuse among the various religions. The author states:

“Quakers, Reformed Jews, and (surprise surprise) Jehovah’s Witnesses have so far shown a pretty low incidence of abuses.”

And why is it “surprise surprise?” Because, quite obviously, someone has deliberately, and with some success, endeavored to distort the facts.** I won't go so far as to call them “Silent Phonies,” for I've no doubt there are genuine victims of child abuse among them. I won't even say that the following case is typical. But doesn't it appear that those who coached the victim here are more interested in discrediting the Watchtower than they are in helping victims of abuse?

"In Canada, Ms B brought a civil lawsuit against the elders of her former congregation and the WTBTS asking for $700,000 dollars concerning her child abuse at the hands of her father who was one of Jehovah's Witnesses claiming they were negligent, breached their duty, advised her against contacting the authorities, and against seeking professional help. What did the court find?"

"Presiding Judge Anne Molloy ruled that the WTS and elders were not at fault and did not contribute to or promote in any way the child abuse that took place. The court said, "There is no foundation on the facts to support an award for punitive damages. Most of the allegations against the defendants have not been established on the facts. The defendants who interacted with the plaintiff did not bear ill will toward her. They accepted the veracity of her account, were sympathetic to her situation and meant her no harm. The claim for punitive damages is dismissed."

Apparantly irked that the case was mostly frivolous, Judge Molloy ordered the plaintiff to pay all legal costs of the defendent. Had the Watchtower insisted on this aspect of the verdict, the plaintiff would have been bankrupted. However, they did not.

But what really gave me the warm and fuzzies was this response from a blogger who (it will be apparent from his R-rated language) absolutely loathes Jehovah's Witnesses. His words, particularly in the comment section, could hardly have been phrased more abusively. He slams us with every stock internet slam there is, just about. So I called him on one.

Now, you have to be careful doing this. You don't challenge him on everything, and you don't challenge him on something over which you'll get short, something that is as much a matter of viewpoint as fact. Frankly, I did get creamed on the first point I raised (about blood transfusion), but not the second. And a poor colleague of mine was pretty much crucified for trying to explain other aspects of our beliefs. But when I challenged him on his sexual abuse accusations, he responded:

“You know, I've got a nice glass of wine, Muddy Waters is singing about "Champagne and Reefer" and I'm feeling generous. I'll back down from that one. (Plus, I did a little more research...) You do have an acceptable track record on the subject......"

I wouldn't really call it “acceptable.” But I know what he means. Compared to most, JW occurrence is very low. It won't be “acceptable” until it's gone, and given the nature of imperfect humans, that doesn't seem very likely. (I hope this fellow doesn't consequently take down his page. HA! I've got it saved in case that should happen.)

It's a relatively small concession, to be sure, since I otherwise can't set foot on that site without being spit upon. I had to endure a lot of abuse to gain it, I assure you. But gain it, I did.


*In 2007, JWs settled a number of abuse cases, which made a huge on-line splash among opposers. This statement was released to the media at that time:

"For the sake of the victims in these cases, we are pleased that a settlement has been reached. Our hearts go out to all those who suffer as a result of child abuse. Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide are united in their abhorrence of this sin and crime.

We do not condone or protect child molesters. Our elders expel unrepentant sinners who commit this crime. In the US over 80,000 elders currently serve in over 12,300 congregations. During the last 100 years, only eleven elders have been sued for child abuse in thirteen lawsuits filed in the US. In seven of these lawsuits against the elders, accusations against the Watchtower Society itself were dismissed by the courts. Of course one victim is one victim too many. However the incidence of this crime among Jehovah's Witnesses is rare. Congregation elders comply with child abuse reporting laws. We do not silence victims. Our members have an absolute right to report this horrible crime to the authorities."


**The aforementioned site offers a shrewd analysis for the varying levels of gross sexual abuse observed in various religions: “But the incidence of child abuse is not traceable to religion as the main cause, but rather permissiveness towards clergy misconduct, lack of accountability, and absence of tracking known abusers. Denominations that have a documented infrastructure, an internal investigation process, and an appeals process have far fewer incidents of abuse than those that do not. Religions that simply put up higher hurdles for men to get ordained have a lower incidence of abuse. After all, why would a child molester spend 8 years learning ancient Hebrew when he can attend Hyles-Anderson for one year, drop out once he picks up the lingo, and then declare himself a Christian Fundamentalist preacher?”



Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)