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Congrats, Ray Comfort, you have earned a lifetime achievement ATTIE

November 18, 2009

Ladies and Gentleman, this is a red letter special edition (cough, cough) of the Atties. We are about to give out the first ever lifetime achievement Attie to Mr. Ray Comfort. An award he recieves for his blantant dishonesty in representing Christ.

So, I walked into our University Interfaith Alliance Meeting at Ohio State this morning only half awake from Dr. Schaefer’s talk last night. My Quaker friend said, “Hey, look at this, did you know about it?”

As you might guess, it was the Ray Comfort edition of the “Origin of the Species”, a day early and on a campus that hadn’t been on the original list of fifty. Turns out, Ole Ray decided to fool everyone and avoid planned demonstrations by releasing a day early then orginally stated. And, on “secret” campuses around the country.

For those of you who are behind, self styled evangelist Ray Comfort one day got a brilliant idea. He decided that since Origin of the Species is public domain, he would publish it with fifty page intro that would “refute” Darwin’s theory. With a video made by Kirk Cameron, they annouced they would take this edition to the top fifty universities in the country.

It’s funny how they never wondered, “Just because we can do something, doesn’t always mean we should”.

I hate that they stole another man’s intellectual property I hate they tried to rope in campus ministers to help them.

So, it should be no suprised they moved up the day to avoid the confrontation. They don’t want to take responsibility for their bad idea.

At Ohio State, my sources tell me the Campus Crusade branch here refused to distribute the book.  This is true, so give it up for the Ohio State branch of CC.

This was born out by the people I saw distributing the book on campus, who were all obviously off campus people. I didn’t recognize any of them as fellow campus ministers.  Rushing to get my copy, I went up and identified myself as a campus minister. They gladly handed me four copies.

So, I set down to read Comfort’s introduction and I was struck by his blantant ignorance and dishonesty on a number of different points. Allow me to point out his ignorance:

-Understanding of the fossil record

-How evolution actually works

-His constant use of “God of the gaps” a largely discredited notion.

-Worst of all, how science, scientific investigation and scientists actually work.

Blatant dishonest and misrepsentation-

-Comfort mentions Asa Gray as a Christian scientist, but mysteriously leaves out this simple fact: Gray was one of Darwin’s biggest supporters. Gray was a conservative Presbyterian minister (hey, like me!) and I’m currently reading his work. I recommend their very interesting correspondance.

-He mentions Francis Collins point of view about DNA and God (something I agree with) but fails to point out that Collins think DNA is the final proof for evolution.

-He accuses Darwin of being racist and a hater of women. There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t even know where to start. But, two quick thoughts: Darwin hated slavery. Darwin deeply loved and respected his wife.

Enough said.

-He make a horrible leap to link Darwin with Hitler. See below about confusing science with philosophy.

You will notice that I didn’t even discuss Comfort’s scientific discussions. The reason is because of everything above, I just don’t see how we can trust anything he has to say. His actions in publishing the book in the first place and then his blantantly misleading introduction discredits him on nearly every issue. That isn’t to say he doesn’t hit on some great discussion points (Big Bang cosmology, The Cambrian Big Bang), but they are lost in the shuffle of his literary mess.

But, even further than that, he confuses evolution as a biological science with naturalism. Evolution tells us how things work on a biological level. It says nothing for or against God’s existence. Nor should morality be drawn from it. It’s bad philosophy and bad logic.

So, congrats to you Ray Comfort. You have truly surpassed all previous Attie award winners. You have  slandered a man (Darwin), you have made all Christians look like ignorant boobs, and worst of all, you have caused people to question the validity of Christ through your dishonesty. You were in the zone today, my friend.

St. Thomas, release the hounds for a little Comfort food……

22 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2009 8:14 pm

    “I hate that they stole another man’s intellectual property” He didn’t steal it. Not in a legal sense, not in a moral sense.

    Copyright is a _limited_ license for exploitation of a work granted by the government (otherwise there would be no remedy if people copy things, it’s definitely no natural right).
    And it’s limited for a purpose: The purpose of the copyright law is to promote the progress of arts and sciences – and this requires that they’re up for grabs at some point, even if Disney is very sad about it every 20 years and wants a renewal.

    Definitely a stupid idea to not change the name a bit (leading to confusion on amazon), and also a stupid idea to add such a ridiculous intro – no question!

    But he merely exercized his rights when taking the text.

  2. thomas2026 permalink*
    November 18, 2009 8:20 pm

    I disagree PG. I think he did steal it morally.

    And as i pointed out, just because he can do something, doesn’t mean he should.

  3. November 18, 2009 10:54 pm

    “I disagree PG. I think he did steal it morally. ”

    I don’t know. To steal something means to take it from someone and make it your own. Did this guy do that, or just republish Darwin’s words, giving him full credit for them, with his introduction? It may still have been a stupid idea, but it wasn’t stealing, I think.

    Related to evolution and Darwin’s Origin what do you think of Michael Behe’s books, Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution? Good science? Or, misunderstanding how evolution works?

  4. Andrew permalink
    November 18, 2009 11:04 pm

    The confusion on Amazon is primarily Amazon’s fault, I would say.

    Certainly what Comfort did is legal; but there are at least two ways in which it can be regarded as immoral: as an attempt to promote Comfort’s personal interests on the back of another person’s great work, and also for the sheer dishonesty of the introduction itself.

    You will notice that I didn’t even discuss Comfort’s scientific discussions. The reason is because of everything above, I just don’t see how we can trust anything he has to say. His actions in publishing the book in the first place and then his blantantly misleading introduction discredits him on nearly every issue.

    Exactly.

    And you’re right to distrust his scientific arguments; none of them have any merit. The NCSE’s rebuttal site DontDissDarwin.com has the details, plus the NCSE’s own pamphlet on the issue and another one written by Ken Miller.

    That isn’t to say he doesn’t hit on some great discussion points (Big Bang cosmology, The Cambrian Big Bang), but they are lost in the shuffle of his literary mess.

    The Cambrian explosion isn’t really a good discussion point in this context, unless you’re going to have a discussion about how creationists abuse science.

  5. November 19, 2009 1:05 am

    ::: facepalm :::

    The stupidity burns.

    NIcely put though Jon.

  6. Richard Eis permalink
    November 19, 2009 6:19 am

    I don’t know. To steal something means to take it from someone and make it your own. Did this guy do that, or just republish Darwin’s words, giving him full credit for them, with his introduction?

    Well, lets see, he took a text by someone else. Added an introduction that tries to completely undermine and villianise a man and his lifelong work. He was going to miss out several chapters but got caught at it and had to make quick amends.
    He has done far worse than steal it.

  7. November 19, 2009 10:28 am

    Hey Ray, why isn’t honesty good enough for you? Could it be you are too insecure in your own beliefs that you have to lie about them to prop yourself up? What kind of example are you? (a bad one – stupid question)

    Go Doggies, Go!

    And Johnathan, thanks again for your insight and honesty. You give me hope.

  8. November 19, 2009 1:01 pm

    I have written a page-by-page counter essay to Comfort’s introduction. It is guaranteed to be both funnier and more factual. If you got a copy of his book, please check out my essay. :)

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/22624278/Darwigin-of-Species

  9. William permalink
    November 19, 2009 4:56 pm

    Comfort poses a conundrum. He’s clearly a troll. His end-game is to increase his fame and notoriety, and thus his income. Yet he’s too big to just ignore.

  10. Joffan permalink
    November 19, 2009 6:16 pm

    Just FYI, Darwin’s work is “The Origin of Species”, not (merely) “The Origin of the Species”. I know the title is often misstated but the true title is a good indication of the breadth of Darwin’s work, since it covers all species, even those unknown to him and indeed to us.

    His other well-known work wasn’t called “The Descent of The Man”, either, although that sounds gangsterish enough that I would at least read the blurb.

  11. ferret wrangler permalink
    November 19, 2009 6:50 pm

    More childish and immature attention-seeking from the PeeWee Kiwi :

    “Gift Basket For Richard Dawkins

    Yes…I have a banana put into the basket, but I didn’t say who the gift basket was from. I will leave him to formulate a theory on its origin.”

  12. Stony permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:58 pm

    “and worst of all, you have caused people to question the validity of Christ through your dishonesty.”

    This is absolutely and completely true. On another blog people were asked to post what they would be afraid to admit in church. My response was that if I were forced to choose between science and Christianity (as I had been recently told that no real Christian could believe in evolution), and if the choice of Christianity included embracing the Cameron/Comfort line of thinking, I would choose science. That, coupled with the blog posting on Robertson’s site (removed) about the evils of Halloween, made me seriously examine why I would want to associate with Christians at all.

  13. November 20, 2009 1:50 pm

    It does my heart good to hear that Christians reject Ray’s nonsense as well. Having spent a lot of time on his blog (and having subsequently stopped doing so), I’m familiar and dismayed by the kind of support he receives. They seem willing to contradict their own beliefs in order to reject his detractors – behavior which is most definitely “unChristian”, in my humble opinion.

    Anyhoo, thanks for restoring my faith in humanity

  14. November 24, 2009 10:02 pm

    I highly enjoyed reading your article, keep on making such interesting articles!

  15. November 25, 2009 1:11 am

    I hate that they stole another man’s intellectual property

    Forgot to mention this:
    You can debate whether what he did with Darwin’s work was technically stealing. But there’s absolutely no question that he stole Dr. Stan Guffey’s work. Who is Guffey? He’s the guy that wrote the one-page biography of Darwin that Comfort cribbed for his first few pages.

  16. Eric R permalink
    November 26, 2009 1:50 am

    Yet he’s too big to just ignore

    Watch me :)

  17. SteveS permalink
    December 12, 2009 7:29 pm

    Dude, you need an editor or at least a spell checker.

  18. thomas2026 permalink*
    December 13, 2009 2:42 pm

    Steve,
    Are you volunteering?

  19. liz permalink
    May 31, 2010 6:33 pm

    If you ppl dont believe in Ray Comfort, and if you’re so secure with your beliefs, then why do you have to bash other people to make yourselves feel better.People only choose to see and hear what they want to hear instead of what they should hear.
    Instead of reading his books,
    and saying he’s dishonest
    why don’t you just read your bible’s?
    it has the truth and scientific evidence,
    but obviously you people are too blind to see it.
    you choose to ignore it,
    and just take what you want from it.
    and dont start with “the bible contradicts itself”
    obviously you dont have the knowledge to understand it,
    if you dont believe what he’s saying, it’s obviously because you haven’t felt the love of God.Just ask yourself today if you die, where are you going?
    and faith?
    you have faith that when you’re driving to work,
    you’re going to make it without crashing, we were all born with faith in us,
    and it is a gift from God.
    Im sorry,
    but if the reason why you’re mad, is because of an introduction,
    then it’s just stupid,
    and you live in denial.

  20. Jonathan Weyer permalink*
    May 31, 2010 6:48 pm

    Uh, thanks for stopping in, Liz. IN case you haven’t noticed, the main abbot of this site is a committed Christian, ie, me. Plus, as I’m a minister in a evangelical presbyterian denomination that requires me to believe the Bible is God’s word, that doesn’t work either.

    I can disagree with Comfort and his methods. That’s what this is all about. Disagreement with Comfort doesn’t equal disagreement with the Bible.

  21. Cruz permalink
    June 1, 2010 1:25 pm

    Did we get a fundinflux on this blog all the sudden?

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