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Ray Comfort's New Movie - Evolution vs. God

The Atheist's Worst NightmareIt's been a couple years since I wrote anything about Ray Comfort, but he's at it again (see the end of this entry for a list of articles I've written about Comfort - a CD of his was even the impetus that made me start this blog). He has a new movie out titled Evolution vs. God. To quote the synopsis from the order page:

Millions believe that Darwinian evolution is a scientific fact. This DVD shows it's unscientific, by interviewing evolutionary scientists from UCLA and UCS, as well as biology majors.

The movie is currently only available for a $20 download, but will be available for free on YouTube come August 7th. Needless to say, I can wait three weeks to avoid giving Comfort any money, at which point I may watch the whole thing and write a review. But in the meantime, I can say that I don't have high hopes. One of my more popular blog entries is Ray Comfort - Still Ignorant on Evolution. I wrote it a few years ago when Comfort released a copy of Darwin's Origin of Species where he (Comfort) had written his own introduction. The release of that book created a bit of a controversy (similar to this movie), and Comfort ended up in a written debate with Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. In that debate, Comfort revealed a staggering ignorance of evolution. But it wasn't the first time. That CD I alluded to above was just as bad. And in the bits and pieces I've seen from Comfort since, it doesn't appear that he's really learned anything new. So, my suspicion is that Comfort is still wildly ignorant of evolution, and that this new movie will simply be full if misinformation.

Another relevant previous entry of mine is Ray Comfort: Quote Miner Extraordinaire. 'Quote mining' is the process of using a direct quote, but taking it out of context to present something contrary to what the person being quoted intended. A rather well known example of this (which I discussed in that entry), is people quoting Darwin from Origin of Species writing, "To suppose that the eye ... could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree," while ignoring the remainder of the chapter where Darwin detailed all the evidence backing up how the eye could have evolved. It was merely a rhetorical method of Darwin's. And Comfort is well-known for his quote-mining, so I'm suspicious that he would do the same thing here through selective editing of interviews (an entry by PZ Myers on Pharyngula suggests that this is exactly what happened).

As part of the press coverage over this movie, there was an article on The Blaze (the Glen Beck site), Evolution vs. God: Famed Evangelist Says His New Film Exposes 'Embarrassingly Stupid' Ideas Behind Darwinian Theory (Get a Sneak Peek). The article wasn't particularly in depth on what was in the movie, but it did have a few quotes from Comfort. Here's one that caught my eye.

"I've listened to him [Richard Dawkins] say things to thousands of university students that are just not true," Comfort said. "Many times over the years I've been accused by atheists of not understanding evolution. I've read every page of the world's most boring book, 'The Origin of Species.' "

Seriously, "the world's most boring book"? That seems like a petty, childish insult, and not even an accurate one, at that. I've read The Origin of Species (see my review), and while Victorian prose may be a little difficult for modern readers, I thought the book was very interesting. Besides, it's no longer the best introduction to evolution. Darwin didn't even know of Mendel's experiments with pea plants, let alone our modern understand of genetics and DNA. And many, many fossils have been discovered since then (interestingly, Darwin barely discussed fossils in The Origin of Species). Comfort would be well served by looking to a modern introduction to evolution, like Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True, or Donald Prothero's Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters.

Here's another passage from the article that caught my eye.

Comfort noted that even the most intelligent scientist on the face of the earth "can't make a grain of sand from anything," nor can he or she create animals that are able to reproduce. At the heart of the matter is his argument that the creation surrounding us couldn't have come from an explosion of nothing. This idea of spontaneous creation -- one that is touted by many Darwinian theorists -- he called "embarrassingly stupid" (he also gave the same label to atheism).

It's almost amazing how many bad arguments can be crammed into so short a space. First of all, evolution has nothing to do with the creation of the universe. Evolution is only about what happens once you have self-replicating chemistry. Nobody asks meteorologists where the atmosphere came from. Why do evolutionary biologists need to explain where atoms came from? And it always amazes me that creationists can scoff at our ignorance of where the universe came from, but then ignore the question of where God came from. The question of why there's something rather than nothing bothered me just as much when I was a Christian as it does now that I'm an atheist.

And finally, there's the personal insult, calling atheism "embarrassingly stupid". Now, I'm very confident in my atheism, but I recognize there's some small chance I may be wrong. But even if I did turn out to be wrong, I've given religion a lot of thought, and don't consider anything about my atheism to be "embarrassingly stupid". And of course, given the overwhelming evidence for evolution, there's nothing embarrassing about that subject, either.

Finally, I couldn't help but look at the comments to the Blaze article. Man, they're worse than YouTube comments. There were two particularly bad ones I noticed before I just had to quit looking.

Leopold Jun. 28, 2013 at 5:51pm

Perhaps over time the peni$ became long enough to reach into the woman's vag!na to mingle with her eggs.

Only evolution knows how the eggs came to be. All from one original cell.

And when or why did evolution stop? I haven't heard of anything that crawled out of water to become something, lately.

Well, There you have it, evolution: The survival of the fittest.

I am sure one day evolution will explain all this. After all the fact that we exist is proof of that it happened.

Why oh why are we Christians so stubborn and don't think that all this is perfectly reasonable.

I thank my heavenly Father that he gave me common sense to see the ridiculousness of evolution.

It is absolutely stunning that atheists, especially those who claim to be so educated, believe this nonsense. That is at least what they "claim" to believe.

If more people would actually know what they have to believe in order to believe in evolution they will very quickly come to the realization that evolution is absolute nonsense.

And people like Dawkins and all the rest of them actually hate God. That is their true motivation for misleading people.

But ignorance should not be an excuse. Especially ignorance out of laziness in studying what ones own believes are.

That first line about penises and vaginas has to do with a weird creationist belief that males and females must evolve independently (I'm not kidding). Then there's more misunderstanding of evolution, and the insistence that atheists aren't actually atheists, but really just hate God. But the part that made this worth quoting was the last paragraph. After spouting so many ignorant comments on evolution, this commenter had the chutzpah to write that "ignorance should not be an excuse". Why do people feel so confident to comment on something they know so little about?

This comment caught my eye, too.

jblaze Jun. 30, 2013 at 12:51pm

"We both know Genesis is flawed so what do you believe happened? what explains the millions if not billions of new species that have been introduced on earth throughout the past billion years?"

How can you possible know that Genesis is flawed when you do not have that which only God gives to the human mind to understand the things of God? That being the Holy Spirit! God does not give godly knowledge to the unrepentant, unbaptized godless. And further more, what proof can you give that "millions if not billions of new species that have been introduced on earth throughout the past billion years?" Have you lived and record every species creates since the earth was created million and or billions of years ago?

What a way to insulate yourself - only Christians are right, and only Christians have the ability to know that they're right. It doesn't matter what a non-Christian says, because they lack the gift of knowledge from God.

I know that this entry is a bit rambling, but there's just so much wrong associated with Ray Comfort. I'll probably at least take a look at his movie when it comes out. Whether or not I can get through more than five minutes of it is an open question.

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