Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Countering Comfort

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron... Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron...

They are two evangelists who always make me want to face palm. I am of the opinion that there is no clear dividing line between reasonable and unreasonable opponents. And yet, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron manage to place themselves firmly in the realm of the completely ridiculous. They are best known for presenting the Atheist Nightmare. It's a banana. Atheists have no way to explain why the banana fits so perfectly into our hands with a non-sl... oh, just watch the video.

People have asked me if they were serious about the banana argument. Yes, I think they were, for the most part. They may have been slightly facetious. But sadly, the banana is representative of their level of arguments (though with more than the usual innuendo). They're also known for arguing that evolution would predict the crocoduck as a transitional species, and that if evolution had happened, male forms would have had to wait millions of years for the female forms to evolve.

I mean, seriously, how did he manage to find arguments which are worse than the standard Creationist ones?

Guess what Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron are doing now? They're printing a special edition of Origin of Species, with a fifty page introduction written by Ray Comfort. They will distribute these to universities across the country, including my own, on this Thursday, November 19th. See Kirk Cameron explain. The introduction will be full of standard Creationist arguments and misrepresentations of Darwin, science, not to mention history. Comfort believes that Darwin caused Hitler, basically.

In a US News blog, there was a bit of "debate" between Ray Comfort and Eugenie Scott about the book (see Ray, Scott, Ray, and Scott again). Among other things, Eugenie Scott revealed that Ray Comfort's edition of Origin of Species would not only have a special introduction, but also be missing four crucial chapters. Ray Comfort responded that he was putting the four chapters back in. Eugenie Scott's response:
In his response to my post, Comfort strangely failed to explain why he expurgated that material from the first version. Elsewhere he wrote that it was "abridged because it was too many pages (too expensive) for a giveaway." But now he's going to try to give away even more copies of this more complete version? I'm glad I'm not his accountant.
Zing! Sadly, these tactics are representative of Ray Comfort's intellectual integrity. It's also been alleged that he plagiarized part of his introduction.

Happily, the above quote is representative of how awesome Eugenie Scott is. I was so pleased with Eugenie Scott's responses that I contacted NCSE (the National Center for Science Education, headed by Eugenie Scott) to ask if they would help us respond to Ray Comfort on our campus. They invited me to a google group for just that purpose, and pointed me to their website, Don't Diss Darwin. And they have counter-flyers and bookmarks ready to print out.

This is great, because the initiative required to design our own flyers is a precious commodity in BASS (the skeptical student group on campus). A few people criticized the flyer on various points, but I challenged them to make their own. If they could do that, I would pass the flyer on to NCSE, and distribute copies on campus. No one was up to the challenge.

The best part is, NCSE mailed us a box of free t-shirts donated by evogeneao.com. Sweet! I'm wearing one right now. The nice thing is, even if we can't find Ray Comfort's distributors, we can still give out this pro-evolution stuff to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the publication of Origin of Species! I think I love the NCSE.

1 comment:

miller said...

News! Ray Comfort switched the day to today. And then he and Kirk Cameron made personal appearances at UCLA. See a report on our website