Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Ray Comfort makes a fool of himself

Ray Comfort, the banana guy, was invited to debate Eugenie Scott by a bloke called Dan Gilgoff. this was his first post. Eugenie makes some very good points and I'm not going to bother writing too much about Comfort's first post.

For a summary Comfort basically says "book burning atheists are angry racism racism racism Hitler non-standard definition for "atheist" plug for book angry atheists abuse Amazon I like science theory theory theory no evidence qualifiers are bad I only mean well really people should read the book evolution is like Mormonism it's a miracle and Darwin is a fantasy writer."

I must admit that I did like this paragraph:
The problem when arguing with those who believe in atheistic evolution is that they move goal posts by redefining atheism or evolution or the word species. From Darwin to Dawkins, they speak the language of speculation, continually using words like probably, maybe, perhaps, and could've. And Darwinism is as nebulous as a puffy cloud on a hot windy day, forever moving, changing, and expanding—because its bounds are limited only by the fertile human imagination.
Good ol' Comfort. First we see him claim that "evolutionists move the goalposts regarding definitions" considering that he said earlier:
The Introduction also defines an atheist as someone who believes that nothing created everything—which is a scientific impossibility.

That's what an Atheist is? It's not someone who "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings"?

Why that sure looks like someone moving the goalposts there doesn't it?

Then again there are members in his camp that don't seem to have a very solid definition of a Kind or Baramin.

Then it's that scientists use speculative words when talking about something we don't know for certain. Based on that paragraph then we can say that God must have built the pyramids because we don't know for certain how they were built. Look at all these possible ways that we think the Ancient Egyptians built their pyramids.

Then we see Comfort contradict himself with his "forever moving and changing line. It does make me wonder what he thinks science is. I guess it must be some sort of unchanging pseudo-Bible where you'll be damned for all eternity if you dare change it. It's also a really good hyperbole.

But enough about Ray and his first post. I'm going to talk about his second post.

We start with some back pedalling, Comfort immediately addresses the criticism of his book put forward by Scott, that Comfort removed some of the chapters. Personally I think that the reason Comfort decided initially to remove chapters was so he could make Darwin's work seem weaker then it actually is.

But since he's put those removed chapter back in there isn't really any problem now, even with his introduction you would still be getting yourself a copy of On the Origin of Species.

So let us move on:

Scott quoted a famous geneticist, who said, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." I would like to drop one word, so that the quote is true. It should read, "Nothing in biology makes sense in the light of evolution."

Really Ray? Really?

Nothing at all makes sense? I guess we are seeing another example of a creationist redefining a word, in this case "evolution". It's clear that Comfort takes a middle ground regarding "microevolution". So clearly he must be talking about "macroevolution" which in creationist circles is some fanciful magical form of evolution that has no grounding at all anywhere.

When you make a strawman it's easy to make one that conforms to your beliefs.

Nothing we have in creation is half evolved.

I'm pretty sure when he says "half evolved" it's that a creature has "half a wing" or "half a gill" or something stupid like that.

So I'm going to propose a new theory that explains this:

Evolution is "quantised" (for lack of a better word) so you can't have a "half evolved" species.

My evidence is the fossil record, I now call on the Nobel Prize Committee to give me lots and lots of money.

My second point is that Scott is happy for students to read the first eight and the last 10 pages of the Introduction, but she doesn't want them to waste their time on the meat in the sandwich. She says that this portion is my weakest, most tasteless of arguments. If that is true, shouldn't she then encourage students to read that portion to prove the weakness of my case? Instead, she says not to read it. I wonder why?

Well from what I've read of it, the reason she says not to bother reading it is because it's irrelevant to the topic at hand. What does Jesus have to do exactly with evolution? Or Hitler?

The introduction is just a veiled attempt to poison the well and nothing more.

I'm going to skip the stuff about ardipithicus ramidus because it appears to be Comfort misunderstanding information that he has been told.

So I'm just going to skip towards the end.

She then encourages doubters to consider museums where "you will find transitional fossils galore." I went to the Smithsonian to see the fossils galore, and they were there—millions of fossils that were evidence of special creation. The Smithsonian didn't have any transitional fossils that proved evolution (staunch believers claim that they have them, but not on display). I also visited the evolution museum in Paris (Grande Galerie de L'Evolution). I took a camera crew, and we spent an hour looking for the evolution exhibit. It didn't have one. All it had were millions of fossils of fully formed animals that God created.

(my bold)

Ray, it's a museum about evolution, the whole museum is one giant exhibit about evolution. It's right there in the name of the museum.

I'm going to bring this post to a close. I took a while to write it, because I had a few distractions and in that time Eugenie Scott wrote her reply, and there is a thoughts post.

I'm going to say though, that Comfort comes across as someone who is misinformed about what exactly science is, but I get the feeling that he knows better. I think he's like many of the more vocal creationists (big names and anonymous people online), someone who actually knows that they are wrong, but is so willingly blinded by dogmatic faith that they will torture scientific findings so they can prop up their faith in what can really only be described as a weak and quite possibly incompetent creator God.

Looking over the your thoughts post I think that there are many people who see can see through the lies and misrepresentation of Comfort and his ilk.

However there are many people who don't and are blinded by misinformation. There is still a lot of work to be done in the US, and it will be achieved through the hard work of people like Eugenie Scott and the NCSE.

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