Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Updated Origin

November 21, 2009 will mark the exact 150-year mark since the publication of Charles Darwin's book Origin of Species, and a group is actually going to provide over fifty college campuses with free -- yes, FREE -- copies of the book. Who is this group, and why would they go through all that trouble? Why, for God, of course!

That's right folks. The group is the 'Living Waters' ministry. But why would I care that a Christian evangelical collective is giving away Darwin's book? Because this is not the book Darwin wrote. This special-edition version includes a hidden 50-page introduction written by Ray Comfort. And therefore, as you should be able to guess, starts the book off by claiming evolution can't happen, and then proselytizing for Jesus. I say "hidden" because the book does mention Ray's name until after the introduction.

Ray's Fractal Wrongness
You can read Comfort's introduction at the Living Waters site. Here's some random lines from Ray's special introduction, to give you an idea into Ray's way of thinking:

"Here’s the argument: There was nothing. Then paper appeared, and ink fell from nowhere onto the flat sheets and shaped itself into perfectly formed letters of the English alphabet." -pg. 9

If you're familiar with Ray Comfort's style of argument, then this should be par for the course. Ray thinks that evolution is cosmology and abiogenesis all rolled into one. He thinks natural selection should explain the expansion of the universe, and that the traits of animals just popped into being.

"Do you think that DNA’s amazing structure could have come together by accident? Or does it point to an intelligent Designer?" -pg. 11

Ray thinks because Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project, thinks God made DNA (and he IS a scientist, after all!), then DNA = ID = Jesus. He also mentions Anthony Flew's conversion, as if it made a difference.

"There is a mountain in South Dakota that proves what evolutionists have been saying all along: if you just have enough time, wind, rain, erosion, and pure chance, you can get a mountain with the faces of four U.S. presidents on it!" -pg. 13

"Here are some interesting questions for the thinking evolutionist: Can you explain which came first—the blood or the heart—and why?" -pg 23

Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, and the like have never understood evolution, nor do I think they ever will.

After citing hoaxes of "missing links" (which were discovered using science!), Ray quotes Darwin out of context, and even uses the oldest trick: quoting the bit where Darwin admits that the evolution of the eye seems absurd, and then stopping before quoting the VERY NEXT LINE that shows how. Ray does however mention that next line, here:

"Even more incredible, though, is that Darwin went on to say that he believed the eye could nonetheless have been formed by natural selection. He was right on one point. If a Designer is left out of the equation, such a thought is absurd in the highest degree." -pg 28

The oldest Creationist canards are stuffed into these 50 pages of drivel. All the misunderstandings a religious person who is uninformed about science could make are in here.

"But even if an organ were no longer needed, wouldn’t it only prove devolution? This fits well with the Law of Entropy— that all things deteriorate over time." -pg 29

Ray not only fails to understand evolution, but he also fail to understand any tacit of science, it seems, including
Thermodynamics. And after showing us he can't comprehend things such as biology, palentology, geology, cosmology, and physics, he goes on to show how racist and sexist Darwin was -- as if that has anything at all to do with his ideas.

The next logical (for him) tact is to claim that believing in evolution creates people like Adolf Hitler.

One of his funniest lies is this:
"If you find it hard to believe that there was an Intelligent Designer, give this some thought. Man, with all his genius, can’t make a grain of sand from nothing....Did you realize that if we could simply make one blade of grass without using existing materials, we could solve the world’s hunger problem?" -pg. 31

Remember, he's arguing for an intelligent creator god who CAN make things ex nihilo. So Ray, why doesn't your God solve the world's hunger problem?

"Richard Dawkins, arguably the most famous of atheists, can’t claim the title 'atheist,' because he understands that something must have created everything. He said, 'Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.' " -pg. 37

This comes after Ray redefines the term "atheist" to someone who doesn't accept an initial cause. Wrong again, Ray.

At the end of this special introduction, Ray gives us the meat of what he's really after: evangelizing for Jesus.

"Please think about your sins, then think about the Savior and what He did for guilty sinners such as us." -pg. 40

Ray offers a scenario of four choices (the Mona Lisa original, a car, a million dollars, a parachute), says you can pick just one, then tells you "but first you have to jump 10,000 feet out of an airplane". You're supposed to pick the parachute out of necessity. He then takes this same logic and offers the choice of all the world's religions, then goes into his have-you-ever-broken-the-Big-Ten spiel. You're supposed to pick Christianity, because it fixes the problems it creates.

The rest is pure proselytizing, spewing unfounded claims about God and Hell.

They're delivering this bastardized version of the Origin of Species to college campuses nationwide on November 19. They're also calling on people to buy copies and give them out at their schools and churches.

Might Be Okay?
As I was writing this, I was thinking about how scarily-ignorant America is when it comes to science -- BASIC science -- and how this will only continue to fuel the problem. But then I started thinking, maybe this isn't such a bad idea. I mean, they will be getting the copy of the book into people's hands for free. As far as anyone knows, the rest of the book is unchanged. That means that thousands copies of Darwin's work will be in churches all across America. Hopefully, some people will actually read it and realize how what they thought Darwin said and what he actually said were two totally different things.

Another side affect is getting the book to college kids, and hopefully people who know Ray Comfort is full of shit. I think a lot of college students are intelligent and can easily spot the flaws that a 9th grade science student could find. Plus, they won't have to pay for a copy of Darwin's book. They'll just have an easy reference to the "counter-arguments" that fundamentalists make.


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