I presume people will be familiar with Ray Comfort. He’s the guy with the Atheist Nightmare video which you must know. If not just type Atheist Nightmare into youtube, there’s lots of versions but the one that hasn’t been modified is the best one. Anyway I stumbled across this video today which I genuinely thought was a spoof. So here it is, and I’ll take apart a few of the things said within it. Sorry it’s a bit outdated.
So first of all we have the thing about atheists removing the part about the coke can, “missing the point of the illustration completely”. I fail to see how taking out the part about the coke can misses the point. I haven’t found the part about the coke can but I know how Comfort works, he takes something that is designed and compares it to something natural, indicating that it must be designed. He’s done it with the Mona Lisa, a painting in a cave, all kinds of stuff. That message about how bananas must have been designed for us came across clearly without the need for the stuff about the coke can. But that’s not important.
Next up is about how the atheists actually ended up helping Ray Comfort. Apparently on the day of release, Comfort’s book “You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can’t Make Him Think” went from number 69, 572, up to number 38 on it’s day of release. Meh, that’s kind of impressive but books always shoot up on their release days, they’re being released that day. After the kind of audience that were viewing the atheist nightmare vid, I suspect a fair few of those were atheists looking for more material to laugh at. But whatever. Next up it beats The God Delusion on Darwin Day. Comfort’s book came out in 2009, according to the inside cover which is on Amazon. The God Delusion came out 3 years earlier in 2006. This is not good evidence that more people are interested in Comfort’s opinions than Dawkins’, just that lots of people already had a copy of the God Delusion. That doesn’t really matter either.
Ray apologises for the atheist nightmare after it’s pointed out that bananas were bred by humans, but maintains that God gave ‘man’ the ability and knowledge to modify it. So God gave people this knowledge but chose to conceal it until people figured it out for themselves, or what? This is an act of humanity, God can’t take the credit for this one. But more than that, he’s missed the whole point of the criticism. The videos weren’t just showing that this example was wrong, but that he’s using a dodgy argument. Why does he just look at the banana when there’s the whole of creation out there? The coconut isn’t easy to eat at all, but supposedly God also designed that. Additionally, fruit evolved on this planet, often collaboratively with birds, for example, so that they’ll be eaten and their seeds will be spread, so it’s no suprise that they’re tasty, it’s in their own interest.
Now the video slips into weird casual sexism which is why I thought it was a spoof. It repeatedly refers to people as ‘man’, which is nothing new, but then says that “man did the same [modified through hybridisation] with wild cats, so that they are perfectly fit for his wife”. What the hell! Accompanied by an old sepia photograph this definitely gave the impression of women as sitting at home helpless, waiting for their big strong husbands to come back with a gift of a domesticated cat. The waaay outdated use of a singular, masculine pronoun to refer to the human race actually gave me the impression that Ray was talking about God at this point, which got a bit weird when he started talking about God’s car and God’s wife.
Then the vid takes a swipe at Dawkins using the Expelled film. When pushed to admit that Intelligent Design may have some kind of input into genetics and evolution, he said that it’s possible that a very intelligent being with superior technology may have designed a form of life, which is a possibility, and that it’s possible that there could be some kind of signature. Stein then goes on to claim in a voiceover (drowning out something else that Dawkins said) that Dawkins considers Intelligent Design a possibly legitimate pursuit. I notice he didn’t say that in the interview, else he would have clarified that there’s no evidence of that in the evolution of life on Earth. The implication is then that Dawkins just has a problem with the idea of God and is biased, when actually he even says in the clip that whoever created this new life would have had to have evolved by Darwinian means, because it couldn’t just spring from nothing! This isn’t a bias, this is a good argument! What’s the problem with stating a possibility, I mean we’re not all that far from creating life now! But instead of listening to what he actually say, the Way of the Master video hears a reference to an alien and giggles like a schoolgirl “ooh, he say alien, he stoopiid”, as if mentioning this possibility is as stupid as Ray’s banana argument. Wow.
What Comfort doesn’t seem to realise is that Dawkins’ objection to debating stupid creationists isn’t anything to do with money or fear that he’ll lose. He has stated repeatedly that he won’t do it because he doesn’t want to give creationism the honour of being put side by side with science.