Another meme about Ray Comfort

Ray_Comfort meme again

A nod to RayCo’s monumentally awful film, “Evolution vs. God.” More of our thoughts on Banana Ray here, here and here.

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  • I am not surprised when I see an unbeliever heap sarcasm, snark, and ridicule on a believer. I am, however, surprised when I see a believer – such as you or James McGrath – show this kind of contempt for a fellow believer. In fact, I I can actually tell hardly any practical difference between your attitude toward people like Ray Comfort or Ken Ham and the unbelieving world’s attitude toward them. It’s as if you all buy your ammo from the same munitions store.

    For this reason I was struck by the following article which demonstrates how one particular unbeliever acts toward YEC’s. Why don’t you and James adopt such an approach. It would seem to have a far greater potential for changing the minds of YEC’s, plus it would honor Christ even if it didn’t change any miinds. Here’s the article: http://bit.ly/1nYxFWJ

    • Hey Mike, I resent your blanket statement here and beg to differ. I generally treat all of those who disagree with me, both on this site and in face to face conversation, with great respect, whether they are young-earther or creationists. Public figures like Ray Comfort and Ken Ham, who profit off the misrepresentation of not only science but also the gospel message, are an entirely different matter. They have entered their claims into the public sphere and anyone is entitled to respond. If their claims merit challenge, they can be challenged; and if they merit ridicule, they can be ridiculed.

      I’m sorry that you find the tone on my site distasteful and that you think it makes me “look like an atheist,” but I disagree. If you really don’t like it, by all means, find another blog that better suits you, or start your own.

      • Tyler,

        What is the basis for your assurance that Ken Ham and Ray Comfort are any less conscience-driven than you or me?

        • It doesn’t really matter what their motivation is. I can guess that the millions of dollars they rake in annually from their anti-evolution messages is a big motivator, but I can’t really “know”; that’s simply between them and God. However, I can take issue with the things that they say and do, especially considering the influence they have and the incorrect and unbiblical messages they propagate about what the Christian faith is based on. And, in fact, I do take issue with them.

          • In “taking issue with them,” what is your goal? That is, what, for you, is a good outcome of this process of ridiculing their views?

          • My goal? To demonstrate to my readers that they are incorrect. If I thought it were possible for me to convince them to stop yoking the gospel message to their particular interpretation of Genesis, that would be a goal as well.

          • I think these are reasonable and good goals for someone who holds the position you do. My point was that if you were to adopt the approach taken by the blog post referenced in the article I linked, you’d be more likely to achieve these goals.

            By contrast, merely adding ridicule to the ridicule the world already heaps on public figures like Ken and Ray would seem to repel their followers and distance those followers further from explanations that might lead them to consider breaking ranks. I do see how the mass ridicule would wear down some YEC’s, but don’t you want them coming to your side because of logic and not because of fear (of being mocked)?

          • beau_quilter

            Hi Mike

            I’m sure that I’m one of those unbelievers whose “snark” doesn’t surprise you. But having spent most of my life as a well-read Christian, I don’t understand why you think Christians shouldn’t use ridicule as a tool to make a point. Jesus certainly used ridicule. Matthew 23, for example, is full of it.

          • Good one! My favorite example of sarcasm in the NT is Paul in Galatians 5:12, where he politely wished that those who preach circumcision would really go all the way and just “emasculate themselves.” My favorite from the OT is Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, when Elijah suggested the prophets should “cry louder,” since their god might have been sleeping or perhaps was out relieving himself.

          • beau_quilter

            Excellent!

          • There’s a time and place for ridicule to make a point, but all ridicule all the time is not something that Jesus, Paul, Elijah practiced. It’s like ketchup: a little here and there spices things up, but if you were given a big bowl of it for a meal you’d probably throw it up.

            Tyler and James McGrath are constantly serving up ridicule of Ken Ham and YEC while their ostensible goal is to win over YEC’s to the evolutionary side. Because Tyler and James are offering very little in the way of substantive biblical arguments, the main benefit they offer to potential converts is freedom from the mockery. Thus whatever converts they win won’t be folks who’ve been convinced about the truth of evolution; they’ll just be people who want relief from the ridicule. This in turn adds to the problem because you have yet more adherents of evolution who can’t integrate it with the Bible and are only able to make fun of people who don’t salute evolution when its flag is waved.

          • That’s not fair, Mike. Just because I haven’t had the time yet to answer every one of your highly specific questions doesn’t mean I “offer very little in the way of substantive biblical arguments.” I’ve written plenty of articles this past year about the compatibility of scripture and the theory of evolution, most of which can be found here.

            If people just want straight theology, then no, this isn’t the site for them. That’s no secret. I’m a lay theologian, at best, certainly not a formally trained one. Folks who want that would be better served by the likes of BioLogos.

            My style is a little different. Again, if you don’t like it, by all means, go elsewhere. But you’ve made your position perfectly clear, and reiterating it again and again is not going to make me overhaul my entire website. Peace.

          • I wasn’t reiterating anything for your sake. You have made it clear that you’ve heard it and don’t want to hear it anymore. I only wrote this today because beau_quilter asked me about it today.

            As for BioLogos, they actually don’t offer much in the way of biblical arguments. For example, they take no position on the historicity of Adam.

            By the way, it’s not theological arguments that are needed but rather biblical and logical arguments. Theologically, there’s no problem with an omnipotent God creating and sustaining His creation in any way He wants. If there were no Bible, I don’t see how you’d have any problem whatsoever convincing believers that the Creator evolved everything. Of course, you’d still have the logical argument to make about how a theory of origins can make no claim about the origin. Stated another way, the question is how does something arise from nothing.

            I get, however, that you want to keep on doing things the way you are doing them…so go ahead.

            Meanwhile, here’s a dialogue with a commenter named “Dante Ting” at another blog – a theistic evolutionist who’s been willing to help me understand how he holds his view biblically: http://bit.ly/1fQ0COL Maybe you’ll want to use some of his thoughts if you ever do get around to writing those few posts you someday intend.

          • The organization itself does not take a position on the historical Adam because its many different contributors have many different opinions. If you search their archives, you will find a wealth of information on a variety of ways to view Adam without denying or ignoring the findings of modern science.

          • beau_quilter

            Yes, take a look at “Dante Ting”‘s site. He calls out Mike for being accusatory and slanderous. Why does Mike have this effect on people?

          • Yeah, I saw that…

          • beau_quilter

            Well, of course, I don’t see an inability to integrate evolution with the bible as a problem, but if you’re describing the writings of Tyler and James as “all ridicule all the time”, then you are practicing hyperbole (a form of ridicule) yourself, and clearly haven’t read much of their more substantial writings.

          • Even if my comment was hyperbolic, it’s a bit of a stretch for you to try to equate hyperbole to ridicule.

            That said, Tyler has conceded that the approach he has taken since the Nye-Ham debate is the approach he consistently takes. Even the link he gives for a list of his posts “about the compatibility of Scripture and the theory of evolution” consists primarily of attacks on YEC and ID. James protests that he is substantive, but I’ve been through enough of his posts to know that he’s deceived himself on this point.

            I come to this conviction as someone who has searched both their sites in an honest endeavor to see if there can be a way to overcome my scriptural and logical reservations about evolution. I can testify from experience that I’ve not been able to find a nourishing meal…and I’m covered in ketchup.

          • beau_quilter

            A stretch! Please … it’s no more a stretch than you equating the completely truthful statement of this blog post as ridicule!

          • If you don’t think that the original post above, which consists in a picture, caption, one-sentence explanation, and pejorative epithet – amounts to ridicule, then I doubt that there’s anything on which you and I will be able to see eye to eye.

          • beau_quilter

            Mike

            You have no idea how blind you are to your own foibles. You employed ridicule to deride Tyler’s ridicule. And your ridicule was just as forceful as his:

            On Ray Comfort “Asks for evidence of evolution; rejects all evidence of evolution.”

            and

            On Tyler Francke and James McGrath “All ridicule all the time … It’s like ketchup. a little here and there spices things up, but if you were given a big bowl of it for a meal you’d probably throw it up.”

          • beau_quilter

            Mike, I’ve read enough of your posts to know that you are deceiving yourself about your logical reservations about evolution. Honestly.

            As Tyler suggests, if you don’t like the quisine, go to another restaurant.

          • Goodbye then.

          • beau_quilter

            Hmmm … I wonder if this is goodbye to me or goodbye to the site. He’s recently “bid goodbye” to the blogs of Peter Enns and James McGrath.

          • This is goodbye to the site.

            One of the great advantages of blogs is the ability to interact with the author and others about the subjects being discussed. Some blog owners, however, take offense at challenges. In those cases, discussions can quickly become unproductive. I’m not wiilling to waste my time or someone else’s when my involvement is not welcome. Tyler and you have made it clear that’s the case here, as James and others did at his blog (there’s no worse named you can be called on the Internet than “troll”). Peter took offense at my questions, refused to answer them, and showed no interest in any sort of dialogue that didn’t agree with him. I often wonder why such blog owners don’t make their blogs “members only” so that only those who say “Amen” can be allowed into the discussion. It’s unrealiistic to think you can write a blog on a controversial subject like evolution or God or the Bible and have everyone comment the way you want them to comment.

            I often am challenged on my own blog, but it never enters my mind not to address the challenges or to sully the reputation of anyone who disagrees with me. To me, challenges and tough question just seem to go with the territory of being a blogger about important subjects.

            I couldn’t get a good understanding of how a Bible expert can get comfortable with evolution from Peter or James (Peter’s professes more belief in the Bible than James does, but both teach it professionally). While Tyler’s not a Bible expert, he is a Christian who believes in evolution, so I had hoped a productive discussion could take place. My hope did not materialize. You and he have expressed your dissatisfaction with my contributions. Thus my best course seems obvious.

            God knows my heart, that I am open to being convinced about evolution. However, I will not do so without good biblical and logical reasons. And I certainly will not do so because I am afraid of being ridiculed if I don’t.

            So, maybe I will bump into you or Tyler on some other site…but not here. I wish it were not so, but life on earth is too short for any of us to continue to speak words to folks who’ve said they don’t want to hear them.

          • More historical revisionism. Look, Mike. I never outright refused to answer a single one of your questions, and the only time that any of your “challenges” bothered me it was not because you hold a different view than I do. I have welcomed many people to comment on this site the past year, and the majority of them have disagreed with either my views on God’s existence or my views on Genesis and evolution. I am not afraid of being disagreed with.

            What bothered me about your recent comments is your unsolicited, persistent criticism of the style in which I write, and especially that you — as beau_quilter mentioned — often presented this criticism in a heavy-handed, judgmental manner, and even with the same attempts at ridicule that you supposedly find so distasteful. If you behaved in a similar way on the blogs of James McGrath and Peter Enns, I’m not at all surprised that they weren’t interested in interacting with you. I doubt very many bloggers would.

            So long then. Hope you’re able to find the answers you claim to be looking for.

          • beau_quilter

            Fortunately, these blog posts are completely unedited, so that anyone who looks back at the trail of dialogue you leave behind will see that you serve up as much ridicule and disdain as those you think you are challenging. They will also show that, rather than seeking dialogue and insight, you prefer interrogation and judgement.

          • Looks like it was a goodbye to the site. He sang his swan song below.

          • My Web host tracks sites that link to the blog, which turned me onto this. Apparently, Mike has written an entire blog post whining about his alleged mistreatment at the hands of me and other bloggers. I swear, I haven’t met anyone this (melo)dramatic since I graduated high school.

          • beau_quilter

            Melodramatic, high-handed, and self deluded. Thanks for the link.

            Gantt doesn’t seem to realize that his inability to get along with this diverse a list of bloggers says much more about him than it does about the bloggers.

          • Yeah, good point. You’re welcome!

          • beau_quilter

            Yes, goodbye. And may I suggest that in future, you visit only bloggers that already agree with you; it will save you a lot of time, since you will never budge on any opinion.

            Unless, of course, it’s the high-handed judgement of other people that you crave?

          • Even the link he gives for a list of his posts “about the compatibility of Scripture and the theory of evolution” consists primarily of attacks on YEC and ID.

            That’s plainly false, Mike. The list consists mostly of articles about the Bible and theology, and those that do respond to YEC and ID claims can hardly be called “attacks.”

    • beau_quilter

      Mike, if you’re interested in the writing of Ethan Siegel (I think he’s brilliant!) I wouldn’t bother linking to an article about his blog, I’d link directly to his blog:

      https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/8712e42fbb0d

      If you’d like to interact with him, he also maintains a another blog that allows commenting at “Science Blogs” called “Starts with a Bang”:

      http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/

      • I linked to the article because it was how I found out about Ethan’s post and wanted to give proper attribution. Nevertheless, I didn’t continue reading the article but clicked through and read Ethan’s blog directly.

        While I did not find his answers persuasive, I was struck by the straightforward, substantive, and peaceful way that he sought to make his points with the opposition. He was a positive example of the approach I’ve been encouraging Tyler and James to adopt. That they self-identify as Christians while he does not is an irony that I wish I didn’t have to point out.

        • I think the best solution would be for you to just start your own blog, Mike. You could make it perfect, and then Christian folks everywhere would have something wonderful to read without having to settle for the likes of me and James.

          • Ah, ridicule again! Do you never tire of it?

          • Not really. Do you ever tire of judging others according to your personal standards of how you believe they should conduct themselves, and pointing out each and every time you think they fail to measure up?

          • I thought your goal was to convince Christians of evolution. I’m a Christian who could be convinced of evolution so I was telling you how you could alter your approach to be more successful. You’ve said you don’t want to, so that’s that.

            As I said before, I’m only commenting here today in response to beau_quilter, and then, once you entered into the conversation, to you.

          • I thought your goal was to convince Christians of evolution.

            I’m not sure where you got that, since I have never once said that was my goal. The purpose of the site is to demonstrate that Christianity and the scientific theory of evolution can be compatible, and to respond to those who, like Ken Ham, say they are incompatible.

            If a Christian believes in evolution or doesn’t believe in evolution doesn’t make much of a difference as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think it’s a salvation issue. The only important question is what they think of Jesus. However, if they are teaching that Christianity and evolution are incompatible, that is a problem, because it creates a false dichotomy and puts a barrier in front of the gospel.

            I’ve explained all of this to you before.

        • beau_quilter

          I like his approach too; but then I like a variety of approaches. I wonder what you mean when you say that you don’t find his answers persuasive. For the most part he is dispelling the most basic of misunderstandings displayed by the people holding cards. Misunderstandings about the law of thermodynamics, the definition of theory, and the nature of the Big Bang.

      • By the way, I began a reply to him (requires 22 paragraphs, of course) but, with everything I have going on, don’t know whether I’ll have time to finish and publish it.