Following the same lines of logic that led him to declare, in that infamous clip, that modern bananas (which have been domesticated over hundreds of years by selective breeding) are “the atheist’s worst nightmare,” Comfort has in recent years begun an all-out war against evolutionary theory. In 2009, the native Kiwi “celebrated” the 150th anniversary of “On the Origin of Species” by distributing thousands of copies of the book to college campuses, with a special introduction he wrote that espoused information about the gospel and intelligent design. (Then a student at the University of Maine, I responded to Comfort’s ploy in a column in our school paper. Here’s a link, if you’re interested.)
Banana Ray is firing off another salvo today, as his latest effort, a video called “Evolution vs. God,” becomes available for download. From what I can tell, Comfort took inspiration for both the name of the project and its low regard for science from the 2004 film “Alien vs. Predator.” I can hardly wait for the sequel, “Evolution vs. God: Requiem.”
Honestly, I don’t expect this video to turn out much better than Comfort’s aforementioned introduction, which was accused of plagiarism and described by the National Center for Science Education’s longtime director Eugenie Scott as “a hopeless mess of long-ago-refuted creationist arguments, teeming with misinformation about the science of evolution, populated by legions of strawmen and exhibiting what can be charitably described as muddled thinking.”
Biologist P.Z. Myers, who is in the film, describes it this way (emphases in original):
Ray Comfort is pushing his new creationist movie with a lie. He’s setting it up that Richard Dawkins talks about the evidence for evolution, but that he went to real scientists and asked them, and Ray is going to spring a surprise on him — Comfort implies that the scientists disagreed.
I was one of those scientists. NO, I did not disagree with Dawkins about evolution or the evidence for evolution; NO, nothing I said provided any support to creationist claims; NO, there is not a lack of evidence for evolution.
I watched the trailer for “EvG” this morning, and though I was disappointed in the apparent lack of tropical yellow fruit, it did contain this gem: “If you believe in evolution, prepare to have your faith shaken.”
Good thing, then, that I don’t believe in evolution. I believe in Jesus Christ, and I hope and trust in his blood and righteousness. I don’t “believe in” evolution any more than I “believe” that germs cause disease and matter is composed of atoms. I accept these theories because they are the best-evidenced explanations of natural phenomena that we currently have.
In the end, “EvG” is nothing but more proof of Comfort and other creationists’ erroneous “belief” that science is accomplished by producing slick materials aimed at the general public. Scientists do science, and if the computer I’m currently typing on, the smartphone in my pocket, the vaccines in my blood that have helped me ward off illness and the truck I drove to work today are any indication, they do it pretty well.
The methods of inquiry that have brought us into the digital age are exactly the same as the ones that have convinced us of the truth of evolution: observation, hypothesis, experimentation and, eventually, theory. Comfort cannot separate them, at least he should not, if he hopes to have any kind of a coherent worldview.
Ironically, if the scientific method didn’t “work,” Ray Comfort would have been unable to (among many other things) make his science-denigrating video and upload it to the Internet in the first place. (So thanks a lot, scientific method.)
At least be consistent, Ray: If you must reject evolutionary theory, then it’s back to the Dark Ages with you. We’ll be round in the morning to confiscate your cellphone and car keys and trade you a carrier pigeon and a horse.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid you won’t have access to too many bananas. But look on the bright side: In the Dark Ages, the church had universal power and control. So, looks like you get to retire early. Your misguided work is done.
For another response to Comfort’s film, see this column by Michael Zimmerman, founder of The Clergy Letter Project. And, if you liked this article, why not take a second and Like us on Facebook? (If you didn’t like it — tough. Facebook ain’t got a button for that.)