An Interview with Creationist, Filmmaker, and Banana-Enthusiast Ray Comfort

Some of you know Ray Comfort because of his latest movie “Evolution Vs. God.”

Most of you know him better for his video “The Atheist’s Worst Nightmare“:

Nearly four years ago, I interviewed him for this website and he was gracious enough to answer all the questions I asked.

So, given the opportunity to do it again, and with some of your submitted questions in the mix, I asked Ray about everything from his selective-editing of videos to the infamous banana routine.

His answers are reprinted below in their entirety. (I have edited the exchange only for grammar/clarity and added links to Ray’s responses when I felt they were helpful.)

You’re known for your selective-editing of movies. In this video, you’re shown asking a rhetorical question to two young men, but later changing the question to make their responses seem more sinister. How do you respond to that? Why the deception?

When American Atheists tweeted and asked me a similar question, I tweeted back: “Undeniable, unintentional, unfortunate, but understandable, when the questions in GeniusTheMovie.com were asked about three months apart.”

There was no conspiracy on our part. My editors edit with integrity, and it was just an oversight. What I find interesting is what the question I asked is focused upon, when the young man said that he would murder someone rather than go to the police! That’s crazy.

I think PZ Myers was the one who first mentioned “selective editing.” He may not realize that that is what editors do. They select clips that are relevant to the subject. When PZ said, “Human beings are still fish,” we cut away to someone else who thought we were fish. If PZ had said, “Wait a minute. Fish have gills. Human beings aren’t still fish… I’ve changed my mind,” we wouldn’t have used the footage. We don’t twist what people say, but we do select for content and flow.

Professor Peter Nonacs (UCLA) said in the interview I did with him, “I am one of the evolutionary biologists interviewed by Ray Comfort for his new DVD. First, Ray is a charming fellow and I greatly enjoy interacting with him. I do not expect that my words will be edited out of context or that I’ll find myself somehow saying on camera that ‘All of evolutionary biology is a hoax perpetuated in order to justify atheism.’ In short, I expect that everything in the DVD will be an accurate reflection of my words… I don’t think there would [be] much on a transcript that would [indict] Ray for ‘lying.’ He doesn’t interview that way. When you try to go in depth, he’ll quickly cut you off and go to the next question. My answers will be my real answers, I’m sure.”

Pardon the quick interruption.

I asked Professor Nonacs if that statement was accurate. This is what he told me:

… I think my prediction turned out to be quite accurate. Most of my “on camera” time is spent talking about blaspheming. What that has to do with the validity of evolution, maybe only Ray understands. Every substantive discussion I have had with Ray has been either “lost” or ended up on the cutting room floor. This is really a shame. I think both sides of the evolution debate would greatly enjoy seeing the entire give and take between us. Much more so than the two-second cameos you see in the film. In person, Ray is actually more interesting and effective than the character he plays in his films. I don’t know why he doesn’t trust his audience to see a real conversation rather than resorting to editing tricks…

Okay. Back to the interview with Ray:

Will you be releasing unedited footage from your latest film so we can see how scientists responded to your questions about evolution? If not, why not?

When I asked American Atheists if they could be specific about the unedited footage in “Evolution vs. God,” they said: “Manipulative editing: 7m22s to 7m28s: You ask 4 ex. He has 1000s. You say 1, then cut b4 he can give it!” [Hemant's note: In English, that says, "You asked for examples of evolution. He had thousands. You asked for just one, then cut away before he could give it.]

So the relevant thought is “What did the professor say after I said, ‘I want just one…’? Did he provide that one proof of Darwinian evolution?” I say that he didn’t. It was just a tight edit. Will we release what he said? I will think about it, even though we are under no obligation to do so.

Would you consider taping and promoting an unedited, back-and-forth conversation with a scientist about evolution? Not a debate, per se, but a longer version of your Q & A sessions.

I would consider it.

Your movie is called “Evolution Vs. God”… but there are plenty of Christians who accept evolution. Are they true Christians?

A Christian is someone who loves and trusts in Jesus. Someone who says, “I’m a Christian, but I believe in evolution,” is in essence saying, “I love and trust in Jesus but I think He was lying when He said, “In the beginning God made them male and female.”

It would be similar to someone saying “I’m an atheist but I believe that God exists.”

Why do you think atheists refuse to take you very seriously? (I mean that sincerely; compared to other Creationists, you tend to get mocked a lot more than they do.)

I can understand why they mock me. It’s my fault. I unwisely did my silly banana routine on our TV program, without a LIVE audience (which I had done for 30 years) and, in retrospect, it bombed. A LIVE audience makes all the difference. Even Richard Dawkins got laughter when he did it on TV a number of times. It was just bad TV but what made it really bad was when the guy who made the YouTube clip used a picture of a modern banana to show what bananas looked like 5,000 years ago. No one thought about how not too many people had cameras 5,000 years ago. I even believed the bogus hybridization line for a time. So, when it went worldwide, it understandably made me look like a doofus. [Hemant's note: I think this is the video Ray's referring to.]

Even though it was very humbling, it was good for me because when I was asked to do interviews on atheist programs, the hosts were surprised that I could string a whole sentence together. It set a low bar for me.

If evolution is a lie, why do the overwhelming majority of scientists accept it? Why should we trust you over them?

I’m not asking anyone to trust me. If there is one thing that irritates most atheists, it’s the thought that they have faith in anyone or anything. But that’s what you are talking about when you speak of “trust” in scientists. I once trusted that evolution was scientifically viable… until I asked for scientific evidence to back it up.

Most who think that they believe in evolution actually believe in adaptation. That’s something that Creationists also believe in. Our skin adapts to sunlight. Animals, fish and birds adapt. That’s not Darwinian evolution.

As a Christian, my worldview is radically different from that of an atheist. I trust Genesis completely because it stands the scientific test. What we see in nature and in the fossil record reflects what Genesis says — every animal/fish/bird and insect has male and female (except for a few snails) and every one brings forth after its own kind. I believe that Genesis is God’s Word, but you asked me not to be preachy, so I won’t elaborate any further in case I breech the trust you have placed in me.

What if you’re wrong and you’ve dedicated your life to a lie?

If I’m wrong I lose nothing. I have had a wonderful life (I’m coming up to 64 and will be out of here soon), and I attribute it to adhering to biblical principles. I have a great marriage because it has been built on love and trust, three kids that have never strayed into drugs or alcohol, and they have given me eight grandchildren. On top of that I have many friends who love me, and I even have a bunch of atheist friends.

I have had the honor of standing on a box and speaking open-air style more than 5,000 times, and when I’m heckled by those who disagree with me, it is such a satisfying challenge to reason with them. If I’m wrong and there’s no God and no afterlife, I won’t even know about it.

Do you believe that, if evolution is true, we should be able to see one species evolve into another species in our lifetime?

We see that all the time — in lizards, bacteria, fish, etc. That’s not “Darwinian evolution” (as Richard Dawkins calls it). Darwin was looking for a change of “kinds.” As I mentioned in “Evolution vs. God” there is the feline kind (cats and tiger), the canine kind (dogs and coyotes) and humankind (you and me). Biology-online.org says that “kind” is: “Race; genus; species; generic class; as, in mankind or humankind.”

Last time we spoke, in 2009, you said you “don’t have any idea about the age of the earth.” Do you still hold that view?

Yes. I have no idea of its exact age, but I don’t believe that it’s millions of years old. To do so you have to have faith in dating processes and they have been proven to be untrustworthy.

What are some of the toughest questions you’ve been asked and had difficulty answering concerning faith, the Bible, and morality?

The most difficult is “Why does God allow suffering”? I just wrote a book on the subject called God Speaks that looks at the book of Job (which is about suffering). As a Christian I understand that we live in a “fallen” creation/nature — that in the beginning (before evil entered the human race) there was no suffering or death, and I know that God promises to work everything out for my good. But there is still the question of unspeakable suffering that is all around us. But that doesn’t shake my trust in God for the moment.

Thank you for allowing me to be interviewed. If you are ever in the Los Angeles area, I would count it a privilege to take you to lunch.

I’ve said this before but it’s worth saying again: Ray doesn’t *have* to respond to any of these questions and most Creationists would probably have ignored them altogether. So I give him credit where it’s due for at least partaking in the exchange, even if his responses are just waiting to be rebutted and probably won’t satisfy anyone reading this.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Rain

    There was no conspiracy on our part. My editors edit with integrity, and it was just an oversight.

    Well then how about initiating a recall and issuing some some refunds mister integrity person? Or how about at least spending some of your expenditures on publicizing a retraction? Or at least how about three nuns and a rowboat?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPwrodxghrw

  • Art_Vandelay

    Yes. I have no idea of its exact age, but I don’t believe that it’s millions of years old.

    Sweet…he got that one right!

    • Gus

      Yeah, I like how he’s even wrong within his own frame of ignorance. It’s like turtles of wrongness all the way down.

      Well, unless “millions” means “thousands of millions”, in which case he’s just wrong.

      • aaa

        Well, I believe the age of the universe is dozens of years old. It just happens to be about a billion or so dozen.

  • Gus

    Ugh. He’s so boring, predictable, and dishonest. At least now we know where he’s placed his goal post for evolution more exactly: right where science already tells us we can’t possibly see it in a human lifetime, or even a number of them. How convenient.

    • ZeldasCrown

      It’s pretty par for the course for folks like Ray. In any issue, the proof that they state they will accept is always something non-measurable or non-provable. None of the quantifiable evidence is ever enough (or they require demonstration that contrary information could never arise, and since nobody can measure everything that’s ever existed or ever will exist in the future, this is an impossible demand). All the while, simultaneously, the burden of proof he and his like require for themselves is much lower to non-existent. No quantifiable evidence of any kind is required nor has any sort of measurement or experiment has ever been preformed by their experts. Where are the scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals detailing the fossil information supporting Creationism, or the experiments with generations of bacteria detailing the changes between separate populations that demonstrate a divine presence directing the mutations?

      • K. C. Sunbeam

        Ray Comfort is very busy; he has a family and is running a business. I however, am completely free to discuss these issues. So please hound me on everything you have a beef with.
        my website: http://shockedbytruth.jimdo.com
        my e-mail: alicewonderland523@yahoo.com

        • Spuddie

          It takes a lot of work to profit off of continually lying to people!

          If you can’t discuss issues here, go the fuck away you shill. Nobody wants to give page hits to your spam and virus infested website.

    • Guest

      I don’t know, it might be possible with bacteria or fruit flies. If two population were isolated and put in different enough conditions for long enough. Of course then they’d probably claim that since there was a guiding intelligence behind the experiment, it was proof of creationism.

      • Nohm

        That, and their usual reaction to that is “but it’s still bacteria” and “but it’s still fruit flies”

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    I’d second the kudos for at least answering the questions. While I think atheists are unlikely to be persuaded to adopt the mindset by these answers, the answers have the potential to help atheists have a more precise model of the mindset.

    • Xuuths

      No. No kudos. He is just looking for EVERY opportunity to spread his lies.

  • sam

    The meme must be spread that for anyone who knows who this man is, and agrees to an on camera interview with him, that they must also record the conversation themselves. That will put an end to his editing once enough full interviews wind up on Youtube.

  • NewEnglandBob

    How could anyone be satisfied with his ‘answers’ which alternate between nonsense, lies, distortion a and obfuscations.

    I feel like I need to shower after reading that to remove the slime he spews.

    • JET

      Unfortunately, there are thousands of people out there who think he’s an “intellect.” Sigh…

  • the moother

    Hello Ray,

    The world is a worse place because of you and your ilk. The sooner your kind goes the way of the dinosaurs, the better for humanity.

    Yours,

    Everyone

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    To do so you have to have faith in dating processes and they have been proven to be untrustworthy.

    Confirmation bias will destroya.

    Given time, I would have looked up some of the things he’s banned from his FB page or blog. He’s pretty quick to censor. As is his right of course, but some of the stuff he’s cutting is really mild, and certainly following his rules.

    • Nohm

      I think quotes like the one you presented are pure projection on their part.

      They accept what their trusted authority figures tell them, and therefore they assume we do too. The fact that someone has actually investigated the claims of evolution and has actually done the math appears to be a foreign concept.

      My evidence? Look at the kind of research that they do.

      As I often ask creationists:

      When I, Nohm, want to learn about creationism, I talk to and listen to and read from creationists.

      When you, Mr. Creationist, want to learn about evolution, you _____________.

      (Please fill in the blank)

      (note: the question above was not directed towards Rich Wilson)

      • skyblue

        I absolutely love this – especially the question about what creationists do to learn about evolution. I think that about sums it up and I will ask that to the next creationist I talk to. Thank you!

        I don’t think they really understand the concept of peer-reviewed science and full disclosure, as accustomed as they are to accepting unsubstantiated claims without learning any of the relevant science.

        • Nohm

          If you can ever get a creationist to fill in that blank, he/she will be the first one to do so.

          They avoid answering my question like the plague.

  • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com/ KevinKat

    And once again Ray Comfort demonstrates that he is a LIAR! He’s had evolution explained to him so many freaking times and yet he still trots out his little fake “evolution” definition that people have taken him to task with.

    I don’t care if Ray Comfort is the most responsive creationist ever. You do NOT give him an audience. You ignore him. You realize that what you say will be twisted.

    If you want to interview Ray or accept an interview from him, you ask him first off “what is the definition of evolution.” If he says anything other than the actual scientific definition (which he knows because he’s heard it so many times) then you cut it off right then and there.

    That man is a charlatan, a greedy deceiver, and a liar who makes money off of lies and fraud.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      *you ask him first off, “What is the definition of ‘Evolution’?” and then require him to explain it in his own words.

      Added because the other day some dimwit troll here claimed he understood it and could dismantle it because he could cut and paste the definition.

  • Grotoff

    The crazy thing is that Comfort seems really serious. He seems to really think that “kinds” are a biological thing and that fossils prove Genesis. I mean… what can you do with someone so thoroughly deluded?

    • Xuuths

      His entire income and career are based on repeating those lies. He’s well aware that he is lying, but knows he is unable to get any other kind of job with his lack of skills. So he keeps on lying.

      • Miranda Flemming

        and unfortunately, gullible people like my family believe in all that crap and I was indoctrinated with it too. Child abuse

  • Glasofruix

    - You’ve been caught editing your videos to turn tables in your favor, what can you say about that?
    - Well my editor edits the shit out of those videos with integrity, the fact that it turns stuff in our favor is irrelevant, we don’t tolerate opposing views or facts anyways, so stfu about it already.

    If you search for dishonesty in the dictionnary you’ll have a shitload of pictures of people like him.

  • Edmond

    The Book of Genesis stands the scientific test?? Sure, I’ll discuss that with the next snake or donkey I see. Right after I visit Babel, to see the site where all lanugages poofed into existence. Let me just finish building my giant boat, which can hold millions of animals and a year’s worth of food and fresh water. Of course first I need to collect the animals from all points of the Earth, and then redistribute them to their habitats after our trip. Where they will then repopulate their species from just two each. Including prey animals who share territory with their predators.
    I can’t even go on. How absurd.

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      While you do that, I’ll be putting all my houseplants in the bathtub for forty days to show that plants survived submersion during the flood just fine, no problem with the base of the food pyramid vanishing.

      • Spuddie

        I was going to continuously shovel tons of herbivore poop into my living room for 40 days to prove that Noah would not have died of super-instant cholera on the Ark.

        • viaten

          Make sure to leave nothing more than at most one small attic window open. The roof should be one cubit above the window.

          • Edmond

            And don’t forget to mix your fresh-water and salt-water fish!

        • Doug Weickum

          “super-instant cholera” had me rollin’, good stuff.

      • trj

        It rained for 40 days, but Noah and the gang actually floated around in the ark for a year. So make sure you don’t need your bathtub for a while. Oh, and remember to add plenty of bath salt. Also, if you could immerse the bathroom in utter darkness to emulate the miles-thick layer of water, that would make it even more accurate.

        I guess, what I’m saying is, don’t perform this experiment unless you have a second bathroom.

        • Godlesspanther

          Leave the shower running for forty days and forty nights to emulate the rain.

    • Fred

      But, uh, its a miracle and stuff. Ya know?

    • Guest

      Don’t forget to take an adequate supply of dust for all the snakes to eat…

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      Don’t forget that after you finally reach safe land with all the animals you worked so hard to save… You should then kill some of them and burn them since Jesus-Yahweh likes the smell of burnt flesh.

      • islandbrewer

        … Jesus-Yahweh likes the smell of burnt flesh.

        Well crap! Who doesn’t?

    • sam

      And don’t forget to worship (& teach you children to worship) the being responsible for mass, world-wide genocide afterward.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    • TheG

      Please investigate into the existence of all the evil swans and evil pilot fish.

  • Ash Bowie

    I think Ray genuinely doesn’t understand that he’s being so profoundly dishonest and evasive in the things he says.

    He has a very strong commitment to a set of beliefs that are inherently irrational and without any reasonable evidentiary support. The dissonance that comes from that results in a massive blind spot, both in terms of what he sees as true and the ethical flaws in his behavior. In other words, since his commitment to his beliefs is greater than any commitment he has to truth or personal integrity, then any statement, no matter how dishonest or evasive, is permissible so long as it conforms to or supports his beliefs.

    I’m going to be charitable and assume that Ray doesn’t *want* to be dishonest, so he unconsciously interprets his BS as being honest and sensible. As such, Ray believes he is being honest and direct with his answers, but only because his frame of reference is his beliefs and not a reasonable standard of truth or logic. Since he believes that his worldview is true, any statement or action that supports it is therefore also true. This is just one more way that religion skews people’s reason and moral compass.

    • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com/ KevinKat

      No, Ray wants to be dishonest. He’s had no lack of people explain to him numerous times where precisely he misses the point in regards to evolution. I spent the better part of two months on his blog telling him the scientific definition of evolution (along with many others) and he still repeats the trope of “macro” versus “micro” evolution and how evolution means a cat gives birth to a dog.

      He’s a liar and a fraud.

      • deepak shetty

        He’s had no lack of people explain to him numerous times where precisely he misses the point in regards to evolution….. He’s a liar and a fraud.
        Not necessarily – He might genuinely believe something and he isnt convinced by the answers provided – Unless you want to conclude that all creationists are liars and frauds. Its the same for religious people – you can provide as many reasons for not believing in a theistic God – It doesn’t convince them no matter how many times you explain it.

        • Spuddie

          “Unless you want to conclude that all creationists are liars and frauds”

          I do. They are all liars and frauds. There, said it. No Creationist believes what they say in public. They are all full of crap. Its just a matter of how much they understand the nature of their own arguments and how much of it they are willing to ignore.

          By its very nature Creationism is dishonesty. Its about spinning lies to pretend that faith is not the basis of their religious belief.

          A Creationist denies faith in public. They make claims that they don’t need it because they have all of this alleged evidence to support their belief in God. Therefore you must as well. Of course they will never accept evidence which could disprove belief in God, so their arguments are logically defective from the start. They do not even trust their own methods of alleged proof! [See how long it takes any given Creationist to break down and deny the efficacy of all science with talk of "Natural materialism?]

          Ultimately it all comes down to having faith as a religious belief and finding whatever argument one can scrounge up in support of it. Honesty, logic, information, objectively reliable methods all be damned. A Creationist will drop any pretense of credibility when it suits them and fall back to their ultimate default position. “I believe because of faith and nothing else”.

          • deepak shetty

            And is that also true for theists? Also liars and frauds? Surely anyone who buys virgin births and 3 day resurrections inspite of the reasonable,logical arguments against it is a liar or fraud?

            • Spuddie

              Only the ones who hold to scriptural inerrancy. Literalism is the bane of religious belief because it seeks to banish faith.

              The overwhelming majority of theists do not hold such beliefs. They are willing to create clear separations between spiritual and scientific truth. They are willing to accept that the spiritual truth is based entirely on faith and have no problems saying so both privately and publicly.

              Creationism is all about attacking both by destroying the nature of what makes either spiritual or scientific truth acceptable. Like flushing a Bible down a toilet. It can be done, but it will destroy the Bible and damage your plumbing.

          • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion
          • Miranda Flemming

            one of Ray’s devotees said it doesn’t matter how much evidence there is for evolution. It will not shake their faith. Their minds are set like concrete

        • Miranda Flemming

          well, they are at least lying to themselves. They will even directly contradict themselves. It’s like their brains are closed as they refuse to question their beliefs for fear they will discover they have devoted their lives to a lie. And a rather profitable one for Ray, He has been regurgitating the same old hell-pitch for decades. Easy money

      • MNb

        Sure all creationists I have met are liars and frauds. The thing is that the first person who believes the lies and fraud of a creationist is that creationist him/herself.
        Never underestimate the human capacity for self-deceit.

        • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com/ KevinKat

          Screw that, Ray Comfort makes money off this lying and bullshit.

          • quickshot

            I’m not sure that money is relevant to the argument. I might be able to entertain that this means he is pandering to an audience for cash, but that is a slippery slope. After all, Hemant is paid by Patheos for this blog posting.

            • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com/ KevinKat

              Hemant isn’t paid probably over $100,000 dollars by Patheos for his blog posting. (According to the 2011 tax returns from Living Waters, Ray made $102,000.)

              • quickshot

                While I am sure you are right, it doesn’t negate the fact that this is a cash-for-words blogging platform. I would personally love to see Patheos create a section or label for pro-bono bloggers.

              • Miranda Flemming

                that’s small fry compared to some of the other narcissist fundie preachers who can take for themselves the millions they rake in. But still ridiculous for spewing bullshit

        • Miranda Flemming

          the key here is self-deceit. If one tells lies enough, they believe their own lies. I doubt he will scrutinise his own ‘inconsistencies’ and direct ‘contradictions’ ie that not being ‘honest’.

      • Ash Bowie

        “No, Ray wants to be dishonest. He’s had no lack of people explain to him numerous times where precisely he misses the point in regards to evolution. ” That suggests to me that Ray wants to be *right*, not dishonest. From an objective viewpoint, it is clear that Ray is frequently dishonest and that his basic claims are fraudulent. But it seems to me that Ray doesn’t see it because very few people feel gratification at being fraudulent liars. Many people feel gratification when they believe they own a precious truth, as Ray clearly does, and the mind comes with many onboard biases and instincts designed to protect gratifying beliefs from the intrusion of reality. The discomfort we feel at reading his answers is the same kind of discomfort Ray is protecting himself from when his actions and beliefs are “attacked” by reason and reality.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I think his shtick about “have you ever told a lie, looked upon a woman with lust, stolen anything- then you’re a …”

          is evidence of that. It’s a setup where he gets to be ‘right’ about you being a ‘sinner’. A lot of his stuff, including his interviews, are setups. And his editing reflects that. He has his ‘truth’ and he’s setting out to prove it. He’s never tried to find out the truth, he’s always attempted to prove his view.

          • Miranda Flemming

            that’s where he always goes – to put the other person under spotlight – make them uncomfortable. Not rational at all. Just guilt-tripping manipulation.

        • UWIR

          No, I’ve had my beliefs attacked by reason by reality before, and while it can be uncomfortable, the discomfort is completely different from the discomfort I get from reading lies and distortions.

      • usclat

        He is that and much more … a complete asshole.

      • Randay

        Ray believes in Genesis which gets the order of things reversed. “God” created the heavens(whatever that is)and the earth before he created the stars. He also created the “firmament”(whatever that is) with water both above and below it. Then he created land to separate the waters(presumably those that were below the firmament). Animals before plants. Sex wasn’t created until Adam and Eve. Nothing is said about the sex of plants and animals before that. Ray Comfort is just a con man.

        • kebija

          You really should read Genesis, you have it wrong. You have no idea what you are talking about.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            And yet, as if by magic, you can’t explain what’s supposedly wrong here.

            Roughly everyone here is more familiar with the Bible than you are, by the by.

          • RobMcCune

            Show, don’t tell.

    • skyblue

      Since creationists start by assuming their conclusion and THEN look at the facts, they’re left with no choice but to resort to ignorance and dishonesty. I also think for many in this position, there is a lot of FEAR of anything resembling an honest look at the facts. How many creationists grew up being told by their parents that hell is a real place of eternal torture for those who believe wrongly? How many were deliberately prevented from learning real science or critical thinking? I imagine it’s terrifying to come from a background like that, and face the possibility that through a scientific search for truth about the world, you might end up on the bad side of a vengeful, cruel God.

      And we all know how human beings act when motivated by fear…

      • Miranda Flemming

        Fear will be a big part of such beliefs. Apparently a big part of Ray’s conversion was because he was afraid of death. Now, my guess is he is fearful that he lives and preaches a lie, hence his attacks on evolution

    • SH.

      I’m sorry, but this isn’t true:
      “In other words since his commitment to his beliefs is greater than any commitment he
      has to truth or personal integrity, then any statement, no matter how
      dishonest or evasive, is permissible so long as it conforms to or
      supports his beliefs.”
      Ray Comfort lives and breathes to tell the world about Jesus Christ, to whom he (Ray Comfort) is committed. Jesus said: “I am the way the truth and the life”.

      This is “commitment to truth.”

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Commitment to the truth requires the understanding that one can be wrong, and the search for ways for one to test if they are in fact wrong.

        This leads him to argue that the human eye is far too complex to simply have evolved. Many people have attempted to explain the well understood evolution of the eye, including examples of various stages of eye evolution in other species, including many that are by any reasonable description ‘better’ than ours.

        Ray has shown no indication of paying any attention, other than to claim that he doesn’t have a blind spot. Rather than actually understand what a blind spot is he just declares that he doesn’t have one.

        At least he finally looked up ‘bibliophile’, but that took some effort.

        • kebija

          “Ways for one to test”…”Many people have attempted to explain the well understood evolution of the eye, including examples of various stages of eye evolution in other species, including many that are by any reasonable description ‘better’ than ours.”

          Has anybody actually observed the evolution of the eye? How has one tested such evolution of the eye? Where is the starting point for such evolution? An attempt to explain means they are unable to actually explain with facts and evidence. To me this sounds like you may have faith in science, you are believing though you have not actually seen, nor could what you are talking about be properly tested.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            http://lmgtfy.com/?q=evolution+human+eye

            Problem is, you’re doing the same thing Ray does. Yes, the evolution of the eye is explained with facts and evidence.

            The ‘attempt’ doesn’t imply that no fact or evidence were used, but that the other party didn’t want to pay attention, because the other party didn’t think they had anything to learn.

            Yes, when 99+% of the scientists in a field, in a desperate attempt to prove each other wrong, all agree on something, I have a great deal of trust in that something being the best explanation available.

            We carry many of the same Endogenous Retro Virus markers as chimps and a few less with gorillas. But there are none that are shared by chimps and gorillas and NOT us. The two possible explanations I’m aware of are: we share a common ancestor with chimps, and further back, humans and chimps share a common ancestor with gorillas. That is, we’re closer to chimps than chimps are to gorillas.

            Or.

            God made us separately but looking like we’re related as a sophisticated ruse to trick us.

            If you have a third explanation, I’d love to hear it. Or if you’re going with the “God is Tricky” version, I’d love to hear how you know the bible isn’t similarly a giant ruse to trick us.

            p.s.

            ERVs are just one piece of evidence. “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne has dozens more examples.

            Part of that “Ways for one to test” is to read arguments against your position. That’s why many of us know the Creationism/ID arguments. We’re not actually opposed to evolution being wrong. We’re just annoyed by people who completely ignore overwhelming evidence that evolution is true in favor of untested religious convictions.

            Good day Ma’am/Sir.

      • Spuddie

        So his lying is OK since it is done for Jesus.

      • Ash Bowie

        SH, thank you for providing a perfect illustration of my point. Since a commitment to this fundamentalist view of Christianity is considered a “commitment to truth”, it is therefore possible to set aside any commitment to actual truth. Or said another way, anything that supports the belief becomes, by definition, truthful, regardless of actual consistency with reality or behavioral integrity. So, when Ray says things that are demonstrably wrong or when he avoids facing up to unethical behavior (like the selective editing of his videos), he is able to assuage his discomfort by assuming that anything in support of his beliefs becomes righteous and justified. His well-being would crumble if he were to suddenly and fully awaken to his numerous profound failures of integrity.

    • Dave

      “… One more way that religion skews people’s reason and moral compass.”
      Let’s assume you are right about that one… So what? Who cares? Reason doesn’t matter and neither does morality, right?

      • Ash Bowie

        Huh? Are you being facetious or are you seriously asking me if I think reason and morality don’t matter?

        • Dave

          I am asking whether you think morality and reason matter.

          • Ash Bowie

            Ah. Ok, that’s strange, but a fair enough question. I’m tempted just to answer “duh”, but let’s see if I can give a better answer than that.

            In the most simple terms, reason and morality have a relationship to each other in the following sense: Reason is an effective tool for inquiring about and determining the probability of truth regarding phenomena in the real world. Morality is an effective (and inborn) tool for maintaining social and interpersonal stability. The moral consequences of any given behavior are grounded in prevailing conditions, i.e. what is objectively true. Thus, the more reasonable one is, the better able they are to act morally.

            Now then, none of that answers your question, but it’s important to establish that reason and morality are related. But do they matter? The answer is “yes” if one values the following: (a) maximizing well-being and minimizing suffering, (b) living in a just, stable society, and (c) increasing scientific knowledge. If one values any of these three (although I would argue you ultimately can’t have any one without the other two), then both reason and morality are absolute requirements and thus “matter”.

            And for all our faults and errors, from an historical perspective our society has increased all three: there is less suffering (thanks largely to medicine), more justice (esp for minorities compared to a mere 100 years ago), and certainly more scientific knowledge. My conclusion would then be that a lot of people “care” about these things, too…enough to keep up a stable society that enables improvements in these fundamental areas.

            So, there you go. Do morality and reason matter? Duh.

            • Dave

              Good answer, but this is all hangs on my willingness to care about anybody but myself, or what suits my own desires. So what do we do with somebody who refuses to adopt this mentality? Somebody who cares about their own well-being, but who doesn’t care about anybody else? Sure, we can argue that His well-being is linked to compassion, but let us not for one moment believe that he thinks so. He doesn’t care about living in a just and stable society, so long as it is kind toward him or he is strong enough to take vengeance. And he only cares about scientific knowledge is in so much as it benefits him. What do we do with such a man? Morality may be depend upon reason (although I do not believe so because we don’t ever call the actions of animals immoral, if anything the opposite is true, the less reason you have the less moral guilt you have) but I do not buy that reason depends upon morality. It takes quite a bit of reason to commit heinous crimes and get away with it. It takes even more reason to come up with a strategy to win war. A desire for scientific knowledge is also needed in order to win war. It also takes a stable (and a somewhat just society) to beat another nation. All of this is reasonable. How it is moral, I do not see. For sometimes nation decides to conquer nation for any of the same reason a man decides to kill another man. To have the prize of his possessions or just simply because he does not like him. So reason may matter very much to a very immoral man. So why does morality matter?

              • Ash Bowie

                The long and the short of it is this: a moral society is a functioning society, so even the most amoral person should rationally desire that at least most people behave ethically. I would say to such a person that, unless one is genuinely sociopathic or mentally ill, happiness and fulfillment ultimately require ethical behavior. In other words, if one only cares about one’s self, that person should nevertheless behave ethically because that offers the best long-term chance of happiness. Unethical behavior eventually leads to social rejection (or incarceration at worst), as well as guilt and shame (again, unless one is genuinely anti-social). In other words, any short term gains from unethical behavior are eventually lost in the inevitable tide of negative consequences.

                Being moral isn’t just about caring for people, it is also about living in harmony with the self and society…I don’t mean that in a New Age kind of way. I mean that a moral person lives in a congruent, coherent way. He has integrity…his actions match his values and his values allow him to form beneficial relationships with others. This is a big ingredient to happiness.

                I’ll try to answer a few specific points:

                “He doesn’t care about living in a just and stable society, so long as it is kind toward him or he is strong enough to take vengeance.” His caring is irrelevant to the fact that most people do want a just and stable society, and that he would most likely be more miserable if he didn’t live in one. Vengeance does not increase happiness, esp since vengeance will eventually be enacted upon the avenged.

                “What do we do with such a man?” As long as he doesn’t hurt or exploit anyone, we don’t do anything with him. He gets to live with his misery.

                “Morality may be depend upon reason…” I didn’t claim this. I said that the more reasonable one is, the more moral their actions can be because they have a greater likelihood of understanding existing conditions and consequences.

                “It takes quite a bit of reason to commit heinous crimes and get away with it.” Planning is only one aspect of reason. A reasonable person would be unlikely to commit heinous crimes.

                “How [war] is moral, I do not see.” The ethics of war is too complicated for this space. I will say that science and logic can certainly be used for immoral acts. This does not make science and logic immoral, however, nor do they make war inevitable or even likely. Further, one can try to employ reason and come to wrong conclusions…reason is not foolproof, especially when human biases and passions get involved (as they always do). But I guarantee that things would be a lot worse without reason.

                “So why does morality matter?” Because without it, the human race would die out. Simple as that.

                • Dave

                  First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions and to discuss them with me. But I want to challenge you with a thought, that is that it is wrong for me to murder someone, not because if everyone did it the human race would die out, but because it is simply wrong. I am breaking a sacred law, and I am taking from them that which is sacred. It is wrong for me to bully and insult someone, not because ultimately it makes me feel bad, or the human race might die out if everyone did it, but because I am violating them and degrading them and I do not have that right. Which comes down to saying that “such and such is wrong because it is wrong.” Which I will admit is a very low sounding morality, but I think it is a truer morality. A thief shouldn’t steal, because stealing is wrong, it is wrong to take that which doesn’t belong to me. In this sense morality matters, because doing wrong is violating a sacred commandment. Violating those commandments matters, because we will have to give an account on judgement day to the one who gave those commandments, and if we have violated them, we will be judged, because we have this thing called a conscience, which has told us we have broken these commandments. So we have no excuse for doing wrong.

                • Ash Bowie

                  …it is wrong for me to murder someone, not because if everyone did it the human race would die out, but because it is simply wrong.

                  I think you are conflating a few different things I’ve been saying. The end of humanity is an inevitable result of a complete lack of morality…remember, you asked “So why does morality matter?” Well, that’s why morality matters. That is not the same thing as saying what underlies morality (i.e. what makes an act moral), which I’ve argued is maximizing well-being and minimizing suffering. It is wrong for you to murder on two different levels. On a macro scale, it is wrong as a general rule since a society that allows for murder will not last long. On the micro scale it is wrong for you personally to murder because you are increasing suffering (in the painful and horrific act of murder and of the grieving loved ones), and completely cut off the possibility of increasing well-being now that the person is, you know, dead. Hence, murder isn’t wrong just because it is wrong (a tautology)…it is wrong because it profoundly violates the fundamental ground of morality.

                  It is wrong for me to bully and insult someone…because I am violating them and degrading them…

                  Right. By bullying and insulting them, you are needlessly increasing suffering.

                  Which comes down to saying that “such and such is wrong because it is wrong.”

                  I’ve demonstrated why this is not the case.

                  A thief shouldn’t steal, because stealing is wrong, it is wrong to take that which doesn’t belong to me.

                  First, I think it can be argued that it isn’t always wrong to steal. What about the hungry homeless child who steals bread for him and his little sister? What about the government employee who steals classified files to blow the whistle on corruption? But if we’re talking about common larceny, then that is wrong for all the same reasons I’ve mentioned: a society that allows theft would be chaotic and an individual theft is wrong because it has the strong potential to needlessly increase suffering (both for the property owner as well as for himself since he might be incarcerated or even shot in the act).

                  In this sense morality matters, because doing wrong is violating a sacred commandment. Violating those commandments matters, because we will have to give an account on judgement day…

                  Ah, ok, got it. But the principle nevertheless holds true. The only practical difference is that my concern is entirely earthly (i.e. how behavior impacts people in the here and now) while your concern is with the afterlife. Basically, heaven maximizes well-being and hell maximizes suffering. There are, of course, a great many problems with the theistic moral argument, but I’ll leave that aside for now. Suffice it to say, the basic principle of maximizing well-being and minimizing suffering underlies all moral decisions, including those grounded in theism.

                • Dave

                  “I think you are conflating a few different things I’ve been saying. The end of humanity is an inevitable result of a complete lack of morality…remember, you asked “So why does morality matter?” Well, that’s why morality matters. ” Nope, I am simply disagreeing with you. I am saying that morality matters because to practice injustice towards even one person, is wrong. Yes, I agree that a complete lack of morality will end humanity, but lacking it quite a bit will allow it to continue for who knows how long. For example a society could be perfectly “moral” (although I doubt it) accept practice injustice toward a particular group of people. What I am saying is this matters because it is immoral. And why is it immoral? Because it is unjust. Why is injustice wrong? Because it inflicts suffering on another. This matters because it is wrong. But why is it wrong to inflict suffering on another? Because there is a violation of a sacred commandment. The only way I see that command being sacred, is if a Holy God gave it. Because if no God exists, neither does sacredness exist. and if sacredness does not exist, then neither do sacred commandments exist. And if those commandments do not exist, morality is a lie that any rational human being can overcome. But I believe you will argue that man is basically good. I know myself all too well to believe this argument. Sure I may be good in some people’s eyes, maybe even your eyes. But if morality exists, if a righteous God were to judge me on my deeds, (not counting the corruption of my thoughts), I would go straight to hell. No one can convince me otherwise. But here is a question for you, which I do not expect you to answer to me. If a righteous God were to judge you, how would you fair? You may be good in your own eyes, but so are a lot of people who do wrong, even those ‘religious people’ are good in their own eyes (this is why Jesus Christ spoke against the Pharisees so vehemently.)

                • Ash Bowie

                  I am saying that morality matters because to practice injustice towards even one person, is wrong.

                  Yes, because doing so needlessly increases suffering.

                  For example a society could be perfectly “moral” (although I doubt it) accept practice injustice toward a particular group of people.

                  A society that practices injustice is not perfectly moral.

                  Why is injustice wrong? Because it inflicts suffering on another. …

                  You don’t need any of the sentences past these two. It is wrong because it inflicts suffering on another, full stop.

                  And if those commandments do not exist, morality is a lie that any rational human being can overcome.

                  I’ve already demonstrated that this is not true. Morality consists of judgments regarding behavior…it is good if it increases well-being without needlessly increasing suffering and it is bad/evil if it needlessly increases suffering. I challenge you to name a single act that violates this principle. Further, as my original reply to you outlined, the more reasonable one is, the more moral that person can be…in other words, one cannot properly reason one’s self into an unethical act (which is true if you understand what reason is).

                  But I believe you will argue that man is basically good.

                  Humans have the intrinsic capability of being good, while also having the capability to be bad. We are not one essential thing or the other. But the three keys to coming out on the side of good are reason, compassion, and the development of excellent character (e.g. integrity, courage, fortitude, etc).

                  If a righteous God were to judge you, how would you fare?

                  I consider the question irrelevant since there is no empirical criteria by which to measure (i.e. there is no evidence of a god and there is certainly no clear standard of divine morality). My concern is the degree to which I increase well-being and decrease suffering. This is one reason why I am a child psychologist; it is very fulfilling and meaningful for me to help alleviate the emotional suffering of children. Of course, I’ve hurt others in my life, mostly by accident but sometimes on purpose, and as a moral agent I feel regret and sometimes even shame at some of my deeds. And rather than worry about a (nonexistent) divine judge, I instead am able to focus on increasing my reason, compassion, and character so that I can act in more ethical ways, thereby making the world a better place.

                • Dave

                  Now we begin to have some fun (I mean this seriously). “it is good if it increases well-being without needlessly increasing suffering and it is bad/evil if it needlessly increases suffering. I challenge you to name a single act that violates this principle.” There is no way in history I could, because if I named one that violated that principle, you would say that it wasn’t immoral, because you have defined morality for yourself. Regardless my argument wasn’t trying to say that increasing suffering isn’t immoral. My question is if it is immoral, then why is it immoral. This is why I said that it is wrong because it is wrong. You say, that it is wrong if it increases suffering, I ask why that is wrong. Because you say so? Maybe we say that it is wrong because it will wipe out the human race if we all increased suffering on others a thousand fold. Well then, why is that wrong? And I would argue that it was wrong long before it became an existential threat. Which I know that you admit. So really, the question lies in why it is wrong to increase suffering on others. I don’t know any other answer other than, “because I say so” “because God says so” or “because it is wrong because it is wrong.” Do you see my point? Saying that something is wrong “because I say so,” is obviously void of any real moral value, because if it is only moral or immoral “because I say so” then it is not morality. Why? Because I could say that any number of things were moral or immoral, that are not. Ghengis Khan and his mongolians thought it was okay, even right to inflict suffering on others just because they liked to conquer. That was the Ghengis Khan brand of morality. If that is all morality is, I don’t see the value in it. But here I think you would argue about reason being the agent that reveals what is truly moral and what is truly immoral. But this is the problem is that you still have not answered why it is wrong to inflict suffering on others. According to that wikipedia link you gave me “Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.” Okay, so you have established that it is a fact that it is wrong to inflict suffering on others, but have you, that is why I ask you why it is wrong? The Mongolians made sense of things and applied logic to understand that it was right for them to conquer those who were outside of their tribe. What facts then do you have that the Mongolians didn’t have? I have now asked enough questions. I could go on, but I wish to hear your response.

                • Ash Bowie

                  I get what you are looking for. I’m guessing you want absolute, objective proof for why suffering is wrong, thinking that anything short of that is mere arbitrariness and therefore meaningless.

                  At some point, the series of “why” questions has to end at some value that is self-justifying. That value is this: it is better to live in a world that is more happy than one that is more miserable. Why? Because it is better to be happy than to suffer. Why? Because we are the ones who have to experience it and human brains desire happiness and do not desire misery. This is not arbitrary, it is an intrinsic feature of being alive and self-aware. Doubt me? Given the choice between a nice foot massage or having your hand sawed off, do you really believe your choice would be arbitrary? Needless suffering is intrinsically bad. Increasing well-being is intrinsically good. Why? Because we’re alive.

                  Now, I could go into how morality is an evolved trait and how it ultimately serves our survival. This is true, but I imagine it would be unsatisfying to you. I’ve mentioned that morality is necessary for social cohesion and longevity, but this doesn’t seem to satisfy you either. I’ve given you the opportunity to explore how needless suffering could possibly be a moral good, and you punted to Genghis Khan. At some point, I just have to assume that no answer I give will satisfy. And that’s fine, you can’t win them all. But you’ve been a good conversation partner and thus have helped increase my well-being. And that’s good enough for me.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Assuming a moral creating entity exists, we don’t know what that entity defines as good/bad. We have conflicting interpretations of conflicting books. Even within the same faith tradition we have disagreement. We have people who quote Leviticus 20:19 but ignore 20:9.

                  Whatever moral creating entity may exist, I think it’s clear that human morality evolves as if that entity does not exist.

                • Mike

                  I believe a standing ovation is in order.

                • Dave

                  Well Ash (I don’t know if this is your real name but it’s all I got), it has been a good conversation indeed. I thank you for your courtesy. I would call you a good guy, but there are none that are good (I know you disagree). So I’ll just say that you seem like an enjoyable person. I would leave it like it is, but I feel as if you have misinterpreted my point. Let’s say that I am stranded on a deserted island with a pretty lady. It looks as if we will be here for the rest of our lives. About three months into our adventure my feelings for this woman begin to grow intensely. She being a pretty woman, and I a man, I had feelings toward her to begin with, but after three months alone with her on an island I begin to feel more and more obsessed. Now, I know that she doesn’t feel the same way about me. One day she tells me that she is going to go bathe. I know the spot where she bathes, so I follow her down. I know that there is a spot near there where I can sit and watch her bathe, and I will be hidden. I go down and hide in that spot and watch her bathe. If I were to do such a thing it would be wrong, and I am sure you would agree with me. Now, this is a tricky scenario, because I do not think that I would be causing the women to suffer directly by watching her bathe, but I guess we could argue that my attitude toward her will change thus causing her to suffer. But it is not my changed attitude that was wrong, it was my act of violating this woman, by looking at her while she was bathing. We could maybe argue that I am causing myself to suffer because I may not be able to interact with her normally after this. But it is not my suffering that causes this to be so wrong. This single act, will not make the human race go extinct. Even though, arguably, this has caused no one to suffer it is still wrong. The reason I do not find the argument that it is wrong because of the way I suffer, is because my sin is primarily against her. Jesus Christ said that every commandment is based upon these two commandments, “love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind and body” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” I agree with you to a point that causing suffering is wrong, but I find your reasoning for why it is wrong unsatisfactory. I find it unsatisfactory because to simply say that “it is because humans don’t like suffering” is to call suffering suffering. If we liked it it wouldn’t be suffering. Going back to the island, I may not like not being able to watch this lady bathe, which will cause me some suffering, however, my sexual desire is no where near as important as her value as a human being. And by going against her wishes and watching her bathe, I am violating her, and devaluing her, I am not loving her as myself, I am loving myself more than her. So I say it is wrong for me to violate the sacred commandment of loving my neighbor as myself, because my neighbor is intrinsically valuable. The only way my neighbor has intrinsic value is if her creator says so. Think about it, everything else in life is valued by how much somebody would pay for it, and my God paid for my neighbors life with the Life of His Son Jesus Christ. But you may ask “if God values human life so much, why doesn’t he do something about sin?” You can not do something about sin without doing something about sinners, and if you wish to do something about sinners there are only two things you can do, you can either destroy them or redeem them. God has chosen to redeem them, so that all who wish to live live by trusting and believing in Jesus Christ. When we ask “why doesn’t God just simply stop me from sinning?” we are blaming God for our sins. And should God take this? For if we sincerely wish God to stop all sin from happening, we either wish for the damnation of those who sin or their salvation. Remember we have a choice over damnation, and that is salvation. But we can reject salvation and choose damnation. But there is a revolt against the Holy Son of God. People have blamed God for sin, and yet they themselves are sinners, which makes them unfit to judge. Do they see all that God does? No, they are but simple minded humans who have not known God because of their own sin. And if they do not know God how can they judge Him? But God knows them and all they do and he is storing up his judgement on them. This judgement against them can be removed if but they turn to Him, repent, and believe in Jesus. Now, you see why your answers do not satisfy me.

                • Ash Bowie

                  I agree with you to a point that causing suffering is wrong, but I find your reasoning for why it is wrong unsatisfactory. I find it unsatisfactory because to simply say that “it is because humans don’t like suffering” is to call suffering suffering.

                  But that’s it, suffering IS suffering and requires no further justification for being a bad thing. Suffering is a state of emotional or physical pain that the mind is driven to escape from…it is inherently bad by its very nature. It is not bad arbitrarily, its badness emerges as a fundamental feature of aliveness. Now then, not all suffering is in itself wrong…for instance, painful medical procedures might be necessary to avoid further pain or death. So, that’s why I often talk about needless suffering or a total increase in suffering without a justified increase in well-being. I realize that this answer doesn’t satisfy you, but you’ve yet to explain what is wrong with my argument (except to continually and wrongly claim that suffering=bad is arbitrary; until you can show that needless suffering can be good, my claim holds true).

                  Your stranded island hypothesis holds to this principle. Your behavior lacked integrity (doing something that you know she doesn’t want), threatening your already fragile relationship and certainly doing nothing to increase well-being. There is no positive outcome to your peeping, so by indulging in your obsession, regardless if the single act directly caused her suffering or not, you will have nevertheless needlessly increased suffering for yourself and potentially for her if she catches you. See, a wrong act doesn’t become less wrong because it goes undiscovered– the potential for needless suffering is an adequate criteria. And you did threaten your existence…two people on a stranded island already have a poor chance of survival. By behaving in a way that violates trust, you have decreased the chance for cooperation and increased the chance for conflict. In these circumstances, that is deadly. So yeah, morality certainly enhances the chances of survival, and those chances go way down without it.

                  …because my neighbor is intrinsically valuable…

                  Every now and then you say something that aligns with my argument. You are right that every person is, by dint of being alive, valuable. This is why suffering is an adequate criteria for badness and increasing well-being is adequate for goodness.

                  The only way my neighbor has intrinsic value is if her creator says so.

                  Value is a judgment, not an inherent trait or essence. We, as valuing beings, choose what has value or not. Even if a creator says that people have value, that doesn’t necessitate that you agree. In other words, saying that a creator is what provides value is just as arbitrary as me saying that people have value simply because they are alive. And since well-being is intrinsically valuable (ie. it is something everyone wants and is the most wanted thing) and needless suffering is intrinsically without value (i.e. no one wants it and it is the least wanted thing), I can say that valuing life is therefore the most rational choice since doing so increases the likelihood of increasing well-being and decreasing suffering.

                  But you may ask “if God values human life so much, why doesn’t he do something about sin?”

                  I don’t ask that because I do not think any god exists, and the problem of evil, which you are trying to tackle, argues strongly for this conclusion. Going down this road with me will only frustrate you.

                  Now, you see why your answers do not satisfy me.

                  Actually, no. You have not come close to demonstrating where my basic argument is lacking (e.g. by providing an argument that needless suffering is not inherently bad or might, in some cases, be good). I’ve even argued that the principle of increasing well-being and decreasing suffering holds true even if the Christian god exists just as you say. And you haven’t been able to demonstrate why this is not so.

                • Dave

                  “You have not come close to demonstrating where my basic argument is lacking (e.g. by providing an argument that needless suffering is not inherently bad or might, in some cases, be good).” That’s because I have never been trying to do this. What I have been trying to demonstrate is different. The argument isn’t about whether or not needless suffering is inherently bad or not. The argument is why I should care about the needless suffering of another human being. What I see your argument as is “because that humans suffering eventually affects you.” Although this may be true, I do not understand how this is morality. To me that is not real morality, it is selfishness. The argument I made is that I should care about the suffering of another human being because it is wrong not to. Yes suffering hurts, but my actions toward another individual are not wrong because how they affect me but because of how they affect the other individual. This is what I have been trying to demonstrate. That is why I pointed to Ghengis Khan and the Mongolians who followed him, because they liked and enjoyed destroying and conquering in battle. They were board when they were sitting peacefully on the spoils of war. My point was that The Mongolians may have enjoyed themselves to their deaths, but what they did was still wrong. Yes they may have suffered for what they did, but they thought that it was worth it. In fact they shunned other ways of living. They didn’t want to become soft and temperamental like the people they conquered. They valued strength most. That is why I asked what you know that the Mongolians didn’t know. In fact I would disagree with you that there even is such a thing as needless suffering. The man who suffers, because he is a workaholic, doesn’t suffer needlessly, he suffers because he wants to have more money. But I guess you could say that having more money doesn’t bring happiness, and so that man suffered needlessly. But let me ask you this, if that man worked his entire life to become happier and he even suffered for it, but before he got his happiness he died, would he not have suffered needlessly? But I guess you would argue the ‘potential argument’ that he had the potential of gaining more well-being through suffering and so it wasn’t an evil decision. But that changes your description of evil, it then becomes needless suffering that has no potential to increase well-being. Every evil action in the history of mankind has been done in the name of increasing well-being. “I am going to peep on this woman because it will increase my well-being.” “but it won’t increase your well-being because it will ruin your friendship.” “I care more about my sexual desires than about my friendship.” “But friendship is more important.” “Not to me, I’m going to drink my fill, and then I will die. The reward of sexual gratification comes much sooner and much stronger than that of friendship, besides it takes two to make a friendship work, and she may not want to be my friend after all. Since I am going to die, I might as well live for the moment, because the future is not assured.” To summarize your basic argument is lacking in that you have not shown that needless suffering is immoral. Once again, why should I care about causing another person to suffer if it brings me gain? I say it is because causing another person to suffer is especially wrong if it is for my own selfish gain. What do you say?

                • Ash Bowie

                  The argument is why I should care about the needless suffering of another human being. What I see your argument as is “because that humans suffering eventually affects you…To me that is not real morality, it is selfishness.”

                  Selfishness is seeking personal gain without consideration of the cost to others. It is entirely possibly to act in self-interest (i.e. to work towards increasing one’s own well-being) while also being considerate of others (e.g. I feel pleasure at helping a friend in need). Further, why should one not be selfish? Because being so increases suffering, even for the selfish person ultimately. See how this works? All interpersonal good/bad judgments ultimately reduce down to well-being and suffering.

                  The argument I made is that I should care about the suffering of another human being because it is wrong not to.

                  Right. It is wrong because needless suffering is inherently bad.

                  Yes suffering hurts, but my actions toward another individual are not wrong because how they affect me but because of how they affect the other individual.

                  I don’t understand why you think your well-being doesn’t matter. It does. But you are right that inflicting suffering on another is wrong, regardless of the impact it has on the actor. We agree there because increasing needless suffering is in itself a wrong act.

                  My point was that The Mongolians may have enjoyed themselves to their deaths, but what they did was still wrong.

                  Correct. Personal gratification does not justify inflicting suffering on others.

                  In fact I would disagree with you that there even is such a thing as needless suffering.

                  So, a child who is kidnapped, raped, and killed did not suffer needlessly? This is such a ludicrous claim that I’m going to pretend that you didn’t make it.

                  But let me ask you this, if that man worked his entire life to become happier and he even suffered for it, but before he got his happiness he died, would he not have suffered needlessly?

                  In order to make this work, let’s say that his work habits increased the misery of his family. Otherwise we’re just talking about how happiness often requires periods of discomfort, and that is not the same thing as suffering.

                  So, let me ask you. Why do you think the workaholic, Genghis Khan, and the peeping tom all committed unethical acts? Not in detail, but fundamentally. You know my answer: because they all increased the amount of needless or nonconsensual suffering in the world, some by a little and some by a lot. What is your reason?

                  Every evil action in the history of mankind has been done in the name of increasing well-being.

                  That’s debatable, but even if true does not undermine my argument. The question isn’t if evil acts were intended to increase well-being (whether their own or other’s), the question is, DID they? If inflicting needless or nonconsensual suffering on others was involved, then the answer is automatically no. Hence, evil.

                  To summarize your basic argument is lacking in that you have not shown that needless suffering is immoral.

                  Quite the opposite, I’ve made a very clear argument for why it is wrong and you’ve offered nothing to rebut it. Further, you’ve agreed with me several times that inflicting needless suffering is inherently wrong. The difference, as far as I can tell, is that you think this only works if there is a creator while I’m arguing a creator is irrelevant to the fact.

                  Once again, why should I care about causing another person to suffer if it brings me gain?

                  Keep in mind there are two questions here: what makes an action moral and why should someone bother being moral. Whether or not someone cares if they are being immoral does not affect the question if they are indeed being immoral. Two different things. And I’ve already answered both questions. At length. Just go back and read my last few comments to you and you’ll find the answers to them. If you want to ask a follow up question to a specific point I’ve made, I’ll be happy to answer if I can.

                • Dave

                  Okay, so we have come to agree, that regardless of the affect upon the perpetrator, an act of injustice towards another is immoral. Good.

                  “So, a child who is kidnapped, raped, and killed did not suffer needlessly?”

                  What I mean is that the person who commits this crime doesn’t view the child’s suffering as needless, because he derives pleasure from it. (Even if he says the child’s suffering is needless, the child is suffering because he likes to exert his power over that child.) Which I will admit is objectively needless, but not subjectively needless for the rapist. I have never heard of someone doing such an atrocious act for no reason.

                  “Why do you think the workaholic, Genghis Khan, and the peeping tom all committed unethical acts? Not in detail, but fundamentally.”

                  I think they committed unethical acts, because they are wicked. Because it pleased them to. Their action were wicked (I think this is what you were really asking) because they didn’t love their neighbor as themselves and they didn’t love God with all their heart, soul, mind and body. Again I guess I’m still not sold on the whole peeping tom thing. If the guy goes and watches a girl bathe, when he knows especially that she doesn’t want him to, even without a potential for her to find out, it is wrong, and it is a wrong action perpetrated primarily against her and yet she did not suffer. If you want me to say what the essence of evil is I would say that it is the desacralization of the sacred.

                • Reggy

                  Your delusion is maximally of zero positive value.

                • Ash Bowie

                  What I mean is that the person who commits this crime doesn’t view the child’s suffering as needless, because he derives pleasure from it.

                  I want to make a distinction between pleasure and well-being. When I talk about well-being, or sometimes just happiness, I am referring to an holistic state of coherence and equilibrium, typified by a sense of fulfillment and meaning. Yes, there is often a feeling of joy or pleasure along with this, but the feeling of pleasure is neither necessary nor sufficient for what I mean by well-being.

                  In all three of your illustrations, people were justifying their acts by saying the suffering of others was a necessary cost for their own pleasure. The fundamental fault in all these cases is that harmful acts were done against others without consent. Mere pleasure is never a proper justification for this. Sometimes there can be justification (except for the killing of a child, which is an absolute), such as the police spying on someone while investigating a crime or killing many soldiers during a justified war (a very sticky situation there…I’m open to the argument that no war is justified, but I’m not there yet…I’m glad the world was rid of the Nazis).

                  There are few cut and dried situations with obvious moral answers. The world is drenched in ethical dilemmas. What I’ve been saying is that the fundamental standard by which we make ethical decisions is the balance between well-being and suffering, with the goal of increasing the former and decreasing the latter. The challenge is not in justifying this standard (since I think it underlies all moral systems), the trick is in developing methods of making the best moral choices possible. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous comment to you, the three keys to this are compassion, reason, and good character.

                  I think they committed unethical acts, because they are wicked.

                  I apologize for being vague in my question. I wasn’t asking what motivated them to act unethically. I was asking for the criteria by which you categorize their acts as immoral. You have voiced dissatisfaction with my answer, so I’m curious about yours.

                  If you want me to say what the essence of evil is I would say that it is the desacralization of the sacred.

                  So how do you determine what is sacred and what isn’t? And how do you then desacralize it? Can it ever be ethical to inflict coercive suffering on another if the situation is not predetermined to involve sacredness?

                • Dave

                  “Mere pleasure is never a proper justification for [harmful acts done against others without consent]”

                  This is your opinion, but it is not everyone’s opinion. For example Ghengis Khan and the Mongolians that followed him.

                  “When I talk about well-being, or sometimes just happiness, I am referring to an holistic state of coherence and equilibrium, typified by a sense of fulfillment and meaning.”

                  I am sure Ghengis Khan derived more than just pleasure from conquering his enemies. He found fulfillment and meaning from it as well. If he was just after pleasure he could have stopped conquering long before he died because he could have afforded all the pleasure his mind desired. You say that a person derives value from being alive, but he would have said a person derives value from being able to survive and conquer. If a person wasn’t strong enough to enact vengeance on his enemies than he deserved his pain. Once again I am not sure what you know that Ghengis Khan didn’t. What I am trying to illustrate is that your belief about what is right and wrong is nothing more than a belief.

                  “So how do you determine what is sacred and what isn’t? And how do you then desacralize it?”

                  I don’t determine what is sacred, God does. I can know what is sacred by knowing Him who declares sacredness, and by following His commands. I can desacralize that which is sacred by breaking His sacred commands.

                  “Can it ever be ethical to inflict coercive suffering on another if the situation is not predetermined to involve sacredness?”

                  But the situation has already been predetermined to involve sacredness because God has told us to love our neighbor as ourselves, so we have a sacred command regarding that.

                • Cake

                  “I don’t determine what is sacred, God does. I can know what is sacred
                  by knowing Him who declares sacredness, and by following His commands. I
                  can desacralize that which is sacred by breaking His sacred commands.”

                  Translation: I make stuff up.

                • Carmelita Spats

                  Says you: “I can desacralize that which is sacred by breaking His sacred commands.” Yeah, I know what you mean. Yahweh is a violent cuss who flosses with razor wire, drinks a quart of Tabasco sauce a day and he can hammer the buckle on his belt with the stubble on his chin. Yahweh hates to be disobeyed. However, I started talking shit about Biblegod and “desacralizing that which is sacred” when I read the Book of Job. Apparently, if you DON’T go around blabbing smack about Biblegod to everyone you know, Biblegod rewards you with BRAND NEW CHILDREN (see Job). I’m happy with my kid and don’t want psycho Yahweh to replace her so I’m obligated to blaspheme. Blasphemy is a blast-for-me.

                • Ash Bowie

                  I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on theistic morality. I was going to give a response, but I’m feeling like this thread has gone on long enough. The original conversation was about showing that a non-theistic standard for ethics was sound, and I believe I’ve successfully demonstrated that. I know I haven’t satisfied *you*, but I don’t think anything short of accepting divine command theory would. As an atheist, I would obviously never do that.

                  I encourage you to consider, on your own time, the modern version of the Euthyphro dilemma: “It is generally agreed that whatever God wills is good and just. But there remains the question whether it is good and just because God wills it or whether God wills it because it is good and just; in other words, whether justice and goodness are arbitrary or whether they belong to the necessary and eternal truths about the nature of things.” The answer to this quandary has profound implications for a believer in god.

                • Mike

                  We are profoundly fortunate to have you Ash Bowie.
                  Thanks for posting!

                • Dave

                  This conversation has been a pleasure. Thanks once again for your courtesy, it is always appreciated.

              • RobMcCune

                Ah yes, the classic “Who’s gonna make me gambit.”

                • Dave

                  That’s a bit of a simplification of it. But I believe it is a legitimate question, who is going to make me?

                • Ash Bowie

                  But I believe it is a legitimate question, who is going to make me?

                  No one can “make” you care or act ethically. But there is such a thing as natural consequences to being an uncaring, unethical actor. If the costs associated with being a sociopath (e.g. no real relationships, social isolation, perhaps incarceration) seem less onerous than the effort to care and act ethically, then that person will not be motivated to change. And so be it…there will always be jerks in the world. The moral question society has to answer is how to minimize the harm they do.

                • RobMcCune

                  Whether or not a person chooses accept something has no bearing on the validity of the thing itself. A person could choose to disregard any criminal law, 2+2=4 or the law of gravity to name a few examples, with only the latter guaranteed to have consequences.

                  Unless there is some distinction I am missing, then by extension the possibility of a person to breaking any given law without consequence invalidates invalidates having laws to begin with. By the same token, math can be made invalid if a hypothetical person refuses to accept 2+2=4 despite knowing the equation. Are either of those things true? If not then what makes morality and reason any different, or is there a distinction between them and my examples?

                • Dave

                  Okay, so are you saying that, no one is going to make me follow the moral law, although it exists, and I can break it without consequence? Yojimbo was a good flick by the way.

                • Dave

                  By the way, your profile pic, which movie is that from? Is that from Sanjuro or Yojimbo?

                • RobMcCune

                  Yojimbo

  • JET

    Just in case Mr. Comfort decides to come to this blog to see the responses to his interview:
    Mr. Comfort, you are a dishonest charlatan, milking the masses for your own enrichment and aggrandizement. Your answers were nothing but lies, distortions, and nonsense. You are deliberately misleading people, keeping them from properly educating themselves, and intentionally subjugating them for your own fame and fortune. But you know that. It’s really unfortunate that there is no hell, as you and Joseph Smith would totally own that place.

    • Mr.Claws

      …seriously? wishing for someone to go to hell, even hypothetically?

      • Spuddie

        Its much more to the point than saying he should be tied to a stake and 20 rabid weasels should feast upon his flesh….But not nearly as fun to write.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I remember a story from the 1980s about a medical supply company supposedly receiving a shipment of rabid weasels.

          • Artor

            I remember a story about Weird Al opening a box of one dozen starving, crazed weasels.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Ha! That explains something that’s been tickling at my memory for years. Villains & Vigilantes had a supervillain – and I am not making this up – named Weaselmaniac, whose “power” was that he bred rabid weasels to send after people. The inspiration for him must have come from that story.

            IIRC, Weaselmaniac’s only significant accomplishment was accidentally killing one of his own teammates.

            • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

              Damn it. I don’t know if you are playing along, or taking me seriously. The story I mentioned was part of a movie called The Return of the Living Dead.

              For what it’s worth, the dates for Villains & Vigilantes I found on Wikipedia predate the release of the movie, so any inspiration would have been the other way around. I suspect it’s merely a case of coincidental weaselry.

              Now, I must investigate this Weaselmaniac!

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                I knew it was pop culture, but couldn’t remember from where. Return of the Living Dead is a very underrated movie. The intense discomfort at watching grown men in a comedy of errors sobbing as they try to figure out how to kill a zombie…

                Weaselmaniac wasn’t in the V&V game. He was in a comic miniseries based on it that definitely postdates that movie. He actually might only have existed in publication as part of another villain’s backstory. He accidentally killed her with weasels, and she came back as an undead banshee. I definitely took the reference seriously, cause it feels like it must have influenced said characters, and I like seeing puzzle pieces fit together. Yay for overthinking!

                Also, try saying his name out loud. It gets funnier and funnier.

                “Another mustelid murder. This can only be the work of… Weaselmaniac.

        • quickshot

          I am not sure how we can spout violent rhetoric and then criticize religions for being violent.

          • Spuddie

            Easy. unlike your average religious fanatic, there is little to no chance that we are going to follow through on our talk. Nobody seriously inspired to take up rabid weasel ranching in service of their ideas.

            Of course all bets are off if Ray Comfort is found tied to a stake and his body stripped of its flesh.

      • JET

        Oh go fuck yourself. (Hypothetically, of course.)

  • The One

    I wish someone would point out to people that if God is all knowing and all powerful, He knew that people would become sinners when he made the world and people. If the world had no death or suffering then eventually we would all quite literally be living on top of each other for the rest of eternity being that nobody would ever die. Therefore, God had to know that in order for us to survive we had to become sinners so that we could die? Now why would a loving God do such a thing when he knows its going to happen that way?

    • Tainda

      They will answer with “FREE WILL!”

      • islandbrewer

        I’ve always been torn between “Free Will” and “Spirit of the Radio” off of that album.

        (Yes, this is a Shibboleth for people over 40, and maybe Canadians.)

  • Mr.Claws

    I always reckoned that Ray, in contrast to many other creationists, really piss us Atheists off ONLY for the things he says, rather than, as it is for many, both for the things he says and the way he acts. He seems like a likable fellow who you’d get along with fine if it weren’t for the issue of religion.

    • allein

      He does have that cool accent…

    • David Kopp

      He’s likable like a used car salesman. He lies, he knows it, and all that matters to him is manipulating people.

  • A3Kr0n

    I think I’ve seen enough of Ray Comfort. The only thing I want to hear about him is how he went out of business, and tore down those stupid Living Waters houses we have in town.

  • viaten

    “[the banana]… without a LIVE audience … it bombed. A LIVE audience makes all the difference.” What kind of difference? Would it have been more convincing, or just gotten a bigger laugh? I guess it’s a good thing you had a live audience with Kirk and the Crocoduck.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      He’s claiming that people would have “gotten the joke” with a live laugh track… the joke he made up after the fact, as demonstrated by his claiming right afterwards that domesticated bananas aren’t hybrids.

      • Guest

        so he is a dishonest. bullshit was that a joke.

        • UWIR

          Clearly, that was a joke of an argument, the only question of whether it was so intended. Maybe his entire career is intended as joke?

      • WingedBeast

        No, there was certainly a joke, there. It, however, was the wrong joke.
        The joke he intended was “this is a silly way of presenting my absolutely undeniable proof of God.”
        The joke that came out was “I don’t do my research. And, it shows.”

        • Nohm

          My utter fascination with creationists and fundamentalists and woo-ers and conspiracy theorists always comes down to their research. It boggles my mind how someone could talk so assuredly about something they’ve spent so little time researching.

          I know, I know, Dunning-Kruger effect and all that, but it still blows my mind.

  • Alyosha

    “It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than they are, for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. The legs are visibly designed for stockings, accordingly, we wear stockings.”
    Candide, Voltaire

  • MaximeB

    Hemant, your rigor is what makes this blog one of the best on the subject. Thank you.

  • rustygh

    In our new age of the internet people like ray are needed. We see many people fall for his BS but what’s really important is the amount of people he wakes up that oppose his ignorance to fact! Most people will say, “wait, we HAVE found dinosaur bones that date back 65 million years.” Thanks Ray.

  • Spuddie

    Which means either you accept evolution and just say its God inspired or are a lying sack of crap hawking a personal website.

  • ORAXX

    The creationists have been flailing away at poor old Darwin for a century and a half, and the fact they’ve yet to land a punch gives a pretty good indication of the mentality you’re dealing with here. They could make the whole argument go away by simply proving their own point, but that never seems to occur to them. Instead, they continue to attack Darwin and have the childish idea that if Darwin can be discredited, they win by default.

  • allein

    Should we discuss how you appear to be looking for an excuse to spam us with your website? (You’ve posted it twice so far in this thread in the last 20 minutes.)

  • James

    So if there was no death until Adam and Eve at the forbidden fruit… why did they have to eat at all? Were they hollow? The organs in our body are made to keep us alive. Were they supposed to reproduce over and over again until the world had a terrible population problem or did God know they would disobey him and cause the death and suffering of mankind forever? Did animals and plants still die? Was the T-Rex a vegetarian with super sharp teeth? If I was designed by an intelligent being, why do I have nipples?

    • trj

      It must give some serious indigestion problems when the plants you eat can’t die, not to mention you’ll starve to death because you can’t extract any nutrients. But I’m sure there’s a sophisticated theological answer to this conundrum. Something like “God did a miracle”.

      • James

        Well that’s why religion is so convenient and so hard to disprove to people that believe it. Oh well we can’t possibly understand how god works, so our logic can’t explain it. He’s an all powerful being. It’s beyond our understanding… so Imma just not even try. God is love, atheists are stupid… blah blah blah.

        It may take a couple hundred more years or so, but I truly believe this will all go away some day and people will turn to reason and science instead of faith and feelings. At least I hope so.

  • Guest

    What about the fossils, Ray? At a certain point, you no longer have ‘canine’ or ‘feline’ fossils, you have something with elements of both of them (Miacids) . The same goes for humans and apes.
    I did find this interview somewhat disappointing. He got some easy questions and wasn’t really pinned down on specifics.

    I’d just say that he might attribute his happy life to being a Christian, but plenty of atheists, muslims, buddhists and pagans have happy marriages, drug-free children and granchildren as well. And then there are the divorced, childless Christians… I guess God is just testing them, like he tested Job so he could win a bet with Satan.

  • Guest

    Who the fuck are you? Are you a bible scholar? An archeologist? A biologist? Have you performed any experiments? Published papers in scientific journals? If not, no-one is going to give a shit about your opinion.

  • Bill

    He had me at banana!

  • Tainda

    Then I think you are even more ignorant. Just my opinion though

    By the way, I’m a Nigerian princess and need to give some cash away ASAP! Please come to my website http://youthinkimamoron.com and be sure to have your bank statement handy so we can transfer the money into your account!

  • kristi

    Does he REALLY think the majority of the scientific as well as just regular people are stupid enough to confuse evolution with adaptation? The two are clearly *not* the same thing.
    My kids *adapt* to going to a new school. They don’t evolve into different species because of it.

    • trj

      Well, if the adaptation is in the form of genetic changes then we’re talking about evolution.

    • UWIR

      “Does he REALLY think the majority of the scientific as well as just regular people are stupid enough to confuse evolution with adaptation?”
      Scientific people? No. Regular people? Absolutely.

  • http://www.summerseale.com/ Summer Seale

    I appreciate the work that went into this, Hemant. But, speaking personally, I completely fail to see the rationale behind trying to engage these people on any level whatsoever.

    Do we somehow feel the need to engage flat earthers? Or astrologers? Do we even lend them any respect whatsoever in any sort of conversation? i know that I don’t.

    Nor do I care any longer what reasons they have for believing their insane and idiotic fallacies. We all already know why they think the things that they….”think”. I’m tired of even giving them the time of day, let alone have them spout their inanities as if most of us care to listen to what they have to say. Frankly, I think it’s time that rational people treat them entirely as pariahs.

    • quickshot

      And what about when Atheists can’t agree on what is more rational?

      The answer is this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_God_Go

    • Nohm

      Some people, like myself, find people who don’t think like they do to be utterly fascinating.

      Ray Comfort thinks very differently than I do. Therefore, I find him to be incredibly fascinating.

      Having said that, I understand that a lot of people don’t have that “addiction”.

    • Anna

      I could not agree more. These people thrive on attention. There’s no reason for anyone outside their subculture to engage with them.

  • jferris

    Well, I should know better. His belief, right or wrong, is his belief. No amount of science, logical discussion, yelling, screaming, presentation of evidence, scientific analysis, demonstration, or even threat, will change his belief. In some ways, there is a respect for standing for his principles. My frustration, my anger, my disbelief at his outright refusal to accept fact (yes, indisputable scientific fact) is totally irrelevant. I can’t provide the epiphany to get him to even CONSIDER re-assessing his beliefs. So, why should i waste my time, and my energy, and my mental health trying to do so? I do what I can to ensure people can learn science, to learn a non-theist view of the world. I do this because I have an unwavering faith, and rock-solid belief, that science will be the cornerstone of society, not superstition and belief in invisible beings. And I know I am right….because I have time on my side. The Ray Comfort’s of the world cannot overcome the free flow of information, they can’t answer the questions that real life asks. And with each generation, the Ray Comfort’s of the world slowly die off. Figuratively and Literally. And while I may be long gone, and returning to nothing more than the stardust I came from, the day will arrive where religion will be relegated to the history books under the topic of mythology.

  • LesterBallard

    Disappointed that you didn’t ask my questions, concerning when he told Aron Ra “I rarely talk about evolution”, and when he said he doesn’t have a six figure income. Not because they’re my questions, but because he outright lied.

    • Nohm

      The “I rarely talk about evolution” is easily one of my most favorite Ray Comfort quotes, up there next to his “why I use the street-version of evolution” quotes.

      • LesterBallard

        Nohm from SMRT?

        • Nohm

          That’s me!

          • LesterBallard

            RufusT here.

  • Godlesspanther

    Comfort has changed his mind about being a true xtian and believing in evolution. At one time he said that one can do as such, but that they know nothing about science.

    Now he seems to think that one will burn in hell for accepting real science over superstitious dogma.

  • mutie

    ” … three kids that have never strayed into drugs or alcohol … ”

    He can’t possibly know whether this is true. He believes it. He might be right. Be he can’t _know_. This is exactly the same behavior he demonstrates as a religious person, and it’s a very telling habit.

  • Renshia

    I have a question…. Why would you even bother?

    Who gives a shit about Ray and the lies he breaths. The less air time he gets the better it is for humanity.

    • allein

      My thoughts exactly. When I saw the post title my first thought was, “Why?”

  • UWIR

    BTW, it’s “breach”, not “breech”.

  • viaten

    “I have no idea of [the Earth's] exact age.” Neither to geologists, but they care about getting as good an estimate as they can. Six thousand?, eight thousand?, ten thousand?, not important. More than a million?, serious problem.

    “you have to have faith in dating processes and they have been proven to be untrustworthy”. Untrustworthy even to tell the difference between 10,000 and a four billion years?

    • Nohm

      Ray thinks that other people deal with this kind of stuff the way he deals with it: by listening to a trusted authority figure, and doing the smallest amount of research possible.

  • viaten

    “standing on a box and speaking open-air style more than 5,000 times, and
    when I’m heckled by those who disagree with me, it is such a satisfying
    challenge to reason with them”, or is it a satisfying experience to continually argue with them? I sometimes wonder if some street preachers are more interested in the arguing that the saving.

  • Thomas J. Lawson

    If he’s wrong he loses nothing. Oh, all good then. Because it’s all about you. How about the thousands you’ve mislead? If you’re wrong, it’s not about you, Ray. It’s the brainwashed, reasonably-challenged zombies you have created and left ambling around Huntington Beach pier regurgitating your dross.

  • LesterBallard

    Ray isn’t “responsive”, he’s a first class attention whore. He’ll do anything for attention. I curse myself every time I give it to him.

    And I think this says a lot about him; http://skepchick.org/2013/05/politeness/

  • Robster

    He’s keeping food on the table for his rapidly expanding family doing all he knows to do, which ultimately is not much. Imagine a room full of Comforts!

  • Mick

    “I give him credit where it’s due for at least partaking in the exchange”

    I don’t. He makes his cash from gullible Christians and he knows that very few of them will ever read this blog. His attitude to your questions would be, “Feed ‘em bullshit. They won’t accept it, but I make my money elsewhere so I don’t care what they think.”

    Tomorrow he will be back to promoting his movie to the flock without giving them even the slightest hint that his integrity has been questioned by atheists around the country.

  • hannahalice1000 .

    Usual Ray twisting of words. Just one example:-

    ‘Animals, fish and birds adapt. That’s not Darwinian evolution’

    Adopt? That’s called evolution, but the fact that they evolve is exactly as Ray says ‘That’s not Darwinian evolution’. No, its JUST evolution

    Darwin had a little theory about WHY evolution occurs. Have yet to hear Rays theory

  • Sk3ptec

    I find it hilarious that all he has to say is “adaptation is not definitive proof of species-level evolution” and the Darwinian thought-police instantly come running from all directions. Let’s all forget the content of his statement… let’s just ridicule him into submission.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    .

  • melvin lafleur

    sorry, i don’t need to hear any blather from someone with a mental disorder, i.e. an irrational belief in fables, myth and mysticism. a lot of these religion freaks have the gift of being able to articulate their nonsense exactly the same way a good conman, snake oil salesman or carnival huckster can. fox news shovels mountains of BS to its doting audience who eat it as if it were manna from heaven.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    My editors edit with integrity, and it was just an oversight.

    Ray? Come on, Ray… I am a video editor of news and documentaries and we manipulate the story all the time through editing. To say that this is an oversight is an insult to all video editors. Either that, or your video editor is particularly fucking stupid.

    Every substantive discussion I have had with Ray has been either “lost” or ended up on the cutting room floor.

    Lying is bad, Ray. Even though you think lying for Jesus is OK, I can’t agree. Something to do with my non god ordained sense of morality.

    I once trusted that evolution was scientifically viable… until I asked for scientific evidence to back it up.

    Try Google, Ray. Just a little work on your part and you will find thousands and thousands of people who can explain evolution to you.

    I trust Genesis completely because it stands the scientific test.

    Because creating the light and then the sun, creating a woman from a rib, talking snakes, these things so easily stand the scientific test?

    Ray, this blog is read by very intelligent, skeptical people – not the usual sheep you are used to speaking with. You are going to have to be more intellectually honest with us if you want us to take you seriously… but hey, you have your followers who unquestioningly believe whatever you say, so why do you need to try harder…

    • Nohm

      We’re not Ray’s intended demographic.

  • bickle2

    If he believes that Genesis stands the scientific test, then it’s time to go to court. When he fails, he will stand prosecution for fraud, BR banned from religion for life. Admit publicly that Hesis is a fairy tale, that evolution is scientific fact, and be states evidence tim prosecute his ministry

    If you have faith Ray, you’ll have no problem with that

  • http://www.itsadiel.com/ Adiel Corchado

    What observable evidence do you guys believe Ray has edited out of the interviews? Can you provide an example? It seems to me that whenever Ray asks believers in Darwinian evolution (per Dawkins) what they provide are examples of adaptation.

    • Paul Reed

      Not entirely sure what you’re looking for, but I’ll try to answer:

      Populations of organisms genetically evolve. This is caused, not only by the environment (adaptation), but also by sexual selection, genetic drift, etc.

      Evolution does not say that animals magically turn into other animals. They gradually evolve, as populations. When two populations of the same species become isolated and evolve in different directions, they’ll eventually become so different that they can’t interbreed. This is speciation, since one (or both) of those populations is a new species.

      It could be argued that “well, they’re still a [whatever], they haven’t changed into something else”. And that may be true in the short-term. But when you consider that change/evolution is continuous, you realise that small changes compound into large changes. So much so that rhino-like creatures evolved into both the relatively similar rhino and the relatively very different whale.
      Evidence for that, by the way, comes in a variety of forms: The whale’s vestigial legs suggest a land-dwelling ancestor (the fact that it serves a function of anchoring muscles etc is irrelevant. vestigial does not necessarily mean useless. what matters is that these aren’t just bones, they used to be legs). Fossils of intermediate forms (yes, they do exist!) show the gradual changes in shape and size; for example, the movement of nostrils toward the top of the head. DNA analysis also points to a family tree of common ancestry between all creatures in exactly the same way that it’s used in paternity tests.

      I always find it amusing that people like Ray ask for immediately observable evidence for something as complex and large-scale as evolution (conveniently glossing over the evidence that is actually presented), yet provide absolutely nothing in defence of *their* position.

      • http://www.itsadiel.com/ Adiel Corchado

        You’re right that it may be argued “well, they’re still a [whatever], they haven’t changed into something else.” And that this may be true in the short term. As far as the long term there is no observable evidence that given enough time these changes result in different animals altogether. The things you provide as evidence are based on creative conjecture. If the whale’s “vestigial” organ serves a function, it requires a great deal of imagineering to conclude it is definitive evidence that the whale was once a land dwelling creature. The “fossils of intermediary forms” is also based on conjecture. It requires blind faith in the speculations of men.

        • Paul Reed

          You need to stop thinking of it in terms of one animal changing into a different animal.
          Animals change, due to variations in DNA. A change in DNA translates to a change in the animal. This is a basic and undisputed fact of biology.
          Do you really think that continuous and ongoing change of this type will not lead to radical changes in the long term? Or do you think that dropping sugar, grain by grain, into a teaspoon won’t eventually accumulate to a spoonful?
          Evolution doesn’t create “different animals”, it leads to different forms.
          If you think of animals as neatly falling into distinct types or kinds, or as being the same as modern forms, you’re not going to get it. They don’t suddenly morph from “rhino” to “whale”. It’s a gradual process of continued change and diversion from ancient forms to modern ones.

          The whale’s vestigial legs require no “imagineering”. They are verified by examination of the DNA and fossils, etc. That it serves a function *does not* make it “non-vestigial”. Vestigial organs can, and often do, have a function, though usually far different from what they once were.

          In the case of whale legs, the genes to produce full-size versions are inactive, but sometimes they’re reactivated and live whales have been found with fully-formed hind-legs. This is called an atavism.

          What does this prove? We can examine the same DNA location in other species and compare them, so we know that it’s caused by the reactivation of deactivated genes, and we can trace the lineage back to it’s land-dwelling ancestors.

          Please please research this instead of just declaring it all to be speculations and conjecture. If you know anything about science, you know it demands much more than that.

          Also think about what you mean by “observable evidence”. You can’t expect to see something that takes thousands or millions of years happening right in front of you as you watch. But you can see the fossils and examine the DNA. Those things are evidence that is observable.
          Homicide detectives have no “observable evidence” by your definition, yet manage to solve crimes.

          And what evidence, “observable” or otherwise, is there in support of your “alternative hypothesis”?

          • http://www.itsadiel.com/ Adiel Corchado

            Take the example of fruit flies who after many generations are still flies. This is evidence of what the Bible refers to as organisms reproducing each according to its kind. Yes, there are some changes, and though the temptation might to extrapolate those changes over time and concluding the flies will give rise to non-flies, our observations nevertheless show that there are limits to the changes. When I say “flies giving rise to non-flies” that is what Darwinian evolution (as Dawkins puts it) speculates. It speculates that bananas and people share a common ancestor, some sort of non-banana non-human entity.

            That being said, ultimately, the main reason why I reject Darwinian evolution (as Dawkins puts it) is because of Jesus Christ. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in the speculations of men. Men have speculated in the past and have been proven to be wrong in their speculations. The Lord alone is trustworthy. He fulfilled hundreds of ancient prophecies. He gave sight to blind people, walked on water, calmed storms with a word, raised dead people, and did the unthinkable: He forgave sins. How? By dying on the cross for sinners, taking our punishment upon Himself, and then rising again from the dead (as the prophecies foretold). And this was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses – both men and women, both friends and enemies, in small groups and large groups, people he talked with, ate with, who touched him. His message is clear: God is holy and righteous, there is a judgment coming, everyone who is found in their sins will be cast into Hell. God is also merciful and loving and has provided a Savior. Everyone who repents and believes in the Savior will be forgiven and will not come into judgment. But whoever refuses will have to answer for their own sins. Therefore, repent. That’s his word for you and for me. Repent! And based on him, we should all reject the speculations of men, and trust the Lord instead.

            • Paul Reed

              Why do I get the feeling that you’re not taking the slightest bit of notice of what I’m saying??

              Flies still being flies is not evidence of anything in the Bible. The Bible says *nothing* about evolution. At all.

              What it does say is that animals were poofed into existence long ago, a snake talked, and humankind descended from an incestuous family.

              Go back and re-read my replies. There have been *multiple, verified, documented* cases of “X giving rise to non-X”. This, again, isn’t so much a “changing from one thing to another”, but a significant change in it’s form. Birds are technically still dinosaurs, for example. Whales are still mammals. Dogs and cats are related via a common ancestor. Bears and seals are similarly related.

              There is real evidence for all of this. You only need to be willing to see and acknowledge it.

              .

              And here we see your ultimate motivation; Evolution can’t be true because it contradicts the Bible.

              Firstly, many Christians have no problem with evolution, and some even view evolution as the method God used to create the variety of life.
              As I mentioned earlier, the Bible says nothing about evolution. So putting it forward as an argument against evolution is absurd.

              And to put forward an untestable, unproven claim as true just because the testable, confirmed science has had some inaccuracies is equally absurd!

              It’s like saying that hospitals are pointless because *some* cases have been misdiagnosed, so let’s all use crystals and amulets instead…!

              In fact, your entire second paragraph is an exercise in pointlessness. Everything in it is *only* mentioned in the Bible itself. So, essentially, you believe that the Bible is true because the Bible says that the Bible is true.

              Yet somehow I don’t think you’re likely to join the Napkin religion any time soon (Google it).

              If you seriously want to know what is true rather than just what you *want* to be true, then please do the research!!

              Learn about what evolution *actually* is. Even if you still decide to reject it, at least you’ll know what it is you don’t accept.

              • http://www.itsadiel.com/ Adiel Corchado

                “The Bible says nothing about evolution”

                Yes it does. God says he made the vegetation and trees on one day “according to its kind”, sea creatures and flying creatures separately “each according to its kind”, the livestock and beasts of the field on another day “according to its kind”, and that he created humankind separately in his own image and likeness. It also talks about people denying the God they know exists and turn aside to myths and how “professing to be wise they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things”.

                Is “according to its kind” testable?

                Sure it is. After many generations of “evolution” the fruit flies are still flies. Continue examining them. Give them a million more generations of “evolution” (which is really just adaptation which everyone knows about) and come back to us when they give rise to non-flies. That would be observable evidence of Darwinian evolution! Until then all you have is people with a creative imagination trying to tell the rest of us that we are fish and that we are cousins with bananas.

                “Everything in it [the Bible] is *only* mentioned in the Bible itself. So, essentially, you believe that the Bible is true because the Bible says that the Bible is true.”

                I think the problem here is that you believe the Bible is just one book. It’s not. It’s a library of books. The Bible is not one napkin which claims truth for itself. The Bible is made up of 66 books written by over 40 different authors over a 1,500 year span. The 39 books of the Old Testament were written before Jesus came into the world. They foretold his coming, his identity, his mission, how the world would react, etc. The 27 books of the New Testament are multiple eyewitness accounts (from the 1st century) of everything that Jesus said and did when he was in the world. This multiple attestation was written by by both friend and foe (Saul), by people who saw him, touched him, ate with him after he arose from the dead; people who were ultimately martyred for their testimony.

                The message is this: God will judge you. The only way to escape his judgment unscathed is if God himself dies in your place. And that is exactly what Jesus has done for those who repent and trust in him. But those who refuse will pay for their own sins.

                • Paul Reed

                  “God says…”
                  There’s your first problem. Actually, *the Bible* says that God created everything. And the Bible was written by fallible men. Interesting.
                  The Bible saying that God created everything is not the same as the Bible saying that evolution didn’t happen. As I’ve said, many Christians see evolution as a divine mechanism by which creation occurred.

                  That flies beget flies does not validate “according to their kind” any more than the existence of gold rings validates “one ring to rule them all”.

                  And, big surprise: The holy book of a religion says that non-believers are fools. Consider the source.

                  You keep harping on about fruit flies because they don’t happen to have evolved into a drastically different form (although, there are thousands of species). But you’ve ignored everything I said above about animals that *have* evolved into different forms!

                  Immediately observable evidence isn’t feasible for something that takes eons to occur. But available evidence in the form of remnants, DNA, etc gives us information about what has happened.

                  I’ve said all of this multiple times already!

                  And yet *your* observable evidence has yet to appear.

                  .

                  “Everything in it [the Bible] is *only* mentioned (etc)”

                  Actually, what I said was that everything in the second paragraph (of your previous post) was only mentioned in the Bible. That was what was supposedly your main reason for rejecting evolution.

                  My point is that, not only are you using the Bible to validate the Bible, you’re using the Bible to dismiss actual science which (arguably) doesn’t even conflict with it. Not only that, but you’re making dubious unsubstantiated claims about the Bible too!

                  The Old Testament fortells Jesus? It can certainly be interpreted and made to look that way, but in fact those OT “predictions” are (ironically) taken out of context. They’re also few and far between; Much of the OT consists of Israelite laws, genealogies, and war stories.

                  Only 4 books of the NT are said to have been written by eyewitnesses of Jesus, but no-one knows who really wrote them and scholars agree it most likely wasn’t the guys whose names are on them. Paul wasn’t an eyewitness; he had a “vision”. And martyrdom doesn’t prove the “testimony” correct; Just ask the Muslims.

                  Not much in the Bible correlates with history other than superficially (Yes, certain people and places existed, but many probably didn’t, and others certainly didn’t). There are no verified contemporary accounts of Jesus, even though he was supposedly God incarnate. And there is nothing about the Bible to suggest that it is anything other than the product of ancient fallible people.

                  So, far from being an entire 66 books focussed like a laser on the life and times of Jesus H Christ, it’s really a mishmash of generally similar writings that people brought together, cherry-picked and “interpreted” to support their ideas about Jesus and the afterlife.

                  There is certainly nothing to make it more credible than the cutting edge of modern science.

                • http://www.itsadiel.com/ Adiel Corchado

                  “Immediately observable evidence isn’t feasible for something that takes eons to occur.”

                  How convenient for you. This forces us to accept it based on blind faith in fallible scientists.

                  “But available evidence in the form of remnants, DNA, etc gives us information about what has happened.”

                  “Evidence” that can be understood from the creation perspective.

                  “you’ve ignored everything I said above about animals that *have* evolved into different forms!”

                  Exactly. Because it would be foolish for me to accept something simply because you’ve “said” it. You keep throwing conjecture at me my friend. Where is the observable, repeatable evidence of a non-whale becoming a whale? There isn’t any? I have to accept your extrapolations and biased guesswork? No thanks. Its better to trust in the infallible Lord than to put confidence in infallible men. Unless you claim and demonstrate that the infallible God is speaking through you, I will continue to conclude that your words are fallible and untrustworthy.

                  “‘God says’ that’s your first problem”

                  Whatever the Bible says God says.

                  “everything in the second paragraph (of your previous post) was only mentioned in the Bible.”

                  Yeah it was *only* mentioned by multiple 1st century sources (Matthew, Mark, Peter, John, Luke, etc) including one from an enemy of Christianity (Paul). The fact that we have compiled all of the 1st century sources together into one book doesn’t change the fact that they are multiple sources.

                  “That [the Bible] was what was supposedly your main reason for rejecting evolution.”

                  If I didn’t believe the Bible my main reason for rejecting Darwinian evolution (as Dawkins calls it) is that it is based on fantastical conjecture. “See how these finches beaks’ changed? Obviously finches and apples share a common ancestor. etc” The fact is that there’s no observable evidence and neither can there be (how convenient). If I didn’t believe the Bible this would be my main reason for rejecting this nonsense. But since I do believe the Bible, then the main reason I reject Darwin’s fantasy is divine revelation. God said he made plants and sharks on different days and that each reproduce according to their kinds, therefore sharks and watermelons are not cousins. And you are not a beast, you’re an image bearer of the living God, that’s why you can invent iPhones, make ships that fly us to the moon, can read the Bible, and can pray.

                  “The Old Testament fortells Jesus? It can certainly be interpreted and made to look that way”

                  Correct. It can be interpreted that way. Take Isaiah 53 for instance. Sure people can twist the Scripture and make it look like it is saying whatever they want. But anyone who reads this carefully, with God’s help, will be able to discern who this chapter is really about. Remember this was written 800 years before Jesus lived in Palestine. Here is a snippet: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”. Here is the rest of the chapter: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%2053&version=ESV

                  “Only 4 books of the NT are said to have been written by eyewitnesses of Jesus”

                  Not true. Take Peter’s epistle for instance, which starts off identifying the writer, “Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,” . In it he writes, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

                  “Paul wasn’t an eyewitness; he had a ‘vision’.”

                  Paul includes himself in the list of those who saw the bodily resurrected Jesus. (1 Cor 15) The whole point of that chapter is that Jesus really did rise again, physically, bodily. And he includes himself as one of the witnesses whom Jesus appeared to.

                  “And martyrdom doesn’t prove the ‘testimony’ correct; Just ask the Muslims.”

                  The difference is that Muslims give up their lives for their sincere belief in what Mohammad wrote down. The apostles and early Christians gave up their lives for what they saw, touched, and heard. The Muslims and apostles both believed their messaged, that’s why they died for it. The difference is that the apostles had the advantage of knowing whether their message was actually true or not, and they died anyway. Because it was true.

                  “There is certainly nothing to make it more credible than the cutting edge of modern science.”

                  A funny thing about “modern” science is that it will soon become ancient, outdated science. You’re thinking too small my friend. Five hundred years from now our descendants will look back and scoff at many of the things we hold so dear.”How did they ever believe THAT? LOL!” There are certain things we know for sure ie animals adapt to their environment. And then there is fantastical unproven and unprovable imagineering ie given enough time this fly might give rise to Jeff Goldblum-like creatures.

                • Paul Reed

                  “How convenient for you”
                  Of course it’s not convenient! It’d be convenient to have everything laid out on a platter so no investigation needs to be done. Instead, scientists have to examine the evidence that there is, and do actual work to figure out what it means.

                  You seem to have this attitude that if something doesn’t happen right in front of you then it can’t possibly be true. Only immediately observable evidence is good enough for you, apparently. Yet, for some reason, your own position doesn’t need to meet those strict demands. Bit of a double-standard there, don’t you think?

                  Let me make this clear: Nothing in science is based on blind faith. Everything is tested, contested and discussed over and over. If anything is shown to be incorrect, that thing is thrown out.

                  You disagreeing doesn’t make it wrong. And you “understanding” evidence from the creation perspective is meaningless. Why have no creation scientists managed to produce any usable data or publish any credible articles? Think about it.

                  “Unless you claim and demonstrate that the infallible God is speaking through you, I will continue to conclude that your words are fallible and untrustworthy.”
                  And there again you’re presupposing God instead of looking objectively at the evidence.
                  At what point are *you* going to demonstrate that God is speaking through *you*? Or am I the only one who needs to back up my words with evidence?

                  “Whatever the Bible says God says.” Assumption.

                  In fact, by your own standards, everything you’re saying about the Bible is “fantastical conjecture” because there’s no “observable evidence”. After all, you weren’t there to personally observe it, right?

                  “Sure people can twist the Scripture and make it look like it is saying whatever they want.” First smart thing you’ve said all day! ;)

                  Do me a favour: Google “isaiah 53 scholar” and read a few of the top results. I already have. You’ll find that scholars (even Christians) agree that Isaiah 53 is talking about Israel, not Jesus.

                  Paul claims to be an eyewitness of the “resurrected Jesus”, not the man himself. And what he saw could easily have been a vision or seizure.
                  I’d forgotten about 1 & 2 Peter, but they’re in the same category as the gospels: no-one knows who really wrote them and scholars agree they most likely weren’t written by the men they’re attributed to.

                  “the apostles had the advantage of knowing whether their message was actually true or not”
                  *If* the books attributed to them were actually written by them, you might have a case. But, as I’ve said, the jury is out and it’s unlikely.
                  If there were some omnipotent all-powerful being responsible for the Bible, don’t you think he’d have done a better job of making it unambiguous?

                  “Five hundred years from now our descendants will look back and scoff at many of the things we hold so dear.” Second smart thing you’ve said all day! ;)

                  A funny thing about religion is that it’s *already* ancient and outdated, but it doesn’t seem to have noticed.

                  Science adapts and changes as new evidence and new techniques arise. It’s not like some high council decides what will or will not be Science henceforth. It’s not down to a vote. It’s all about the evidence, and what it tells us.

                  Please do some research. You’re making yourself look foolish. Seriously.

  • Tim Martens

    @spuddie:disqus — You sure do spew a lot of hate and obnoxiousness at Comfort.

    • Spuddie

      He has it coming. Not all forms of dislike are irrational nor without justification. Lying charlatans deserve as much scorn as possible.

      But not nearly as much as toadies who blindly defend such people. They are beyond pathetic.

      • Nohm

        I 100% agree, Spuddie.

  • quickshot

    Ray Comfort is truly someone that people love to hate.

    • Matt D

      Not me, I’d rather the man fade into obscurity, than seeing articles consistently demonstrating it’s easy to make money off suckers if you are a big enough tool.

  • SeekerLancer

    So today’s update on Ray Comfort is that he’s still a closed minded liar.

  • phantomreader42

    The footage from this interview should be heavily edited to show Ray admitting that his entire career has been a deliberate act of fraud, and mention how his favorite hobbies are punching small children and raping farm animals. Then, when he whines about the editing, just laugh in his face. If he doesn’t like his tactics used against him, he shouldn’t be using those tactics himself.

  • Bob Lai

    “He may not realize that that is what editors do. They select clips that are relevant to the subject. ”
    I am a professional editor (television news), and Ray Comfort clearly does not understand the editing process. It is essential that the editing process does not change the content of the original statement, and,.since I’m not editing fiction, it is a matter of professional ethics to accurately relate the story.

    This includes not showing the image of a bystander while the reporter says, “The suspect, a man in his twenties …” It includes not taking unrelated material and cobbling it together because you perceive relevance. Or, for that matter, taking b-roll of Ray Comfort and splicing audio to make him say, “I am a banana-eating monkey.”

  • http://atheistminister.net/ Mike

    Q: “Do you believe that, if evolution is true, we should be able to see one species evolve into another species in our lifetime?”

    Ray’s A: “We see that all the time — in lizards, bacteria, fish, etc. That’s not “Darwinian evolution” (as Richard Dawkins calls it). Darwin was looking for a change of “kinds.” .. “Biology-online.org says that “kind” is: “Race; genus; species; …”

    So, to be clear, he says we see a change of species all the time within our lifetime.
    Then he states that he is asking about a change in kind. Then he immediately defines a kind as a species … and therefore thanks to the transitive property of equality, a species = kind ? huh?

    Is he proposing logic to say we see changes in species and therefore kinds “all the time”?? Help

  • Aussiefriend

    It was a good interview. Well done Hemant. That was a good question, “What if you’re wrong and you’ve dedicated your life to a lie?” And Ray gave a good answer. It’s a question that everyone would do well to ponder. Before I came to Christ it used to bother me in the quiet times of my life when the thought of facing God crossed my mind and I tried to suppress it. Since I have come to Him, He changed all that and my experience has been similar to Ray’s.

    • Anna

      I’m utterly confused by that. So you believed in a god that you would have to face (a very Christian idea), but somehow you did not believe in the Jesus part?

      • Paul Reed

        No, no. He believed in Jesus, but he hadn’t yet “come to Christ”.
        Pay attention! :P

  • Derrik Pates

    Well done. Several of his answers would have made me want to fire back and get into a bickering war – which I know wouldn’t accomplish anything, but I’d be so tempted. Good work in maintaining a cool reaction to unreason.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Life came from ‘no life’. Right.

    Who has the greater faith? Believers in a Creator…or believers that believe life came out of lifeless dirt and water and stone?

    And I am not really a fan of Ray Comfort’s techniques or theology.

    But this one blows my mind that people actually believe that complex life (any life is super complex) could evolve from no life.

    Thanks.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Well, you skipped a few steps. We know how abiogenesis could start, though we don’t know (and may never know) how it actually did. We’ve seen many self-replicating proteins develop spontaneously in lab settings. We know that membranes similar to viral shells can also develop spontaneously, and we’ve found evidence that lipid membranes can develop on comets, which shed water into the Earth. Add a self-replicating protein to a protective shell, and voila! Virus-like organism. From there, we can get to the rest of all life ever. Remember, life didn’t begin from water and stone alone; there were lots and lots of other chemicals involved.

      It may sound weird and wonky and ridiculous. There’s also overwhelming piles of evidence for it. “I don’t understand it thus I reject it” is a stupid argument, Steve. The correct answer is to go educate yourself.

      • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

        Sorry. It has NOT been done by any scientist. Only God.

        We can’t do it. It cannot happen. Unless God does it. And He wants to do it again. For you. Give you new life when you need it again once this earthly life is over for you.

        • islandbrewer

          Sorry. It has NOT been done by any scientist. Only God.

          That is the crappiest science-denialist cop-out I’ve ever heard. No scientist has ever recreated the grand canyon, but we know damn well how it happened, and the answer is not “a giant invisible magic man did it”!

          If you want to confine science to what happens on a bench in the span of a class project, then of course you’re going to have to resort to “magic” when explaining anything else.

          We can’t do it. It cannot happen.

          … until the day that we can and do. Yes, the old “it hasn’t been done yet, so it never will!” When scientists do generate self-replicating units from inert compounds, I’m certain you’ll have a fall-back excuse, then, too.

          • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

            I’m not at all worried about it.

            • Spuddie

              Of course not. Creationism means never having to stay consistent or honest in your discussion. Any port in a storm. Any argument will do as long as you don’t have to admit your belief is buoyed solely by faith.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Oh, you’re almost cute with your inability to Google.

          A general overview of the different theories of abiogenesis can be found here.

          One specific set of experiments that showed spontaneous generation of amino acids (a known precursor to life) can be found here.

          Sidney W. Fox did a set of experiments that show that amino acids can spontaneously form peptides, which under certain circumstances form closed circular membranes and exhibit many characteristics of life. This was in the 1950s and 1960s; this is not new.

          In the 1970s, Manfried Eigen did a lot of work to discover the smallest possible organism in terms of RNA bases. To quote, “M. Sumper and R. Luce of Eigen’s laboratory accidentally discovered that a mixture containing no RNA at all but only RNA bases and Q-Beta Replicase can, under the right conditions, spontaneously generate self-replicating RNA” that looks very similar to that very simple life-form with only ~50 nucleotides.

          So basically, we know that amino acids can spontaneously form. We know that those amino acids can spontaneously form peptides. We know that under certain plausible conditions, those peptides form life-like structures. We know that RNA bases and amino acids (both of which can spontaneously form, remember) together can create self-replicating RNA strands.

          Not only can we do it, we’ve done it. Would you argue that Eigen and Miller and Urey and Sumper and Luce are gods?

          • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

            No one has created life from non-live elements. No one.

            • Spuddie

              Nobody can find the scripture which proves my point that God is a flying cheese sandwich!
              Chemosynthesis and photosynthesis are pretty good examples. Turning the inorganic into living tissue.

              Of course just because an answer hasn’t been found, it doesn’t mean the answer is God. It just means we need to look harder. Defaulting to God is not useful for anything. It promotes ignorance and closes off any useful research.

              One of many reasons Creationism is not worth jack is because it has no use in science. It can’t lead to further research, it cannot be supported by research. It has questions which can’t ever be answered and answers which can’t ever be useful.

              Its only purpose is to inflate the ego of delusional religious fanatics. It doesn’t even serve a useful function in religion because it is a denial of faith.

            • RobMcCune

              Really? Then how did you grow bigger?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              /Sigh. None of those elements were alive. Obviously, we need to back up further than “we’ve seen self-replicating RNA spontaneously form from non-alive elements”.

              So let’s back this up then. What is “life”?

            • islandbrewer

              No one has created life from non-live elements. No one.

              Craig Venter and Clyde Hutchison.

              Name one “live element” in Mycoplasma laboratorium.

              But it’s true that no giant invisible magic man in the sky ever created life, or jack shit for that matter! Glad you agree on that point!

        • RobMcCune

          So you believe bacteria have souls?

  • Anna

    I worry about giving creationists publicity. I really think people like this should just be ignored by mainstream culture. Scientists should refuse to engage with them. Creationists want attention, they want debates, but evolution is not an open question. The matter is settled. There’s simply nothing to discuss.

  • Tony

    God bless Ray Comfort

    areyouagoodperson.org

  • Indi4ever

    Unfortunately I came across this late! I don’t think you asked very good questions to Ray.

    Here are some that I would like to know.

    You ask in your video for one scientifically based ‘objective piece of evidence…’ This sounds like a challenge to Science generally. Do you believe any result from science? If yes, please explain why, and why this does not conflict with your belief in the Bible–which is based on faith, not science.

    “You say you take the Bible on faith. Why should we believe in the Bible over the Koran, since it can also be taken on faith?”

    Is the evidence you site for believing in the Bible scientific in any way? If yes, how so? What makes that evidence different from evidence for evolution?

    What do you think the essence of science is? Is it useful at all?

    Would it be appropriate to ask a physicist for an Aristotelian physical example to prove that physics is real? If not, why do you think it important to ask about ‘Dawinian’ evolution when it has been replaced?

    Did you know that the evidence you ask for in the video is not the only method for doing scientific research?

    Did you know that you use the term evolution incorrectly, that what you are asking for is called ‘natural selection’, and that geological evolution does not use natural selection?

    Thank you for allowing us to probe your ignorance.


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