November 2009
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Ray Comfort is Bananas, Part 2

The last post about Ray being bananas was far too light on the details. So, I thought I’d say a bit more about the ordeal today, while I have some time.

Ray operates a ministry in Huntington beach, and can usually be found on a soapbox bantering with beachgoers on Saturdays. There are several videos of this on YouTube, that I won’t reproduce here for brevity. He made himself famous online with one episode of his “Way of the Master” series that he produces with his boy-toy and former actor, Kirk Cameron. That episode, Bananas: The Atheist’s Worst Nightmare, claimed that bananas were perfect for human consumption, obviously designed as such by a loving creator god. His arguments were rapidly debunked, both in video form, and through skeptic websites.

In the video, Ray reveals his obvious lack of scholarship. He completely neglected to research anything about bananas before simply making up creationist arguments. He overlooked the history of bananas and their human cultivation for 7,000, year. He missed the fact that the convenient ‘pull tab’ is used by stupid humans, while smart monkeys simply pinch the other end. He claimed that the shape of the banana was a perfect fit for finger joints, while it’s simply a result of having grown in a bunch (nature can pack efficiently). It is unfortunate that Ray has a successful ministry, as it reveals that humans are easily won over by superficial arguments and tend not to take the time to seriously critique the messages they hear. The success of his ministry almost directly demonstrates, how fallible and gullible we are.

More recently, as an obvious publicity stunt, Ray decided to distribute a republication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, in ‘honor’ of the 150th anniversary of its original release. Of course the book has long been in public domain, so, while a bit touchy, this is a perfectly legal maneuver on his part. He placed within the book a 50 page Special Introduction, available at his ministry. In his indoctrination, Ray again reveals sloppy scholarship. He plagarizes, and uses well worn creationist arguments, that have long been refuted. A summary nice refutation can be read at the Don’t Diss Darwin site, setup by the National Center for Science Education. He ends the Indoctrination with a plea that you should buy one of his other books, presumably also as thoroughly researched.

Since enough people within the science community had found out about the publication, there was time to address the misinformation that would be spread on so many college campuses. US News and World Report has a back and forth between Ray and the Eugenie Scott, who works as the executive directory of NCSE and who’s work finding ‘cdesign proponentsists’ helped considerably in the Dover Trial. Ray introduced why he wanted to publish the book, Exclusive: Ray Comfort Defends His Creationist Edition of ‘On the Origin of Species and Eugenie replied with How Creationist ‘Origin’ Distorts Darwin.

Ray had initially planned on releasing his creationist re-publication on the anniversary of Darwin’s original. Yet, since that landed on a weekend prior to Thanksgiving, he rescheduled to Thursday, Nov 19. This was convenient for my club, AAR@UCI because we have meeting on Wed night, and could easily discuss strategy and organization prior to his arrival. We were also hoping, that since UCI is so close to Huntington Beach, he might show up to our campus in person.

Then, on the morning of Wednesday, Nov 18, we spotted his people handing out books! He preempted the schedule! Fortunately, we had already received a collection of banana bookmarks from NCSE, and rapidly organized ourselves to hand them out. He must have felt that the atmosphere in Orange County is too strongly affected by the rationalists because he decided to show up at UCLA instead. He was immediately countered by the Bruin Skeptics though, as recorded by their posts:

In summary, I found the whole event anti-climatic. Most of the world had not heard that this was going on. All they say was some people handing out Darwin books, claiming “This might help you with your studies”. The only people that even wanted to debate with them were members of our own group, who knew what was going on. It seems that the creationists must go to extreme lengths to find a way to shovel their shit into the minds of others. This includes deceit about schedules, slipping bogus content into otherwise good books, neglecting scholarship, misrepresentation of the material, and all other manner of logical fallacies. On strictly moral grounds, I have to give the entire creationist movement a big CHRISTIAN FAIL, for not following their own espoused moral code.

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