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Oh, Ray Comfort

I kept seeing pictures of this post from professional moron Ray Comfort all over my Facebook feed and I actually assumed it was a parody. As astonishingly ignorant as Ray Comfort is, I didn’t think he was dumb enough to actually believe this. I was wrong. He actually said it:

If the Bible isn’t God-inspired, explain why how the writer of the Book of Job knew 3,000 years ago that “The earth hangs upon nothing” (Job 26:7).

It wasn’t until thousands of years later that science discovered that gravity doesn’t exist in space (as it does on earth), and that this massive earth does indeed hang upon nothing.

After having it pointed out to him that this is completely wrong and gravity does exist in space — how the hell does he think planets stay in their orbits? — he admitted to being wrong. But wait, he was actually making the argument that his false claim showed the Bible to be true. So now that he knows it’s a false claim, doesn’t that show that the Bible, or at least that particular verse, is false? Silly rabbit, rationalizations are for mindless fundamentalists:

Sir Isaac Newton is the one who so wisely noted “Atheism is so senseless.” I will therefore try and make it a little clearer for those folks who pretend that God doesn’t exist.

While there is invisible gravity in space (so much for “seeing is believing”), this massive earth hangs on nothing. It has no visible means of support–similar to the no means of support backing Darwinian evolution.

So one day, the “fact” that gravity doesn’t exist in space proved that the Bible was correct when it says that the earth “hangs upon nothing.” The next day, the fact — actual fact — that gravity does exist in space and holds the earth in its orbit, has nothing at all to do with it and that verse is true even if his claim for why it was true turned out to be false. Being a fundamentalist means never having to admit you’re wrong.

Comments

  1. says

    The phrase “invisible gravity in space” is probably a reasonable bellwether for gauging how much science Ray Comfort actually understands.

  2. alanb says

    The “hangs upon nothing” is a pretty common apologetic claim. Of course, the dozen or so times that the Bible makes reference to the “foundations of the earth” is purely metaphorical, unlike “hangs upon nothing” which is literal.

  3. dingojack says

    Ray exists by breathing a vacuum* because ‘nothing’ = ‘invisible’ in Rayland**.

    Dingo
    ——–
    * Perhaps an experiment worth trying a few times (just to be sure)…
    ** It’s like ‘Graceland’ but even more cheap, tacky and tawdry

    The Westminster Codex renders the verse: “נֹטֶ֣ה צָפֹ֣ון עַל־תֹּ֑הוּ תֹּ֥לֶה אֶ֝֗רֶץ עַל־בְּלִי־מָֽה׃”

  4. Chiroptera says

    ‘Course we also have the fact that the earth isn’t hanging at all. It moves, people, it moves!

  5. chigau (違う) says

    dingojack
    The Westminster Codex renders the verse: “נֹטֶ֣ה צָפֹ֣ון עַל־תֹּ֑הוּ תֹּ֥לֶה אֶ֝֗רֶץ עַל־בְּלִי־מָֽה׃”

    google translate

    “Tended to North on – wondering hung Land on – no – what”

    I can see why Ray is confused.

  6. dingojack says

    Chiroptera – ‘And yet she moves’.
    Dingo
    ——–
    chigau (違う) – Yes, but is there anyone out there (who can read Hebrew) who can give a better (literal) translation?

  7. Trebuchet says

    The Earth hangs on nothing? Nonsense. It’s turtles, all the way down.

    (I can’t believe I’m the first to bring that up!)

  8. peterh says

    As in # 4 above, it’s a never-ending source of amazement and amusement that True Believers™ can trot out the literal when it suits them or the metaphorical when that would serve – and then Mugwump back and forth when that tactic would (they hope) serve the moment. Not only are they continually moving the goalposts, but they also often have the kicker booting from out-of-bounds.

  9. says

    @ peterh (#13)
    It is Heisenberg’s Biblical Uncertainty Interpretation. The verse is BOTH metaphorical AND literal. It is only when the skeptic opens his mouth and chooses to interpret it one that the waveform collapses into the exact opposite of what the skeptic said.

  10. Chris J says

    Apparently around the time Job was ostensibly written, multiple cultures thought that the earth was a sphere and that it sat in empty space, unsuspended. So it isn’t a stretch to say the author was just going by the knowledge of the times. For a god-inspired work, Job sure seems mystified at how water can stay in the clouds…

    Also, here is the full text of Job 26:7

    He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.

    The northern skies aren’t spread over empty space.

  11. scienceavenger says

    Sir Isaac Newton is the one who so wisely noted “Atheism is so senseless.”

    I remind Comfort and anyone else that wants to hang their hat on Newton’s authority that I, a physics dunderhead by modern PhD standards, nonetheless know more about physics than Newton, due to the innumerable additional giants’ shoulders I have to stand on. Ditto for biology, geology, or just about any subject you care to name.

    And I say Newton is wrong.

  12. cry4turtles says

    Anyone who knows knows that grandma’s make the world go around and grandpa’s hold it together!

  13. dingojack says

    peterh – ‘Mugwump’?
    ‘I feel a draft. I hear squeaking’.*
    Dingo
    ——–
    * OK if you’re not a (nearly) half century old computer geek – I’m not gonna explain it to you.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    It has no visible means of support–similar to the no means of support backing Darwinian evolution.

    So Comfort acknowledges that the theory of evolution is as valid a fact as is gravity?

    Walkback of the walkback coming in 5, 4, …

  15. Will Cherone says

    Is this verse written at a time when they believed in a flat earth? Even if they had this one understanding that vaguely matches with reality, it doesn’t explain how wrong they were about everything else. It’s like this recent discovery of vast underground water deposits, it’s easy to see someone imagine this and just get lucky. They were still very wrong about the flood and cosmology.

  16. Olav says

    Comfort:

    that gravity doesn’t exist in space (as it does on earth),

    I think I know the source of this misunderstanding. As a very young lad I think I believed the same. I saw images of astronauts being “weightless” in orbiting space stations (Salyut, Skylab) and assumed that it had to be because of their distance from Earth. Of course I had no real concept of “orbit” and somehow conflated “just barely above the atmosphere” with “out of the reach of gravity”.

    Then I got some comic books which explained it all.

  17. kenn says

    Ed, when are you going to learn? If it’s in the Wholly Babble, it’s GOT to be true!

  18. John Pieret says

    Comfort”

    Up until today I was one of the many who believed that there is zero gravity in space. We live and learn

    Talk about no visible means of support!

  19. peterh says

    Dingo:

    No wumpus involved.

    “Mugwump was brought into [American] English in the early nineteenth century as a humorous term for a boss, bigwig, grand panjandrum, or other person in authority, although often one of a minor and inconsequential sort. This example comes from a story in an 1867 issue of Atlantic Monthly: “I’ve got one of your gang in irons — the Great Mugwump himself, I reckon — strongly guarded by men armed to the teeth; so you just ride up here and surrender”.

    It hit the big time in 1884, during the presidential election that set Grover Cleveland against the Republican James G Blaine. Some Republicans refused to support Blaine, changed sides, and the New York Sun labelled them little mugwumps. Almost overnight, the sense of the word changed to turncoat. Later, it came to mean a politician who either could not or would not make up his mind on some important issue, or who refused to take a stand when he was expected to do so. Hence the old joke that a mugwump is a person sitting on the fence, with his mug on one side and his wump on the other.” (emphasis added)

  20. eric says

    this massive earth hangs on nothing. It has no visible means of support

    I would be really curious to know what Ray thinks is going to happen if the Earth’s support is taken away. I suspect that theschwa’s @14 may end up being a poe, indistinguishable from his actual answer.

  21. busterggi says

    Actually the Earth is supported by an invisible giant Harlem Globetrotter’s finger which keeps it spinning.

  22. garnetstar says

    Gravity is “invisible” in space, and he needs to see it to believe it? Did he not see Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 break into fragements under Jupiter’s gravity, which smacked impressively into the planet? Or Comet Hale-Bopp, which was pretty damn hard to miss even with the naked eye?

    I don’t know why I even bother to ask. This is the man who said that evolution claims that humans reproduced by fission before The Fall. He also said indignantly that his eyes had no blind spots.

    They relocated to his brain, apparently.

  23. Michael Heath says

    Yes Ray Comfort’s an idiot. But is there even one biblical inerrantist whose able to actually confront all the facts that falsify the claim the Bible is inerrant, and then cogently and sufficiently respond? I’ve yet to encounter anyone who even attempts to reach that standard. Instead it’s turtles avoidance and denialism all the way down.

  24. freehand says

    The linked website is not improved by the comments. Here’s one:
    Stand With Tennessee Or that the wind has it’s circuits…Much research and money has been spent on space. Recently scientists have discovered deeper you go in space time actually slows down. They say you can spend years in space and return upon earth and decades would have passed. Had they read God’s word they would have known a day is as a thousand years with the Lord’. just saying
    .
    We have all heard that 25% or so of responders to science polls are geocentrists. I think that instead, most folks are just so damn confused about space, even the most basic concepts of the solar system, that they are simply wildly guessing the answers to those polls.
    .
    Yeah, Ray’s grasp of space models is nonexistent. but the dishonor comes from his utter disinterest in reality, and unwillingness to learn – all while using his confused mashup of ideas and images as proof for anything He’s like a child playing at grownup. But people like him used to torture and murder folks who were smart or otherwise different.

  25. freehand says

    Michael – my university workout buddy was a devout Christian who earned his PhD in microbiology. He said that if reality and the bible seemed out of sorts, seemed to disagree, then he assumed that his understanding of the bible was wrong. I note that this implies he understood that the bible wasn’t all literal, and also that he was subject to error (an assertion that all good scientists keep in mind).
    .
    The folks I’ve known who claim the bible is literally true, and inerrantly so, never acknowledge the possibility that they misunderstand it. They also claim that parts are metaphorical*, but deny they think the bible isn’t all literally true. Made my head swim as a kid.
    .
    *Jesus said that a rich man couldn’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven? He was just emphasizing something or other…

  26. eric says

    *Jesus said that a rich man couldn’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

    Yeah, the mote-beam response is strong on that issue. American preachers and congregations of people making 10x the global annual income rate seem to think it won’t apply to them. The average global income is about $10k/year. If you make double or triple that (or more) – which most Americans do – guess what? You are not the disciple sagely nodding at Jesus’ advice while you live it, you’re the camel.

  27. says

    I went to the Comfort link thinking I might get some insight into how Ray fleeces the rubes. I came across this fellow’s writing in the comments:

    Everyone is in title to there own opinion but know this the day he does return every knee shall bow!!

    Insight discovered.

  28. Loqi says

    Regarding the camel and the needle, I seem to remember someone explaining that verse as being about how Jesus makes everything possible. As in Jesus makes something impossible (camel through the needle) into something easy (rich people in heaven).

  29. Doug Little says

    “Hangs on nothing”

    But aren’t these same people that argue that nothing doesn’t exist as in you can’t get something from nothing tripe. So which is it?

  30. says

    To be fair, it is my experience that when asked the question “why are astronauts ‘weightless’?” a healthy fraction (~25%) of US college freshmen (with high SAT scores) answer “because there is no gravity in space” or “because gravity is very weak in space.” The no-gravity-in-space mistake is fairly common. I remember one of my kids’ Time-Life science books had the same mistake. It’s a question I always ask on the first day of an introductory physics class. (I also ask: “If, as we all know, hot air rises, why does it get colder when you go up?)

  31. says

    Regarding the camel and the needle, I don’t think it had anything to do with the difficulty of a rich man going to heaven. I think it was primarily to stir the pot. In 1st century Judaism, wealth was a sign of God’s favor. If anyone was sure to go to heaven, it was a rich man. Jesus put an end to that way of thinking–which was so ingrained that the disciples, that, astonished, they asked: (paraphrase) “if not the rich man, what hope is there for us?”

  32. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    To be fair, it is my experience that when asked the question “why are astronauts ‘weightless’?” a healthy fraction (~25%) of US college freshmen (with high SAT scores) answer “because there is no gravity in space” or “because gravity is very weak in space.” The no-gravity-in-space mistake is fairly common.

    There’s an enormous ethical difference between mundane ignorance, some students not knowing something, and asserting a falsehood – Comfort making a false assertion due to his ignorance. So your point is in no way fair.

  33. says

    There’s an enormous ethical difference between mundane ignorance, some students not knowing something, and asserting a falsehood – Comfort making a false assertion due to his ignorance. So your point is in no way fair.

    Oh lighten up for crying out loud. You’re always such a pill. The point I’m making, which is in no way a happy one, is that it is a common mistake–an indictment on our education system. And I’m not talking about children, or middle-school students, I’m talking about adults. It’s a perfectly fair point. Sure, it’s funny when made publicly by a buffoon–but I suspect many American adults would not have known he was wrong.

    Do you ready everything from the point of view of “how can I be a pain in the ass in my response?”

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