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Jul 02 2013

Lie harder, little man

Ray Comfort is pushing his new creationist movie with a lie. He’s setting it up that Richard Dawkins talks about the evidence for evolution, but that he went to real scientists and asked them, and Ray is going to spring a surprise on him — Comfort implies that the scientists disagreed.

I was one of those scientists. NO, I did not disagree with Dawkins about evolution or the evidence for evolution; NO, nothing I said provided any support to creationist claims; NO, there is not a lack of evidence for evolution.

What actually happened is that I briefly discussed the evidence for evolution — genetics and molecular biology of fish, transitional fossils, known phylogenies relating extant groups, and experimental work done on bacterial evolution in the lab, and Ray Comfort simply denied it all — the bacteria were still bacteria, the fish were still fish. I suspect the other scientists did likewise: we provided the evidence, Ray Comfort simply closed his eyes and denied it all.

Richard Dawkins will not be at all surprised that Ray Comfort is a dishonest fool.

85 comments

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  1. 1
    Trebuchet

    You probably answered this before, but may I assume you have your own complete tape of the interview so you can expose Comfort’s dishonest editing?

  2. 2
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Never trust a creationist.

  3. 3
    raven

    If their religion was true, they wouldn’t have to lie all the time.

    There are many lines of evidence that xianity is just made up fiction. One of the most convincing is…the behavior and character of xians.

  4. 4
    umkomasia

    I don’t understand why we evolutionists say we should not debate creationists because appearing on the same stage with them gives them undeserved credibility, and then we agree to be interviewed for movies by said creationists in which they have editorial control. It makes no sense. Please stop doing this.

  5. 5
    Ing

    Seconding #4

  6. 6
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Aside from Ray sounding like one of those TV announcers on the latest instalment of “The Hunger Games”, I just don’t understand why *whether or not evolution is true* has anything to do with the veracity of the YHWH-hypothesis.
    Dawkins was most coherent in describing YHWH as a great big mind-fuck. That is all it is. ‘Bout time we started focussing on that and ignoring the trivia (however interesting it may be, it has fuck-all to do with YHWH.)

    As for talking to these idiots, I think one should feel free to do that. They do look incredibly fucking stupid at the end of it. We should use every single opportunity to show them up for what they are. On this point Dawkins was right: by denying children the opportunity to see the world in real terms, they are, quite literally, committing child abuse. They are stunting childrens’ mental and intellectual development.

  7. 7
    Lynna, OM

    Thanks for the heads-up, PZ. Would it be possible for you to include responses from Craig Stanford, Gail Kennedy, and Peter Nonacs?

  8. 8
    Glen Davidson

    Let’s see, he denies the abundant evidence of life’s relatedness, common descent, and yet manages not to be honest about things?

    It’s almost as if he’s dedicated his life to a false belief system…

    Glen Davidson

  9. 9
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    LIE HARD: Yippee Ki Yay Banana Fucker!

  10. 10
    paleotrent

    Boy, he got you there, PZ, asking if you were a cousin of a banana. So let me get this straight, Rev. Comfort: understanding that all life forms on this planet are descended from a common ancestor (and therefore are metaphorical “cousins”) is more ridiculous than positing on YouTube that the banana was intelligently designed to fit into the human hand?

  11. 11
    clevehicks

    Comfort is confusing the ‘Picard facepalm’ response shown by most of the interviewed scientists to his inane questions with an inability to support evolution!

  12. 12
    Glen Davidson

    It’s not the banana that’s the embarrassing relation, you know.

    Glen Davidson

  13. 13
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Glen, taglines are not supposed to make sense.

  14. 14
    davidgentile

    #6,

    Evolution v. YHWH – is that a rhetorical question? They can’t reconcile their creation account – the Word of God – with science, ergo science is wrong.

    “We should use every opportunity…” – I don’t want to be the naysayer who doesn’t provide alternatives. I have no foolproof method for enlightening creobots. I like your mindset, but I caution you to choose your battles. Believers don’t want to expand their minds, they want continual affirmation of their worldview.

    I live near Palmyra, NY. The other day I was in a laundromat and noticed two young women chatting with a patron about Jebus. I figured I might have some fun trying to flip them so I waited until the other guy left. I spoke with the young lady closest to me. The other one was silent and looked like she wanted to run away. The conversation went something like this:

    Me: Are you mormons?
    Her: Yes, we’re on a mission.
    M: Do you think women in your faith should be allowed to be polygamists? [What's good for the gander...]
    H: Mormons don’t believe in polygamy. [I cited that bunch on TLC to her; I just now checked Wikipedia and it seems she was mostly right.]
    M: Can people go to Hell?
    H: Yes, if they don’t live according to the Word of He who sent his only Living Son to atone for our sins.
    M: Why would a merciful God consign anyone to Hell? The God of the Old Testament, as described in its pages, is a Genocidal Psychopath. [I believe both Dawkins and Hitchens summarized, in a sentence or two, what an awful character He is. I'm not sure I said Genocidal Psychopath, but I used similar words, but no expletives, to get my point across.]
    H: I’m not going to argue with you. I live my life under the bountiful light of my Lord Jesus and I’ll pray for you.

    This whole exchange took about 2 minutes. I felt slightly cruel about it, but I was also a bit miffed – I called her out on her “not argue” statement and asked if her belief didn’t warrant an aggressive defense: stand up to this heathen trying to mess with you! She wasn’t buying it.

  15. 15
    crocodoc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gv2xbXkAfs

    There’s an entertaining discussion going on and it goes like this:

    Cr: Show me proof for evolution

    Ev: Fossil record, transitional forms, morphological homologies, genetic relations, observed mutations and adaptions, ring species, vestigial organs, geographic distribution, stratigraphy, irreducible complexity disproved, difference between living and extinct species, “kind” undefined, difference between micro and macroevolution nonsensical, oxygen required by animals means plants where there long before, tree ring dating exceeds age of young earth reationism, etc etc

    Cr: That’s not in the bible. Open your heart for Jesus and you will see

    Ev: What’s your proof?

    Cr: Egg nebula looks like a cross* And, you know, 2nd law of thermodynamic says everyting is falling apart.

    * really! that’s one argument they came up with.

  16. 16
    davidgentile

    #10, Ray’s a genius because he knows that lies are stronger when you mix in some truth – like that Bananas were intelligently designed – by people – to conform to the hand.

  17. 17
    =8)-DX

    Isn’t there something about not having sex with your cousins? Is that what Ray Comfort is really fantasizing about? I mean it fit in his hand, and now he imagines it in a semi-incestuous liason with PZ!?
    *waves finger at Ray
    Your banana obsession is getting out of hand! Think of the fruit!

  18. 18
    Zeno

    I had a banana with breakfast this morning. I had never before considered the incest potential of the first meal of the day.

  19. 19
    okstop

    I’m curious – and this is just the idle thought of a non-lawyer – but is it conceivable that Comfort’s editing your contribution to make it appear as if you support his position could be the sort of thing that could harm you professionally? I mean, you receive honorariums and so forth from appearances booked on the strength of the fact that you are a prominent atheist… being seen to support Comfort, even if only apparently, could very well jeopardize some of that income, yes? And if that is true, wouldn’t Comfort’s lies about you constitute libel?

    I bet getting sued a few times would make him a lot less cavalier about editing people so dishonestly. It’s probably not legally viable, but it’s nice to think about, eh?

  20. 20
    ChristineRose

    Wow. You’d think Ray would have learned his banana lesson for this lifetime. Pass me a cucumber.

  21. 21
    playonwords

    You knew he’d do this.

    I’d suggest to anyone who does this in future to carry a discrete recording device.

  22. 22
    Glen Davidson

    I’d suggest to anyone who does this in future to carry a discrete recording device.

    For, continuous recording devices are hardly up to the task.

    (Oh come on, it’s a play on word, after all)

    Glen Davidson

  23. 23
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    In case you do not know, playonwords, but PZ has been posting about this for a while. When Ray Comfort first interviewed him. When news about this attempted documentary started spreading. It is well known what Ray Comfort is doing. The only people who are being fooled by what he is doing are those who want to be fooled.

    Sadly, that is a lot of people.

  24. 24
    Acolyte of Sagan

    crocodoc
    2 July 2013 at 11:56 am (UTC -5) [............]
    Cr: Egg nebula looks like a cross* And, you know, 2nd law of thermodynamic says everyting is falling apart.

    * really! that’s one argument they came up with.

    I’d have sent that particular moron to an optician*. The Egg Nebula looks the cube root of fuck-all like a cross; it doesn’t even look like an egg! It’s more like back-to-back lighthouse beams.

    *Or pointed them in the direction of the Crux, or Southern Cross; now that one does look like a cross, albeit one lacking somewhat in symmetry.

  25. 25
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    A nebula that looks like a cross? Damn, I remember when they found an organelle in a cell that looked like a cross. And that World Trade Center cross.

    So damned convincing!

  26. 26
    zekehoskin

    The bacteria were still bacteria. As far as I understand it, it would be rather difficult for an ecosystem containing only bacteria to evolve eukaryotes. That took bacteria and archaea. Too oversimplified?

  27. 27
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ okstop

    Yes, I think you are right. By completely misrepresenting PZ (what we call “lying”), I think liar-for-jeebus Ray crossed the line. One could likely build a case.

    @ Ray Comfort

    What if you are wrong? (You are, but I am trying to be nice about it) Do you realise what harm you are currently doing? You are quite literally stunting childrens mental development with your YHWH lies. For all your smarminess, I don’t like you.

  28. 28
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Let’s just compare beards. Ray Comfort’s beard is wispy and shapeless. It looks as if he sprayed it on three mornings ago, and hasn’t touched it up since. It is the beard of a dissembler, a rogue, and banana worshipper.
     
    PZ’s beard is magnificent: full, shapely, and clearly parasite free. I could climb up into it, and just sleep for a century, it is that soft and cozy looking. It’s a beard that the people can trust.

  29. 29
    Acolyte of Sagan

    #28, that’s not a beard that PZ sports, it’s merely bumfluff with ideas above its station. If you want a beard you could live in, never mind trust, do an image search for Brian (Gordon is ALIIIIVE) Blessed.

  30. 30
    Kevin

    @26: It’s true. It’s rather difficult for an ecosystem containing only bacteria to evolve into eukaryotes.

    That’s why it took about 1 billion years.

    By contrast, it only took about 400 million years to get from first land animals to us. So the prokaryote-to-eukaryote evolution was twice as difficult as the lobed-fish-to-human evolution, at least in terms of time to completion.

    That’s how I’d explain it.

  31. 31
    grumpyoldfart

    Don’t worry. The Americans are an educated people who will not be easily fooled. Politicians and preachers around the country will warn their constituents of the lies contained in the movie.

  32. 32
    Acolyte of Sagan

    grumpyoldfart, on behalf of lovers of sarcasm everywhere, please accept this shiny new internet.

  33. 33
    crocodoc

    @24 Acolyte of Sagan, actually the egg nebula does look like a cross. And if you’re open minded you can even see the virgin Mary. I was sceptical first but then this user provided irrefutable evidence

  34. 34
    gary0033

    You called this a creationist video but Comfort interviewed no Creationists – only Darwinists without creative edits. C’mon PZ – your followers can verify who is actually lying here. Verified video evidence of who is telling the truth. Man, I’d be embarrassed to make a claim so easily disproven.

  35. 35
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Man, I’d be embarrassed to make a claim so easily disproven.

    So you’re embarrassed pretty much constantly?

  36. 36
    Glen Davidson

    You called this a creationist video but Comfort interviewed no Creationists

    Not done from a creationist perspective at all, no.

    Oh, I see, you tried to change the rules of what constitutes a creationist video to the make up of the interviewees.

    You’re very stupid, very ignorant, a Poe, as dishonest as Comfort is, or some combination of some or all of those. I don’t really care what the answer is, for the stupid, dishonest result is what matters here.

    Glen Davidson

  37. 37
    ChristineRose

    If I videotaped some Christians and edited it all around so it looked like they were all atheists, and all my subjects condemned my work as dishonest would that be a “Christian video?” If you insist on playing, play fair.

  38. 38
    twas brillig (stevem)

    I will not see this movie, ever, but my only (humble) thought is that Comfort is playing “ The Daily Show“. Where they interview the “opposing side” to let them show with ‘their own words’ just how ‘far wrong’ they are. Could that be what Comfort is doing here? He isn’t trying to “prove’ anything, just wants to ‘show’ what the ‘evilutionists’ really think (with their own voices). So all his “acolytes” can laugh their a$$es off at those ‘stupid’ evilutionists (with special edits here and there to eliminate context). Even if he isn’t really doing that, that would always be my “hesitation” at formally debating a creationist (on a creationist film, not a live, impartial audience). I suppose I’m just ‘projecting’ my reactions to the creationists’ “talking points”. Their words themselves are the funniest ever, don’t need any distortion to “seem” funny. Our “weakness”, that makes PZ et al vulnerable, is the idea that people will use their reason and think about what they say. Sadly, this seems to happen only amongst “rational” people; creationists are (by definition) not “rational”. They just want the “easy answer”, thinking is “too much work”. It is so much easier to just say “Goddidit”, than have to explain every little step of the chain.

  39. 39
    David Harley

    I am not a believer myself, but I do wish that those Christians who are evolutionary biologists would find some way to make their opposition to Creationism very public. This would be likely to make a positive impact on all the Americans who have been persuaded that the conflict is God + Creationism versus atheism + evolution.

    The overwhelming majority of Christians in developed countries have no problem reconciling a belief in God with a belief in evolution (and anthropogenic climate change, for that matter). It is the US where this unfortunate connection has been made, thanks to a relatively small number of vociferous fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. They have been aided in this by those unbelievers who have persistently turned the argument for evolution into an argument against religion.

    The political effect in the US has been catastrophic because, when combined with other arguments such as abortion and climate change, there has been created a solid voting block for the freemarketeers and anti-government conservatives. In consequence, we have a political party that is set on impoverishing the poor, enriching the rich, disenfranchising ethnic minorities, and controlling women’s reproductive health.

    Somehow, we have to separate our atheism from the pro-evolution argument, because all that the Creationists have to do is point to our atheism, especially in its most intemperate forms, in order to consolidate their position. It is too much to expect militant anti-Creationists such Dawkins, who has a staggeringly crude and literalist view of religion, to make such a separation, but a strong public stand by Christian biologists might contribute to a better position. Unfortunately, though some do talk and write about this, they lack the militancy that many Creationists and atheists bring to the quarrel.

    The strength of support for Creationism is destroying liberal secular America, and its limited welfare system. This is a disaster for millions and a matter of distress for liberal Christians, regardless of denomination. I don’t know that such matters are of any concern for Dawkins, but they should be for those who can see the political ramifications of this unnecessary polarization.

    We are not going to revive bipartisan care for the poor by attacking belief in God. We might do so by detaching disbelief in God from arguments against Creationism. I take it that we don’t believe in evolution merely because we don’t believe in Hell. If we do, we are no better than the fundamentalists.

  40. 40
    Andy Ball

    Please tell us PZ that you recorded the Interview yourself, also I don’t suppose you could write a follow up article as to who else was interviewed for this movie so we can get their version of events. It’d be nice to expose Comfort for the dishonest cretin he is.

  41. 41
    PZ Myers

    No, I didn’t record it. It was a brief interaction at the AAI meeting — I didn’t have a camera with me, while he did.

  42. 42
    mangobingo

    The Egg nebula looks like a cross, therefore Jesus.

    The Horsehead nebula looks like a horse, therefore…?

  43. 43
    crocodoc

    @42 mangobingo I’d say the egg nebula has layers and looks a bit like an onion, too. Therefore Ogres.

  44. 44
    crocodoc

    Did everybody see this video where Ray Comfort edited a video to make two atheists look like murderers you can hire for money?

  45. 45
    David Marjanović

    the cube root of fuck-all

    Day saved!

    A nebula that looks like a cross? Damn, I remember when they found an organelle in a cell that looked like a cross.

    That was just the protein called laminin.

    @26: It’s true. It’s rather difficult for an ecosystem containing only bacteria to evolve into eukaryotes.

    That’s why it took about 1 billion years.

    More like 2 billion; and that only if you count archaea as “bacteria”, which you really shouldn’t.

  46. 46
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re mangobingo @ 42:

    The Egg nebula looks like a cross, therefore Jesus.

    The Horsehead nebula looks like a horse, therefore…?

    Equus! The horse GOD!

  47. 47
    John Morales

    David Harley:

    Somehow, we have to separate our atheism from the pro-evolution argument, because all that the Creationists have to do is point to our atheism, especially in its most intemperate forms, in order to consolidate their position. It is too much to expect militant anti-Creationists such Dawkins, who has a staggeringly crude and literalist view of religion, to make such a separation, but a strong public stand by Christian biologists might contribute to a better position. Unfortunately, though some do talk and write about this, they lack the militancy that many Creationists and atheists bring to the quarrel.

    What?

    First, one can’t separate atheism from non-Creationism, since Creationism relies on belief in a creator god.

    Second, what you call “a staggeringly crude and literalist view of [theistic] religion” is what I call honesty — ignoring its very basis in order to accommodate it is intellectually dishonest.

    Third, you clearly misuse the concept of militance when you use it to refer to verbal assertiveness.

    (Been a while since an accommodationist ventured here)

  48. 48
    Chris Nielsen

    How can anyone here accuse Ray Comfort of being dishonest or a liar when you haven’t seen the documentary yet?

  49. 49
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Been a while since an accommodationist ventured here

    *Sharpens titanium fang*

  50. 50
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It’s Ray Comfort, professional liar and bullshitter. DUH.

  51. 51
    John Morales

    Chris, duh: we’ve seen the promo.

    (It’s embedded in the OP!)

  52. 52
    Ray, rude-ass yankee (Whimsy, I has it)

    Chris Nielsen@48, We’ve also seen how he works, his other interviews and TV projects. Lies and distortion are his “thing”.

  53. 53
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    That’s like asking how I can call Bryan Fischer a fearmongering douchebag when I haven’t seen what he’ll be posting on Twitter tomorrow.

  54. 54
    Chris Nielsen

    I saw the demo, but can’t figure out what lie or distortion you are referring to.

  55. 55
    John Morales

    Chris @54, really?

    Because the claim is that belief in evolution is faith-based, and having “gone” to evolutionary scientists, it is revealed that Dawkins is hiding a “dirty little secret”*.

    I here transcribe the relevant section:

    We have something for you, Professor: We went to evolutionary scientists at UCLA and USC and found out your dirty little secret.

    One reviewer said “Dawkins will have a cow!”.
    Another said “Absolutely devastating”.

    If it were a boxing match, the referee would’ve stopped the interviews, including with the professors.

    [voice-over]

    Evolution versus God — if you believe in evolution, prepare to have your faith shaken.

    * You really can’t figure out how this is a distortion and a lie?

  56. 56
    consciousness razor

    I saw the demo, but can’t figure out what lie or distortion you are referring to.

    Dawkins claims the design argument seems like convincing argument, but evolutionary biology offers real explanations.
    [cut to content-free footage of some biologists, with more of Comfort's blabbering]
    It turns out, these biologists agree with Dawkins (like PZ says in the OP).
    Comfort is an ignorant denialist, so he’s unconvinced by evolution.
    Therefore, Dawkins is going to be shocked that whatever the biologists said proved him wrong!

    It’s inconsistent! Either evolution is convincing or Comfort is a dumbass. Comfort’s not a dumbass, therefore evolution is unconvincing.

    Can you see where the distortion appears?

  57. 57
    Glen Davidson

    It’s not really clear what the teaser is really on about, so it’s less a matter of what Comfort’s going to distort or misrepresent–in all probability–than that we know he will do so, with a high probability.

    What is clear is that Comfort’s glibly spreading the lie that evolution is a “belief,” not as it actually is–a justified claim–but as a kind of faith. The teaser states something like, “If you believe in evolution, prepare to have your faith shaken.” And no, I’m not saying that no one believes in evolution like a faith, either, but clearly the implication is that evolution is a belief is a faith, a dishonest claim indeed.

    Not that we need that to realize that Comfort’s going to be dishonest about evolution. Creationism, creationists, are dishonest about it almost to a person, with only a very few candidates who might be honest about it yet in denial because of their religion. Comfort isn’t one of them, we know that from experience.

    Glen Davidson

  58. 58
    Zugswang

    Was this the one where he sent you a nice little fruit basket afterwards?

    I guess he thinks that’s sufficient penance for being a deceptive little shit.

  59. 59
    robster

    Surprise that a creationist tells fibs? A creationist that buries the reality under a cascade of nonsense? It’s like expecting a used car salesperson to tell the truth about the $2,000 2012 Merc he’s got on sale. Comfort really can’t know the meaning of the word truth. Didn’t the god/jesus/holy spook supposedly say something about how naughty it is to lie?

  60. 60
    Glen Davidson

    creationists, are dishonest about it almost to a person,

    I suppose I should qualify this, since there are many dupes.

    Still, I don’t think that one is fully honest, at least, if one is simply willing to repeat stupid dishonest claims about evolution–which has earned its reputation as a science by having the evidence and guiding research–without bothering to at least note that such a one is really quite ignorant of the matter.

    So that although I think many creationists are generally honest folk, it’s hard to credit them with honesty in this matter, aside from a few who might admit that theirs is a quite ignorant opinion.

    Glen Davidson

  61. 61
    nathanloudon

    The only response to a request for an interview with the likes of Comfort should be “Fuck Off”.

  62. 62
    tacitus

    I really wouldn’t spend much time worry about the way PZ or anyone else is going to be portrayed in Comfort’s 30 minute “documentary.” It’s not as though it’s going to be show anywhere except on the new website he created for that purpose. If anything, Comfort will welcome any outrage he creates, since the attention will merely add to the number of eyeballs that watch it.

    No doubt he will sell a lot of copies on DVD — he claims to have sold over a million of his previous nonsense “180″ at five bucks a pop — and he will be certainly be creating materials like pamphlets, bumper stickers, etc, that he can also sell, but these will all go to fundie churches where, if they weren’t plugging Comfort’s stuff, they’d be showing something just like it.

    In the grand scheme of things, Comfort’s productions are almost entirely insignificant when it comes to the religious beliefs of this country. His ministerial career has coincided with the greatest “falling away” of young people from religion in the recorded history of this nation. True, America is large enough to sustain him and his ilk for a long time to come, but he is feeding off his own kind, not those he says he’s trying to reach.

  63. 63
    britarse

    I was actually thinking of Hovind when I wrote this one some years ago, but it kind of works for Comfort, too. http://cockeyed.the-comic.org/comics/24

  64. 64
    okstop

    @David Harley:

    “We are not going to revive bipartisan care for the poor by attacking belief in God. We might do so by detaching disbelief in God from arguments against Creationism.”

    You’ve got the tail wagging the dog, David. There are liberal, progressive Christian sects aplenty for those of a mind to join them, and their adherents tend to vote for aid for the poor, environmental laws, et al. The evil, twisted toads who support the brand of conservative Christianity that seems to hate poor, brown people and which is unfortunately so prevalent in America are not soft-hearted people whose hands are bound by the theology of their home congregations. They are flinty, callous people who have gravitated to the style of worship that fits their terrible personalities. You will never get bipartisan support for the poor, because the people against aren’t against it because (many of) the people for it are not Christian. They are against it because they are terrible people… and they also HAPPEN to be Christians (of a particularly vile sort).

  65. 65
    Anri

    The Egg nebula looks like a cross, therefore Jesus.

    The Horsehead nebula looks like a horse, therefore…?

    Celestia, duh!

  66. 66
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ PZ

    No, I didn’t record it. It was a brief interaction at the AAI meeting — I didn’t have a camera with me, while he did.

    Hit “record” on your cellphone next time. At least you can get a real transcript then.

  67. 67
    Azuma Hazuki

    Cuttlefish unfortunately beat me to this but here’s my version:


    It’s a summery night on the Blogosphere
    The regular posters log in
    And the sight ‘fore their eyes
    Is to no one’s surprise:
    It’s Banana Man, lying, again

    *harmonica*

    Now Ray’s a Creationist demagogue
    Who can’t tell his left from his right
    And he’s channelling Paley
    Who’s sane but just barely
    In hopes that we’ll all see the light

    Lie, lie, tell a lie
    Lie, tell a lie, it’s all lies

    Sing us a song, you’re the Banana Man!
    Sing us a song, toni~ght
    For we’re all in the mood for a fallacy
    And you’ve got us laughing, all right!

    *harmonica*

    “Now bananas were made by Intelligence!
    And they fit, oh so well, in the hand!
    Oh they’re yellow and sweet,
    And delicious to eat,
    Yet you heathens just won’t understand!”

    Lie, lie, tell a lie
    Lie, tell a lie, it’s all lies

    Oh Ray doesn’t care about redshifts
    Or radioactive decay
    No, the Lord made the world
    And the cosmos unfurled
    In a week made of literal days!

    “It’s a lonely long road for Creationists
    It’s a difficult message to sell
    But just wait for The End
    We’ll see who’s laughing then
    At you Darwinists, burning in hell!”

    *piano*

    He took on PZ in a video
    Which really is barely a fight
    But he’ll edit unfairly
    ‘Cause he couldn’t win squarely
    And overall isn’t too bright

    Sing us a song, you’re the Banana Man!
    Sing us a song, toni~ght
    For we’re all in the mood for a fallacy
    And you’ve got us laughing, all right!

    Lie, lie, tell a lie
    Lie, tell a lie, it’s all lies

  68. 68
    crocodoc

    PZ is some kind of rock star and if I’d see him talking to Ray I would immediatly pull out my phone and record it . If someone here did and reads this – could you make it public, please?

  69. 69
    Nick Gotts

    David Harley@39,

    I do wish that those Christians who are evolutionary biologists would find some way to make their opposition to Creationism very public.

    Some do, as in fact you note later. But their attempts to reconcile Christianity with the facts of evolution by natural selection are pitiful to behold. Certainly, acceptance of the science linked to evolution and an old earth and universe is logically compatible with some forms of God-belief; but building a coherent world-view that includes both that science, and any form of Christianity that is more than mouthing the words, is a forlorn endeavour. If you’re a loving creator intimately concerned with human affairs, as per standard Christianity both popular and theological, why the fuck would you create us via a process that looks completely unintentional, took 13.82 billion years (latest estimate from the Planck data), and involved a vast amount of inefficiency, suffering and waste?

    The overwhelming majority of Christians in developed countries have no problem reconciling a belief in God with a belief in evolution (and anthropogenic climate change, for that matter). It is the US where this unfortunate connection has been made, thanks to a relatively small number of vociferous fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.

    The USA is much the most religious rich country generally, in terms of belief, membership and practice. It also has a huge religious business sector with no parallel in Europe (although some in Eastern Asia I believe), and a far more prominent place in the mass media than elsewhere. That “relatively small number of vociferous fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.” would have failed completely without those factors. Look deeper into material causes.

    They have been aided in this by those unbelievers who have persistently turned the argument for evolution into an argument against religion.

    I don’t believe you have the faintest scintilla of evidence for this; if you do, please produce it. The proportion of creationists who would ever listen to an atheist arguing that evolution provides arguments against religion must surely be minute. And if not a single atheist ever made such a claim, it would in no way influence creationist preachers to stop saying evolution is atheistic – because they use this line primarily to attack non-fundamentalists (and in doing so, sometimes pinpoint serious problems in the non-fundamentalist case).

    In fact, even if you were right, at least with regard to the public presentation of beliefs in a (still, relatively) free society I agree with whoever first said (I can’t trace the source) that while “honesty is the best policy” may be dubious, “honesty is better than policy” is not. If atheists (or anyone else) discussing these issues in public forums believe the facts of evolution, as established empirically, yield arguments against religion, they should say so. If they believe they don’t, they should say that. It’s insulting and condescending to the audience, and to religious believers as much as anyone, to do otherwise.

    The strength of support for Creationism is destroying liberal secular America, and its limited welfare system.

    Really, this is incredibly naive. Creationism is primarily an ideological weapon being wielded by the far right factions that have gained control of the Republican Party – and one of their core aims is to destroy the welfare system. Like homophobia, racism, and the rest of the religious right agenda, creationism serves the function of persuading people to vote against their own socio-economic interests; and it also allows anti-elite sentiments to be directed toward “liberals”, away from the mega-rich and big corporations. Its growing prominence in politics is just one facet of the far right assault on the post-WWII socio-political settlement, and it’s the strength of those far right forces that is the danger; they* even have an alternative, “libertarian” ideology for those dupes whom a theocratic one doesn’t suit.

    If you are really interested in defending the welfare system, assuring creationists that evolution and Christianity are compatible is a weirdly indirect way to go about it. Why not direct your “outreach” to creationists, and those potentially vulnerable to creationist lies, to areas such as, oh, defending the welfare system for example, or union rights: you’ll find some who already agree with you, and many who will be finding themselves directly targeted by welfare or wage cuts, while their lying leaders side with the 1%. Atheists getting stuck in on the side of the disadvantaged might also – in addition to being the right thing to do – be good pro-atheist PR (of course, I don’t mean you should proselytise for atheism, but I understand that in the USA “What church do you attend?” usually comes up fairly early in a budding friendship).

    *I don’t mean there’s been a conscious conspiracy to create these two ideologies; rather, those whose interest in the far right programme is primarily economic have seen how useful these ideologies can be to them.

  70. 70
    kacyray

    Perhaps slightly inaccurate phrasing provides the Ray Comforts of the world the ambiguous-language wiggle-room they need in order to keep the lies coming.

    Consider this – what if scientists were to stop saying that animals evolve? Because, let’s face it, no single animal evolves. Animals themselves do not evolve. Rather, it is their genetic data – the allele frequencies – that evolve.

    Once your genetic code is established, it is permanent. So it’s true, a fish will always be a fish. But that fish’s genetic data can and will mutate, given enough time.

    If this were clarified in the dialogue, creationists would find themselves shifting in their seats, because no longer would they be able to point out (accurately) that fish are still fish. It would become a moot point, because no one would be claiming otherwise.

    Moreover, they wouldn’t be able to shift their tactics by claiming that “allele frequencies are still allele frequencies”, because changes in allele frequencies over successive generations are observable. Their pointless argument would lose its last vestiges of credibility.

    By keeping focus on the fact that it is genetic data that evolves, not actual organisms, this bit of word trickery can be effectively countered.

  71. 71
    richardh

    Nailed (as usual!) by Jesus and Mo.
    Kaboom! Pow! Lights out! Party’s over!

  72. 72
    madphd

    His denials are so silly. Its like looking at a plant and saying, no that never came from a seed. It’s just a fully formed plant. That is all I see here and now, so that is all it ever was or ever will be.

  73. 73
    unrman

    I wonder what everyone here, especially PZ Myers, would say about Ray’s response to this original post.
    http://www.onthebox.us/2013/06/selectively-editing-pz-myers.html.

    I’d hope all the claims about Ray’s editing are not simply an attempt to discredit his work with no basis of proof. The documentary hasn’t even come out yet. Dr. Myers can address any misrepresentations once it comes out.

    Also, if Dr. Myers would grace me with a personal response, I have a direct question that I hope he would take seriously. He says in his original post that Ray ‘denied’ all the evidence presented. Bacteria is still bacteria, fish are still fish, etc. I’ve seen him use this train of thought before. As dumb as this question sounds, please explain how is his response a denial? Why is it a bad one?

  74. 74
    John Morales

    unrman:

    I wonder what everyone here, especially PZ Myers, would say about Ray’s response to this original post.

    Meh, is what I say.

    I’d hope all the claims about Ray’s editing are not simply an attempt to discredit his work with no basis of proof.

    You would, would you?

    (But you don’t, else you’d not claim you would, but rather that you do)

    The documentary hasn’t even come out yet. Dr. Myers can address any misrepresentations once it comes out.

    I refer you to my #51; the promo has “come out”, and that suffices.

    (Unless the promo misrepresents the docco! ;) )

    Also, if Dr. Myers would grace me with a personal response, I have a direct question that I hope he would take seriously.

    So, if Dr. Myers wouldn’t grace you with a personal response, you wouldn’t have a direct question that you hope he would take seriously?

    Bacteria is still bacteria, fish are still fish, etc. I’ve seen him use this train of thought before. As dumb as this question sounds, please explain how is his response a denial? Why is it a bad one?

    It’s a non sequitur, since evolutionary theory doesn’t claim that bacteria aren’t bacteria or that fish aren’t fish.

  75. 75
    Menyambal

    unrman, the short answer to your question about bacteria still being bacteria is that nobody ever said bacteria were going to change into anything else. Except Ray—-he’s saying evolutionists say that, but they never did/do.

    A critter that evolves is still the same critter, generally speaking, he’s just a little different. Like, your freaky little miniature dachshund is still a dachshund, right? And a dachshund is still a hound, and a hound is still a dog. Those are all breeds and types. Nobody is claiming you can breed a dog that isn’t a dog anymore. But all the dog breeds came from a common ancestor, and, if you scale things up and longer in time, that’s undeniably evolution. There just isn’t a little clicky step where you can say, “That’s now evolution, but it wasn’t before.”

    Dogs are, technically, still wolves. But we don’t call them that, so there’s a response to Ray,. We have evolved some wolves to where they are not wolves anymore. Okay? All settled?

    Look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species and try to work your way through links from there.

    By the way, the domestic dog is a subspecies of the gray wolf, which makes them a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora, which is part of Mammalia. So you can breed the living crap out of your dogs, but they are always going to be mammals. So yeah, Ray is right there—-you just changed some mammals, but they are still mammals, but as dogs, they are now Unman’s Unusuals, which are still Miniature Dachshunds. And, believe it or not, still wolves.

    We’ve just split the terms down further and further to match the way evolution has split groups of animals into finer and finer divisions. That we can recognize the divisions and the greater groups, is evidence for evolution. That critters still resemble their parents is part of evolution.

    If Ray’s god was in charge, a mother giving birth could pop out anything at all. Your kid wants a puppy for Christmas? Mommy will give birth to one, and a pony for Sis. And there wouldn’t even be recognizable groups of animals, just random things wandering around. Junior wants something with fins, fangs, fur, five feet, feathers, feelings and fellatio skills? The gods could make one.

    Ray is being a dinglefritz. I don’t know if he’s lying, or is just stupid, but I’d not trust my soul to that man’s keeping.

  76. 76
    anchor

    That is why one must never accept any invitation to be interviewed by an known abject scoundrel.

  77. 77
    anchor

    …”A” known abject scoundrel.

    And never ever accept an invitation to be interviewed by a scoundrel described as “abject”.

  78. 78
    penasquito

    Cousin of Bananas is the name of my new band.

  79. 79
    Anri

    Also, if Dr. Myers would grace me with a personal response, I have a direct question that I hope he would take seriously. He says in his original post that Ray ‘denied’ all the evidence presented. Bacteria is still bacteria, fish are still fish, etc. I’ve seen him use this train of thought before. As dumb as this question sounds, please explain how is his response a denial? Why is it a bad one?

    Well, I’m certainly not the person you asked for an answer from, but imma answer anyway, as best I can.

    The overall reason thinking like Ray is showing in his response is that ‘fish’ and ‘bacteria’ are just convenient labels we have slapped on living things around us to make talking about them easier. There is no ‘essence of fish’ found in ‘fish’ and nowhere else. This is much easier to understand when you start taking a look at the borders between these groups. Once you do that, you swiftly discover that determining if something is ‘fish’ fundamentally boils down to just how you define ‘fish’.

    For example: are birds dinosaurs?
    My understanding is that, in terms of evolutionary thought, there’s nothing about a bird to differentiate it from (other) dinosaurs. But in typical usage, ‘dinosaur’ comes with the caveat that it refers to creatures that became extinct at or before the K-T barrier. (If I’m wrong in this, please correct.)
    So, the answer to ‘are birds dinosaurs’ varies: yes strictly speaking they are, but not if you assume ‘dinosaur’ refers only to extinct species.

    This a prioi assumption that animals by definition fall into different ‘kinds’ is convenient from a Biblical perspective, but is simply not backed up by the science. Ray’s response is a poor one because it does not reflect our best understanding of the way animal development actually works. Like many ‘common-sense’ quippy gotcha-type pat answers, it ignores reality.

  80. 80
    Owlmirror

    But in typical usage, ‘dinosaur’ comes with the caveat that it refers to creatures that became extinct at or before the K-T barrier.

    If you go to http://stratigraphy.org and examine the chart there, you will note that the era that spans the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods is called the Mesozoic. So a convenient way that zoologists use to emphasize that they’re referring to dinosaurs of those periods is to use the phrase “Mesozoic dinosaurs”.

    If the question arises of whether humans lived “in the time of the dinosaurs”, you can be specific and say that humans had not yet evolved during the time of the Mesozoic dinosaurs.

    (Of course, there were birds around during the Mesozoic as well, so a zoologist might also use the specific term “non-avian dinosaur”.)

  81. 81
    David Marjanović

    The terms “Mesozoic dinosaurs” and “non-avian dinosaurs” are both in use, and not synonymous: the former includes all Mesozoic birds.

    And a dachshund is still a hound, and a hound is still a dog.

    The German word Hund just means “dog”. AFAIK, the English hound has taken on a more specialized meaning?

    (BTW, nobody says Dachshund in German anymore. It’s become shortened to Dackel.)

  82. 82
    Anri

    Owlmirror:

    Coolness! Thanks!
    Learning neat things like this is one of the reasons I hang around here.

    That and all the lesbians pleasuring themselves with Bibles.

  83. 83
    Sandr Feil

    @@@@@@@@

    IF PZ does NOT sue Mr. Comfort for slander and/or defamation and/or libel, than PZ is the one who is full of s*** … let’s see this go to court and see if Mr. Comfort is being dishonest or if PZ is the one who is dishonestly slandering Mr. Comfort to cover up comments he made that he wishes were never recorded.

    It’s easy for people to sling mud on the internet … let’s see this settled in a court-room!

    PZ, file slander/libel/defamation charges against Mr. Comfort and I imagine he will file counter-suit against you for the same … and let’s see what a judge decides after viewing the entire unedited video!

    I have no skin in this game, I’d just like to know the truth … I KNOW for a FACT that many scientists AND atheists AND creationists AND professing Christians lie their butts off ALL THE TIME … both sides can be extremely dishonest in their presentations.

    The thing I find strange is that somehow Jesus Christ of Nazareth gets pulled into this entire mess … that makes no sense to me. If a professing Christians lies, kills, hates, etc, etc, he does so while disobeying and violating the teachings of the one he or she claims to follow. No one should “reject Jesus” or refuse to learn from his teachings simply because some idiot who professes to follow JCN is a hypocrite.

    As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene….No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. –Albert Einstein

    A man (Jesus Christ) who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act. –Mahatma Gandhi

    I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.–H.G. Wells

  84. 84
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    IF PZ does NOT sue Mr. Comfort for slander and/or defamation and/or libel, than PZ is the one who is full of s*** … let’s see this go to court and see if Mr. Comfort is being dishonest or if PZ is the one who is dishonestly slandering Mr. Comfort to cover up comments he made that he wishes were never recorded.

    It’s easy for people to sling mud on the internet … let’s see this settled in a court-room!

    PZ, file slander/libel/defamation charges against Mr. Comfort and I imagine he will file counter-suit against you for the same … and let’s see what a judge decides after viewing the entire unedited video!

    I have no skin in this game, I’d just like to know the truth … I KNOW for a FACT that many scientists AND atheists AND creationists AND professing Christians lie their butts off ALL THE TIME … both sides can be extremely dishonest in their presentations.

    The thing I find strange is that somehow Jesus Christ of Nazareth gets pulled into this entire mess … that makes no sense to me. If a professing Christians lies, kills, hates, etc, etc, he does so while disobeying and violating the teachings of the one he or she claims to follow. No one should “reject Jesus” or refuse to learn from his teachings simply because some idiot who professes to follow JCN is a hypocrite.

    As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene….No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. –Albert Einstein

    A man (Jesus Christ) who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act. –Mahatma Gandhi

    I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.–H.G. Wells

    You’re funny.

  85. 85
    jocke71

    Well one have to understand that noone ever said or prove that one spieces can give birth to another spieves thats NOT evolution. Ive seen alot of this creationism videos and it still baffles me how little thise creationism know about evolution. evolution dont state that monkeys gave birth to humans like creationist think evolution is about and no scientist think its strange becuse it isnt. And the worst part is becuse you cant see “evolution” in the creationists terms se a monkey give birth to man it have never happend and it never ever happen if it would it would disprove the evolution theory. what it says that over time speice change …and that is an observeble fact. and we have the fossil record and the genoma to back the claims up.
    And i have stated this before ..even IF evolution is wrong it wouldnt porve any existence of any supernatural being of any kind.

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