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Jul 23 2013

Ray Comfort confesses

Ray Comfort admits to selectively editing me.

But in “Evolution vs. God” PZ gets to talk as much as or even more than anyone in the entire movie. Of course it was “selectively edited.” That’s what editors do. They remove the mundane and irrelevant and select that which is interesting–and a lot of what he said certainly was interesting. When I do interviews I fully expect to be cut back to that which the producers believe is relevant to their theme. After all, it’s their program.

Yes, exactly! I’ve done a number of interviews for the media, and it’s not surprising when an hour-long conversation is reduced to a few sentences. I expect that, and it’s no surprise.

What they don’t do, unless they are ideological hacks and liars, is chop up the interview to completely misrepresent the point I just explained to them at length. Comfort came to me asking for the evidence for evolution. The way it went is that he would a) ask for evidence, b) I would give him an example (like the research on sticklebacks or bacteria), c) Comfort would raise an irrelevant objection (they’re still fish! They’re still bacteria!), and d) I would explain why his objection was invalid, and how his expectations of the nature of the evidence were wrong. Somehow, though, in the movie (d) always ended up on the cutting room floor, so that he could announce in all of his promotional materials and in the movie itself that I was unable to provide any evidence for evolution.

That last bit is a lie. That’s not what respectable video producers do. An honest presentation of our interview would say that PZ Myers presented evidence for evolution, but in Ray Comfort’s opinion, it was not adequate…not, “all these scientists were unable to present evidence for evolution!”

h2zoom

Oh, well. I have one good result: I got my last affiliate reward from Amazon last week (they’re shutting down the program in Minnesota), and I invested it in an H2 Zoom audio recorder, which I will now pack and carry with me to every event I travel to. Creationists are welcome to ask me questions in the future, and to record them…but I’ll be recording everything they say, too, and it’ll be easier to expose their dishonesty.

I suspect my requests for interviews from creationists will now dry up.

48 comments

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  1. 1
    sbuh

    Potholer54 did a video on interview editing, both ethical and deceptive, and while the cutaway trick and even things like question-swapping were known to me I still learned a bit about how careful audio editing can be made nearly seamless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07NMglQX6gE

    I’d go as far as to say that EVERY interview should make a full transcript available to anyone who wants to read it.

  2. 2
    Olav

    The Zoom H2 is a wise choice. Love that thing. There are probably newer/faster recorders available now, but this is still a very capable device that produces high quality recordings. There are so many uses for a device like this. I also like that it takes standard AA batteries. Curse all electronics that use non-replaceable and/or non-standardised batteries.

  3. 3
    ChristineRose

    a. There’s no evidence he’ll accept.
    b. PZ provided actual evidence.
    c. Ray didn’t accept it.
    d. Profit.

    The actual evidence is what he calls mundane and irrelevant. It’s certainly irrelevant to him and as he’s heard it many times before I can see it feeling mundane.

  4. 4
    phiwilli

    There’s so much selective editing going on that it’s a puzzle to me why interviewees haven’t regularly been making recordings of the whole interview.

  5. 5
    jimsnider67

    It’s already established that creationists will not allow their victims interviewees to independently record the interviews, because they know full well that the intention of the interview is to bamboozle with misleading editing.

  6. 6
    unclefrogy

    I like those digital recorders they really do very good work.the ADC are of high quality and have been used for professional live recordings. the whole device is very small and most have a mike input and a line input so they could be easily hidden in a pocket with only a small mike sticking out some where. Great idea to record your own copy of all interviews
    uncle frogy

  7. 7
    marcoli

    Of course you would be selectively edited to become a foil for their central purpose. That was to be predicted, right?

  8. 8
    robro

    I suspect my requests for interviews from creationists will now dry up.

    I doubt you’re recording them would stop them from recording you and distorting the results. They will assume that most of the people who see their stuff would never see your version. If some of the flock did see your version and raised questions, the folks like Ray would simply dismiss it, much as Ray dismissed your objections to the edits on the last one. There’s no winning with these folks. They are so certain they are right, they could never possibly admit to being wrong.

  9. 9
    kieran

    Considering your experience with these fools I’m surprised you didn’t get something sooner. Also I’ve been making the mistake of looking at Ray’s Facebook page, the level of his debate is “I know you are but what am I” and answer a question no one asked. Are we sure he’s not just a giant Poe bilking money out of idiots for his own benefit?

  10. 10
    bcreason

    My old grade school science teacher turned fundie and started a blog where he denigrates science, atheism, etc. (“Atheism leads to Hitler” sic.)

    He will specifically ask me questions on the blog, then not publish my reply. His excuse is that he’s protecting me from sounding stupid and being embarrassed. Which is strange since I use a pseudonym to log on, so who cares. However it’s okay for him to insult me on the blog, and then claim I’m too afraid to answer his questions. You know, the answers he wont publish to protect me.

    He’s a 70 year old man playing childish games. So I stopped commenting on his blog as it’s pointless. The only time he uses anything from me is to say BCreason said this silly thing and quote half a sentence of mine out of context.

  11. 11
    bushrat

    I came here expecting that Ray Comfort was confessing something juicy, like he was in a secret love triangle with Ken Ham and Kirk Cameron or maybe that he had a vision from god telling him that St Peter really was a rabbit. All I got was the same old, not-a-confession we always get from him.

  12. 12
    bcreason

    I like those digital recorders they really do very good work.

    Even a plain old iPhone does an okay job. I use mine to record meetings. Definitely not Pro quality but good enough to settle questions of who said what.

  13. 13
    gussnarp

    Lying liar lies. Of course every video interview is edited. More important is whether that is done in an ethical manner or not. But even more important is that Ray lied about the entire crux of the content of the interview, and then edited in such a manner as to support his lie. And he knows it. He’s a liar and a cheap con man, but he thinks it’s OK to lie since he’s saving so many people from hell when he converts them and that Jesus’s supposed sacrifice gives him license to be immoral. Converting people and belief in Jesus leading inevitably to salvation trumps “Thou shall not lie” every time. Next up: Christians killing people and feeling justified because somehow they’re serving Jesus, and besides, they’re forgiven. What? You mean that’s already happened? So much for God’s perfect objective morality then.

  14. 14
    jeffcarr

    The camera angle alone was enough to make it obvious what was happening at the start of your interview, and it was no mistake, it was the same angle in every interview.

  15. 15
    anchor

    There isn’t anything mentioned in the Big Ten about lying or cheating or fraud or deception or dishonesty, so I guess those must be perfectly okay.

    And I suppose as long as one is acting as an editor, the stricture against bearing false witness against one’s neighbor may be suspended too.

    With his special talent for editing and rescuing the truth out of people’s actual words, Ray Comfort must be a most excellent Christian.

  16. 16
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    A twitter friend of mine just retweeted a Ray Comfort tweet.

    Giving a piece of pizza to a skeptic can be worth a thousand persuasive words. Besides, it stops his mouth.— Ray Comfort (@RayComfort) July 23, 2013

    Once more, behold the sheer smugness of Bananaman.

  17. 17
    robro

    anchor — “There isn’t anything mentioned in the Big Ten about lying …” Depending on the version of the Bible you are using, #8/#9 of the Big Ten is “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Seems to me this qualifies as being an admonition against lying, and it’s taken that way among Christians that I grew up with. Distorting what PZ said is a form of “false witness.” Needless to say, it’s no surprise they ignore their own rules.

  18. 18
    anchor

    robro, you might try reading a comment all the way through before rushing to comment on it. (Hint: look at the middle paragraph).

  19. 19
    Rich Woods

    @robro #17:

    Depending on the version of the Bible you are using, #8/#9 of the Big Ten is “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

    There are different versions of the Bible? Gods* above, I was convinced by Ray that there was only the one true single unchanging inerrant Word of God!

    * Jahweh and Elohim, apparently. Plus cameo appearances by various others.

  20. 20
    David Marjanović

    I doubt you’re recording them would stop them from recording you and distorting the results. They will assume that most of the people who see their stuff would never see your version.

    PZ can publish his version.

    So I stopped commenting on his blog as it’s pointless.

    Start your own blog, publish your responses there, and shame him for all the world to see.

  21. 21
    smellyoldgit

    PZ, would you call this fucking wankstain a friend?

  22. 22
    David Marjanović

    What… has PZ ever claimed to be Comfort’s friend?

  23. 23
    Sandy Small

    Those are terrific little recorders; I have an H4n which I use constantly for field recording, and a dear friend of mine got an H2 for Christmas last year which impressed the hell out of me. A word of advice though–get a windscreen for it, otherwise pretty much anything you record outdoors is bound to be obscured by wind noise. You can actually make a really excellent one on the cheap with a bit of nylon “fur” fabric (the shaggier the better) and a hot glue gun.

  24. 24
    evilDoug

    Besides, it stops his mouth

    I can express a complete summary of my opinion of that lying gormless shit with my mouth crammed full of pizza. All I require is free use of a particular set of phalanges – preferably the sinister set.

  25. 25
    leper

    While people have been calling Comfort’s editing intentionally dishonest, Hanlon’s razor suggests that the man is so ignorant that he cannot edit the interviews in a way that doesn’t misrepresent whoever he is interviewing.

    For either malice or incompetence, the outcome will likely be the same: misrepresentation.

  26. 26
    anteprepro

    While people have been calling Comfort’s editing intentionally dishonest, Hanlon’s razor suggests that the man is so ignorant that he cannot edit the interviews in a way that doesn’t misrepresent whoever he is interviewing.

    The sheer mountains of evidence of Comfort’s dishonesty, always sustained and easily demonstrated as false, seem to imply that the answer is not simple incompetence. Malicious Incompetence or Incompetent Malice are really the only options left available for him.

  27. 27
    rogerfirth

    The camera angle alone was enough to make it obvious what was happening at the start of your interview, and it was no mistake, it was the same angle in every interview.

    That’s because Comfort always holds the camera down by his crotch when he does his interviews. I think it’s to give him a little protection if his interviewee catches on and gets pissed and kicks him in the nuts.

    Either that, or he he keeps his dick stuck in the back of it.

  28. 28
    Rip Steakface

    Hm… PZ has an iPhone, no? I know that, at the very least, he’s fully invested in the Apple ecosystem, so it’s a fair guess to say he has an iPhone. If so – I’m willing to bet that there’s an audio recording app available for iPhone that he could have used as a stopgap until getting a proper audio recording device like he has now. It would have certainly been handy for the Ray Comfort interview (I initially misspelled his name as “Comfart.” There’s gotta be something we can use there).

  29. 29
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    If Comfort writes a rebuttal to this piece, I am willing to bet money that he will quote it thusly:

    Comfort came to me asking for the evidence for evolution. The way it went is that he would a) ask for evidence, b) I would give him an example (like the research on sticklebacks or bacteria), c) Comfort would raise an irrelevant objection (they’re still fish! They’re still bacteria!), and d) I would explain why his objection was invalid, and how his expectations of the nature of the evidence were wrong. Somehow, though, in the movie (d) always ended up on the cutting room floor, so that he could announce in all of his promotional materials and in the movie itself that I was unable to provide any evidence for evolution.

    That last bit is a lie.

  30. 30
    Akira MacKenzie

    Goodbye Enemy Janine @ 16

    It is unspeakably unwise for “skeptics” to accept pizza, or any other food item, from fundies. It won’t be the act of chewing that stops your mouth, but the cyanide, strychnine, or ricin they slipped into it… in Jesus’ name, of course.

  31. 31
    John Morales

    Akira, ahem.

  32. 32
    Mavaddat

    Incidentally, for PZ, Fazale Rana of the Christian Apologetics organization Reasons to Believe said on his Facebook:

    There is a new video out called “Evolution Vs. God.” I am sure some of you have heard about it. I had a chance to view it a couple of days ago, and I must say stuff like this makes me embarrassed to be a Christian. This link helps explain my embarrassment. It is a blog post written by P.Z. Meyers [sic], one of the evolutionary biologists interviewed for the video. There is not much PZ Meyers [sic] and I would probably agree on. And I am sure that if PZ Meyers [sic] knows who I am, he probably doesn’t like me much or have much respect for me. Still, I would like to apologize to him on behalf of those Christians who find the tactics employed in this video repugnant.

    Here is a screen capture of the post in case it is not accessible by Facebook.

  33. 33
    Brian Connaghan

    Ray asked everyone in the video the same questions. and gave them all the same amount of time on screen. Of course there was going to be some editing. This video is designed to reach out to college and high school students to get them thinking independently from what their teachers tell them.

    There are too many errors in Evolution to fully prove it. I mean do you really think that some ancient life form crawled out of the ocean, became a mammal, and then walked back in to become a whale? Wait, you do. So if you please, can you perhaps give me a list of links that will show me the empirical evidence for this change.

    Thanks.

  34. 34
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    This video is designed to reach out to college and high school students to get them thinking independently from what their teachers tell them.

    In other words, lying propaganda from a delusion fool who thinks the babble is something other than a book of mythology/fiction.

    There are too many errors in Evolution to fully prove it.

    Gee, not one iota of scientific evidence from you. The only way to refute science is with more science. And your babble is a religious book, not a scientific text. So it is meaningless drivel.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    chigau (違う)

    I mean do you really think that some ancient life form crawled out of the ocean, became a mammal, and then walked back in to become a whale?

    No.
    Next question.

  37. 37
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    I mean do you really think that some ancient life form crawled out of the ocean, became a mammal, and then walked back in to become a whale?

    Your rhetoric that the idea is such a ridiculous one, when propped up next to the claim that Goddidit, without attempting to explain the origins of such a god, doesn’t look nearly as ridiculous as you wish it to be. You lose, sir. Good day!

  38. 38
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I mean do you really think that some ancient life form crawled out of the ocean, became a mammal, and then walked back in to become a whale?

    Gee, I don’t believe it, as belief is required without evidence. The evidence is found in places like this, libraries at institutions of higher learning world wide, in the peer reviewed scientific literature. No belief. Scientific conclusion.

    Whereas your belief in your deity is entirely unevidenced, as there is no evidence for any deity that isn’t blatant hand-waving and sophistry.

  39. 39
    anteprepro

    This video is designed to reach out to college and high school students to get them thinking independently from what their teachers tell them.

    Think independently of what your teachers tell you.! Be a rebel, and think what your preacher tells you instead!

    There are too many errors in Evolution to fully prove it. I mean do you really think that some ancient life form crawled out of the ocean, became a mammal, and then walked back in to become a whale?

    I love how creationists are dumbfounded at the idea of a creature moving from water to land, or back again. I mean, surely, it is unheard of! You are either land-living or water-living, never both! Only an utter fool believing in fairy tales would believe otherwise! Wait, what was that? Amphibians? Don’t shout nonsense words at me, I am busy using common sense to disprove science!

  40. 40
    chigau (違う)

    Why are there still monkeys and apes?
    Why are there PYGMIES + DWARFS??

  41. 41
    myeck waters

    Brian Connaghan:

    I mean do you really think that some ancient life form crawled out of the ocean, became a mammal, and then walked back in to become a whale? Wait, you do.

    No, sorry, I’m afraid you have been lied to. Evolution isn’t about one creature becoming a different sort of creature in its lifetime. The changes are mostly tiny, and occur in the small differences in DNA from one generation to the next.
     
    Maybe you wouldn’t be so confused if you’d actually get your information on evolution from actual science books instead of creationists. I highly recommend the book Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin. It’s written for the layman, it’s a fun read full of cool stuff, and Shubin was part of the team that found Tiktaalik, so it covers the fish-to-amphibian transition pretty well.

  42. 42
    alwayscurious

    Brian,
    You must be brimming with proof that evolution doesn’t work. Post some of it. So you have empirical evidence for a system that works better than evolution? Do share! But remember that religious texts aren’t evidence, neither is common sense (and logic only gets applied to presented evidence, not as a substitute for having any in the first place).

    For your reading pleasure:
    http://humanorigins.si.edu/about/bsic/science-religion-evolution-creationism-primer

    Whales, in brief:
    http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-videos/evolution-whales-animation

    Bibliography for whales in general:
    http://paleobiology.si.edu/pdfs/archaeocete_bibliography.pdf

  43. 43
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Is this one a One Hit Wonder or will the creobot return?
    I have popcorn at the ready.

    Brian:
    Can you provide a link to empirical evidence that your god exists, created Earth and created humanity?
    There is another story I heard about creation:

    In the poem Völuspá, a völva tells Odin of numerous events reaching far into the past and future, including his own doom. The Völva describes creation, recounts the birth of Odin by his father Borr and his mother Bestla and how Odin and his brothers formed Midgard from the sea. She further describes the creation of the first human beings – Ask and Embla – by Hœnir, Lóðurr and Odin.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odin

    This account says Odin was instrumental in creating the Earth and humans. How do you know your god was responsible?

  44. 44
    myeck waters

    I checked out Brian’s FB page. He’s a full-tilt anti-evolution culture warrior.

  45. 45
    chigau (違う)

    myeck waters

    I checked out Brian’s FB page. He’s a full-tilt anti-evolution culture warrior.

    Some warrior.
    Jesus died for him and he runs away.
    Talk about adding to Jesus’s wounds.

  46. 46
    Rey Fox

    This video is designed to reach out to college and high school students to get them thinking independently from what their teachers tell them.

    Yeah, it’s bad to learn from people who know what they’re talking about.

  47. 47
    chrisw

    All of you in the documentary should re-shoot your replies to his questions and put together a video that has the actual answers for Youtube!

  48. 48
    cweller1234

    I recently watched this newest abomination of a documentary (if you can call it that), and am shocked at the incredibly pointless motivation for the film. Obviously, we all know that any creationist propaganda that includes credible members of scientific study, is definitely going to butcher any and all interview material to sway the viewer towards their way of thinking.

    Why the four professionals lacked much of any screen time though, is whats really astounding (mind you, I do realize that this would be the point of “validating” Comforts motivation for this media blip). I have to wonder too, how much of their education the students in the film had actually had gone through at that point. Clearly there would be no expertise at an undergraduate level, especially for freshmen students.

    I don’t really need to go on about the clearly evident discrepancies of this film, or PZ Myers thorough explanations cut short for this horrid film. I would love to see all the cut footage, despite its more than lengthy nature, and “boring” content. I would be even more interested in listening to whatever creationist crap comes your way PZ. Good thinking with the audio recorder ;)

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