Open thread on episode #702: Ray Comfort

Pre-show remarks: I’m going to go ahead and get this post up now, so folks will be able to comment as soon as the show ends today — or heck, even comment live as it’s progressing. Anticipation for this one has been off the chain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it in my 12 off-and-on years of being involved with AETV, and I imagine we’ll easily have the largest UStream viewership we’ve ever had. With about 4½ hours to go at the time I’m writing this, already the chat room is packed. So if you haven’t already done so, run to the store, stock up on popcorn or your preferred snack-of-choice, and get ready. I’ll see you back here for the post-mortem.

By the way, you can stop sending us “Q for Ray” questions now. We’ve gotten literally hundreds of them (though the number of viable questions is significantly lower once we weed out all the banana-related ones), and I have no idea how much of the show will be devoted to viewers’ questions and how much will be straight-up debate between Matt and Russell and Ray. So it’ll go how it goes, gang. I’m sure we’re in for a good time all the same.

Postmortem: Well, how about that, eh?

As you can well imagine, watching this was, for us co-hosts, an endless exercise in screaming frustration that we couldn’t be on. There were so many moments where I could have shut Ray down in an instant on many of his usual arguments, though Matt and Russell did fine work, as I’m sure I don’t need to say. I could probably do a whole blog on the first 10 minutes of the show alone. Suffice it to say that it was all roaringly entertaining, and extremely informative, for those who want to know how a mind (and I use that term advisedly) like Ray’s functions. So many of the arguments Ray hopes to employ against atheists are nothing more than ammo we could easily turn around on him. It’s pitiful that he does not recognize this.

In order to keep this post from reaching Atlas Shrugged length, I’ll concentrate on two PRATT arguments Ray loves to bring up, and which we saw dusted off and put through their paces again today. “Something from Nothing” and “A Painting Requires a Painter”.

That things in nature, including the universe itself, appear to be designed, is intuitive to us, because we are pattern-seeking creatures. But where Christians like Ray go phenomenally wrong is in confusing and conflating order and design. Design, at least as Christians use the term, implies intelligent agency and purpose. Order is entailed by the nature of existence itself. As George Smith points out, to exist at all is to exist as something. But order alone is not evidence of intelligent design. The great irony of Paley’s Watchmaker argument is that it demonstrates this. To deduce that the watch in the desert must be a designed artifact, the observer is reaching that conclusion by comparing the watch to its surroundings. The watch stands out because it is wholly unlike the desert. The Watchmaker argument proves, if nothing else, that deserts are not designed.

Ray lives in a curious alterna-reality in which he claims everything is the product of divine design, which prompts the question of how he knows (other than the Bible told him so), what frame of reference he is using to distinguish design from non-design. I wonder if Ray has ever looked at those grains of sand he keeps bringing up under a microscope, though. When you do, do you know what you see? Something like this:

No two are alike. No two have precisely the same chemical or mineral composition. Ray would, no doubt, insist that God is so awesome that he literally can design each and every individual grain of sand as lovingly as a work of art. That in his omnipotence, God can effortlessly lavish such loving attention on even the smallest thing. And that’s the problem when you argue with someone about their imaginary magical friend. There are no rules in magical thinking.

If sand grains were designed, wouldn’t you expect to see more uniformity? Most designers, after all, prefer to work from schematics and templates, from blueprints and preliminary concepts. The photo above suggests a couple of options for those inclined to think like Ray. 1) The grains of sand are the random product of erosion and other natural processes that determined their shape, mass, composition, color, and all the rest of it. Or 2) they were designed by a God who, for reasons best known to himself, intentionally made them look random. But why? In order to trick us, or just to show off his artistic side, or what?

The problem with positing a God over natural processes in a nutshell: With nature, you’re allowed elegant, simple, and in most cases empirically verifiable explanations for what is observed. With gods, you now have to add a whole new host of arguments and explanations to understand why this magic being would have gone about his business one way as opposed to another way. And not one of these arguments comes with evidence that allows you to test it. It’s all down to that old bugaboo, “faith,” in the end. Gods not only don’t explain things, they pile on more inexplicable, unnecessary nonsense.

To be continued…


  1. Martin says

    He'd most likely agree. Not that penetrating a question, really. It'd be better to catch him out on his myriad deliberate lies and distortions.

  2. says

    Matt and Russell? I bet it's about 3 years since Matt and Russell were on together.Thought it was Jeff this week though. What happened? Was Jeff worried about coming up against someone of Ray Comfort's intellectual prowess?

  3. says

    A-Astrologist: Jeff messaged us that he couldn't make his scheduled show about a week before Ray agreed to call. It's just his bad luck (and my good luck).Petr: Chill out, everything is arranged and in order. I believe Ray when he says he won't back out.

  4. says

    Go Russell! (and Matt too, of course)Looking forward to it, don't think I can catch it live though. It's going to be a great show.

  5. says

    Reading Comfort's blog and I see he is still the same ole weasel. Anyone else notice that the two atheists he claims to have challenged to debates are two atheists that aren't even known for debating? Dawkins rarely debates, if ever, and why the fuck would Bill Maher bring Comfort on his show to debate? The show isn't even presented in that type of format.

  6. says

    careful! if Ray finds out that he's so wanted on the show he might ask for money, since he makes a living out of stuff like this.

  7. says

    Again I can't stress enough that one of the best things you can do is state straight up 'Don't tell me what Dawkins or PZ Myers thinks, don't pretend to mind read and tell me what I think, address what I say and actually think'. And repeat it every time he tries to quote someone else. And also do the 'street version or real version' every time he goes to a science topic.

  8. says

    Ask Ray if he has ever lied (taking a page from his Convert an Atheist routine)? When he says yes, tell him that makes him a liar, so why should we believe anything he says?

  9. says

    So a person with common sense can see design in nature? I always says, 'LOVE and BEAUTY doesn't prove GOD.' Both of these things are christianitie's golden egg along with presense of existence.

  10. says

    Matt and Russell are doing a great job so far. You can tell they're annoyed that Ray is using the same old fallacies. Someone in the chat room remarked that if Ray was an average caller Matt would have hung up on him in the first couple minutes, and I think that might be true.Ray really refuses to be educated.

  11. Hermes says

    There is no stronger evidence of common descent and thus evolution than endogenous retroviruses.—-ERVs (endogenous retroviruses) demonstrate common descent. Once you understand that evidence, there's no valid response to ERVs beyond agreeing that common descent and thus evolution is a fact.Here are some brief video summaries to get you started;* Evolution: Genetic Evidence – Endogenous RetroVirus* Evidence of Common Ancestry: ERVs review of an objection from creationists of ERVs and common descent;* Discovery Institute Responds to the ERV Distribution Challenge

  12. says

    So far the conversation is really interesting and civil. But I still think if it weren't for the persona of Ray he would've been dropped when he brought the 'common sense' argument. Martin was right with the PRATT…

  13. says

    First let me say you are doing a great job with Ray. But I am a little disappointed, I really hoped that he might bring something new to the table, but it's the same old crap. And no doubt he will spin this to make it look as if he had won the debate. Debating a creationist/fundamentalist is truly like playing chess with a pigeon..*sigh*

  14. says

    Is anyone else tired of Ray's "No True Scotsman" fallacy? "You aren't a Christian anymore, so you were never a true Christian!"Please…

  15. says

    It seems like Matt and Russell are a little too eager to respond to new points rather than going back to nail Ray about a point he made earlier. It also seems like they're not eager enough to spell out REALLY CLEARLY that, for example, demanding perfect knowledge from atheists while saying "I'm not infallible, but I know infallibly that God is" is a F***ING DOUBLE STANDARD!Go back to why the universe isn't "creation"! Everything else is ancillary!

  16. says

    If Jeff was on the show, his head would have exploded when Ray said "I don't want you guys to be justly damned for your sins." Hehe.

  17. says

    It was common sense to believe that the sun went around the earth, until we watched other planets and applied LOGIC, specifically noncontradiction, and realized that common sense/intuition is unreliable.I skipped this one live since I got stuck with a lot of work, but damn, I am going to rage real hard judging from these comments.

  18. says

    Oh, I was trying to explain to my mom (also an agnostic atheist) who Ray Comfort is. I told her about the bits of "Lead an atheist to evidence," told her about the crocoduck, and the banana. When I told her about how he described the banana as perfect for a human to hold, to peel, to eat by its curving toward his mouth. My mom responded by saying, "But monkeys eat bananas."I was actually floored by that…I don't know why I didn't think of that!

  19. says

    First time catching the live stream, it was well worth it. Thanks very much you guys!One thing though: your credits are in Comic Sans. What's that about?

  20. says

    Someday I'd like to debate Ray on Fairy Tales. Something like:Q what is a fairy TaleA a story often including talking animals or giants and having a moraland between the origin of the species and the Bible, which is most like that?

  21. sans_Dieu says

    Oh boy.. what a ride. It was perfect how you showed that he only views the world through the lens of the Bible. I wish there was more time to also show why that isn't rational. Damn that 1 hour time slot!I never saw someone tap-dance so fast!Boy, it's half past midnight over here in Germany…

  22. says

    Like Jenny R. it's my first time too catching the live stream. I'm so lucky :)I still find it hard o believe that Ray kept his promise and this whole stuff went on so well and civilized…

  23. says

    Really great work, guys. A lot of people in the chat and a few here were complaining about you letting him get away with previous arguments and change the subject, but I think you made the right choice of actually letting him do his usual Gish gallop tactic of leaping from thing to thing, and at EVERY turn rebutting him and forcing him to change the subject again. I think it was a better call to let him approach this on his own terms and give a rebuttal to dozens of his claims rather than insisting on harping on one, even though it meant some things sliding past. I also appreciated you not rising to his silly baits and being the better men rather than getting worked up about evolution or whatever, like he wanted.Although, I WILL say that if you should've harped on anything it should have been when he said "I don't agree with everything in the Bible." WHAT THE WHAT!

  24. says

    My first live stream, and …what a great experience! You boys were brilliant! Thanks so much for all you do!

  25. Mamba24 says

    Wow that was interesting to watch. Some of the things he said were so nonsensical. Frustrating.

  26. says

    It seems I used "ancillary" incorrectly in my earlier comment. Whoops. I guess what I meant was "Everything else follows from that".I don't think I could point to any one thing Ray said that you forced him to take back. I don't mean to rag on you or claim that I could have done better, because I know how it is to argue with somebody who trusts common sense over logic and evidence. I don't think this show would convince any fence sitters, though.Still, very entertaining. Had me on the edge of my seat.

  27. says

    Excellent show, well done to both of you. I wish Jeff had been there for the parachute nonsense but that was at the tail end anyways and we all know what he would say (but how would Ray handle it?)

  28. sans_Dieu says

    My first time catching it live, too. I hope for a post call discussion next week on the show!@Dorkman:Yeah.. why doesn't he believe everything in the Bible? And what is his method to determine what is fiction (for Father Jacobse: poetry) and what is real?

  29. says

    Some peoples' circular logic loops so large that from their perspective, it appears to be a flat line.

  30. says

    Argument from ignorance, no true Scotsman, and willful ignorance.Great show guys. I'm really missing the hour-and-a-half format right now.

  31. says

    Wow did that ever go by quickly! Great job Matt and Russell, I'm really impressed by how you kept your cool when confronted with Ray's blatant dishonesty and baseless accusations.

  32. says

    Well I stand corrected ^_^ The way ray kept getting corned I was starting to wonder if he'd just get frustrated and leave but to his credit he really stuck in there. Truly a great show (the airplanes analogy cracked me up).

  33. says

    Matt used my favorite counter to the watchmaker canard. Ray argues that the entire beach is made of watches (god made everything) yet it's still obvious which things are "created". It almost makes my head explode that people use that argument and expect you to think it's clever.But most of Ray's "arguments" are much more simple…God told him.

  34. Martin says

    I'm working on my postmortem now and will be adding it to the main post above later tonight, so stay tuned. One of our best, if not the best, AETV episode ever, certainly the most viewed on UStream, and this will probably end up being the longest comment thread here. What a show, eh gang?

  35. says

    I haven't watched the episode yet (though I did see a lot of the chat comments), but I'm going to throw this suggestion out there: someone(s) should get a transcript up on IronChariots and annotate it like the "Way of the Master" episodes.

  36. says

    Awesome episode. I enjoyed every minute. Ray had to resort to "God told me" at every corner. Just – marvelous! Great going guys!

  37. says

    If we wanted to establish a unit of measure of prattiness, we could submit this episode to the Department of Weights and Measures as the standard for 1.0 Ray

  38. says

    I take real offense at the No True Christian fallacy that Ray employed in his arguments on this show. He uses the fact that you currently don't believe to assert that you never really "experienced" God, whatever that means. To me, however, this just brings up a new problem for Ray. Why didn't I "experience" God? I grew up christian, in a good christian home. I prayed for guidance, I searched the scriptures and my soul for God. I begged for the revelation of Christ in my life. I could not have wanted it more than I did at that time. So, why didn't god reveal himself to me? Ray would just say that I did it wrong. But how is that fair? I did it how I was taught by my church. I studied the scriptures and did it how they seemed to say I should do it. I used all of the resources "God's plan" made available to me and to no avail. So, I did the best I could. If God is real then he made me the way I am. He made me incapable of asking for a "relationship" with Him "in the right way." If God is real, He made me to go to Hell.

  39. The Fidgeter says

    Ray, although a seemingly likeable chap, is utterly stubborn. He's made his mind up and that's it. It doesn't matter how much you skelp him on the nose with dinosaur bones or anything, he won't budge :S

  40. says

    @ JAFisher. Some conservative christian's around here would probably say you weren't living the lifestyle god wanted or that you weren't serving/glorifying god in your life so he didn't 'bless' you or make himself known in your life.

  41. says

    I usually save this show for workout entertainment but I couldn't miss seeing this one live. Indeed, its probably one of the most entertaining and, by the same token, mind numbinly frustrating episodes I've seen.I thought Matt's latin analogy was quite brilliant and I'll be sure to use it on my travels. Although, we don't have as many publically outspoken creationists here in Vancouver.

  42. says

    I was stunned that Ray Comfort wasn't a tougher adversary than he turned out to be. Matt Slick was a WAY harder nut to crack. Ray was hardly the level-ending boss I'd expected he'd be. His central position seemed to be nothing more than that he simply preferred to believe the Bible, and so was prepared to ignore anything, but anything, that made that difficult or untenable. I was truly disappointed in the man… except that it made it so magnificent to watch Matt and Russell pants him. The crew member who took (and presumably ate) the banana at the end of the show was the banana icing on the banana cake. :)Matt and Russell, you really ate creationism's banana today. 🙂

  43. says

    @Gods_misled_children. I know that they would probably say that. But I was living a lifestyle God wanted. Sure, I would mess up from time to time, but when I did I would repent and make an effort to not do it again. Ray, himself, admitted that he does the same. That is the point. I put my all into finding "God" and my all wasn't enough. So, if God is real he didn't make me with "enough" of the right stuff.

  44. says

    Ray, although a seemingly likeable chapYou think so? I find his false humility, his smug arrogance and his condescension completely unlikeable. Like Sarah Palin's golly-gee way of speaking, his Kiwi accent provides softening to words and attitudes that are, if you really listen to them, flat out repulsive.

  45. says

    I also loved the latin/ language analogy. If I'd heard it before, I don't remember and it was perfectly appropriate. whenever I approach that question (why doesn't a bird shit a grapefruit) I concentrate on time. Because there seems to be a significant lack of being able to understand the scale of time we are dealing with. Sometimes they will even say something like "in no amount of time" or "you could do that forever", but I never get the sense they grasp just how very long these things take. Even when they talk about huge amounts of time, they want to see it withing their lifetime. How do you "show" someone a process that takes so long. personally I feel books and museums do a pretty good job of it, actually.

  46. The Fidgeter says

    I know what you're saying, Dorkman but nah, can't say I get that with him. He's always going to come on and argue his point no matter what. He'd never back down and admit to being wrong, at least not in a live setting anyway.I should maybe have given a comparison – Bill O'Reilly. Completely unlikeable.

  47. says

    someone(s) should get a transcript up on IronChariots and annotate it like the "Way of the Master" episodes.Yes, this.As for the people who keep bringing up the No True Scotsman stuff, Matt handled it perfectly. Rather than waste time pointing out the fallacy, he steered it back to WHY it's a fallacy to begin with, namely that by Ray's criteria an outside observer has no reliable, objective means of determining who is a "true" Christian (including Ray himself). At first, Ray used the "by their fruits you shall know them" claptrap, but further questioning revealed that true Christians can still "fall into" sin; they just can't willfully sin, whatever any of this nonsense means. 😛

  48. says

    I wish the AE would debate with more 'level headed' conservative christian's on the show instead of always focusing on the nut job fundamentalist's..although it's entertainment. More level headed examples might be the Delilah radio show host or Dr Laura Schlessinger are a couple examples off the top of my head. The AE just doesn't pertain much to the conservative christian population I don't think. But, many conservatives refuse to debate because their god is a 'personal god' or so they tell me. Ray Comfort is an embarassment that the conservative christian's tend to ignore/feel indifference as not one of their own.However, Ray Comfort is another notch in the AE belt and even if Ray called back I bet it would be the same routine so no biggie if he doesn't.

  49. says

    That really was an insanely great episode. Recently, I've been mostly looking forward to non-prophets, since AE has been a little lacklustre, but this one was fantastic.I used to be of the opinion that Ray was a deliberate manipulator. That his coming across as something of a simpleton was an affectation to appeal to Christians, and that everything he did was very much calculated to shift product. However, hitting you with the "evolutionary biologist admits we have souls" line really challenged me in that belief. He sincerely seemed to believe people would find that impressive, rather than a stupid rhetorical trick.So now I'm divided on whether he's a total charlatan selling a snake oil insta-evangelism program that no one in their right minds could believe works to people who are guaranteed not to be in their right minds, or whether he genuinely believes the idiocies he advocates. I suppose he could be calculatedly trying to drive me crazy with speculation….

  50. says

    Ray is so entrenched in his delusional christian world-view that he both believes the stuff he spews and he speaks to impress his evangelical followers, even to the point of manipulation.When he admitted that he looks to his own personal subjective sense of belief in creation, I knew the dialog was futile. However, the Latin language analogy was quite interesting. It's also interesting how while his belief in God and the certainty of his own salvation is subjective for him, he has no trouble taking the position that other people's subjective experiences with god are false. What an inconsistent and incoherent way to live your life!

  51. says

    Comfort has said and written that there is no evidence that would ever make him accept evolution because that would make his god a liar. He'll deny evolution until the day he dies, and then, luckily for him, he'll never know how wrong he was. I don't think Christians could handle that.

  52. says

    I don't like where the original post is going with explaining how sand grains are made, and see it as a bit of a Strawman. I think Ray was just rephrasing the old "can't get something from nothing" argument, not saying that sand grains are individually designed.

  53. says

    Yes Ray's point is 'we can't make anything from "nothing" therefore god'I just did a quick google of my email articles and found at least 25 occasions where Ray was given a 'species to species' transition. And that wasn't even an exhaustive search.

  54. says

    To my mind, his "can't create a grain of sand" spiel can be countered with something along the lines of: "So your observation is that even the smartest human can't create something simple like sand, so your conclusion is that there must be something even smarter out there that did that? If intelligence as we see it demonstrably doesn't give rise to these things, surely it would be wise to consider that perhaps a process other than intelligence did."

  55. says

    Was a good show, and the only way to sum it all up is: Rout.He was on the run every 2minutes or so and kept dancing away without even a modicum of trying to defend or even make a cogent claim. Matt and Russel kept hounding him and building up walls wherever he ran.It was Catch Me if you can, except Ray was only avoiding reality, not the police.

  56. Martin says

    Patrick: Let me clarify. I wasn't critiquing a specific argument of Ray's so much as I am pointing out implications of his beliefs that have clearly not occurred to him. Apologists like Ray are extremely simple thinkers. They want to be able just to get to God then declare the matter settled. But positing a God opens up all manner of new questions and new problems, and I was giving examples of that. As Ray does believe the universe and everything in it was designed by his God, and yet doesn't see the obvious problems presented by such things as mere grains of sand to the rationality of that belief, then I think it's a valid point. Anyway, I have more to go…

  57. says

    Great show guys. An hour is nowhere near enough time to figure out how Ray's mind works. The only point I wish you could have had more time to explain to Ray was when he said science keeps changing and used the age of the Earth as the example. It's not random guesses. Science isn't saying the Earth is absolutely 100,000 years old and then saying it's definitely millions and then billions, it says that we have solid evidence that it is AT LEAST X years old, then we find new evidence that shows it is AT LEAST Y years old. I don't know if that would have helped him understand the point or not, but it would have saved me from screaming at the monitor.

  58. says

    You should have pointed out that all sand has a large portion of broken shells, and other calcified materials in its makeup (which also mostly comes from shells). When you look at the amount of sand in the world, you quickly come to the conclusion that it would take much more than 10,000 years to make up that much material.You should also point out that the rocks in the grand canyon are made up of… sandstone. Which comes from… get this… sand. Which was eroded over millions of years.

  59. says

    Why doesn't anyone jump on his case about how damn insulting it is, to everyone, not just atheists, when he says "all you need is a brain that works/common sense." How arrogant do you have to be to think something like that?

  60. says

    I have started typing up a transcript, I posted the first 15 minutes on the Iron Chariots forum. I will type up some more tomorrow, and this seemed like the best place to keep the posts together. Feel free to copy it and use it as you wish.

  61. says

    Seeing it now. I find I have to stop the video every few minutes to cool off. I now reached the part where Comfort boldly decides to trust Matt when he says that Spanish and Italian were both descended from Latin. The man is a fool. How can he display such conviction while remaining ignorant about something like this. This is stuff I asked people around me in Kindergarden! This is stuff I researched for myself (as many others did) by reading a simple encyclopedia or a dictionary. The similarities between indo-europian languages suggest these questions to even the young and uneducated of minds. How can Comfort remain so fortified in his ignorance?

  62. says

    Just finished seeing it. Comfort is a textbook for logical fallacies. Matt and Russel handled him well. Letting the conversation flow was the smart thing to do. Really, Matt and Russel could provably deconstruct his arguments in their sleep.The argument from ignorance seems to be Comfort's real bible. The way he reverently turned to it at every turn and jumped at any glint of "not asserting absolute conviction" with "Aha! So you don't know!", was comical. His devotion to ignorance is astounding, especially when you consider the wealth of knowledge he's showered with every time he publishes his views.The airplane analogy, which he admits to being weak, yet he uses over and over. Didn't he had enough time already to come-up with a proper analogy? "It's like were on a plane, and you're arguing with me how old the plane is while I try to hand you a parachute.". It's like we're in a car and you keep shoving a parachute in my face while I'm trying to drive. Comfort doesn't know how to build an analogy, he should ask Jesus for advice. He was reasonably good with them.

  63. says

    @Martin, I like the sand analogy. God can take the time to create each grain of sand, but he can't make us, his prized possesions, pets, chosen ones, whatever we are viewed as, completely unique. We aren't the only species that uses tools, solves puzzles, has compassion. That was something I thought about as a kid. We're so special, but he didn't do anything to show us what made us different.

  64. says

    For the airplane analogy, it's more like he is telling you he will cut the engines, and won't give you the parachute if you don't agree to kiss his feet forever. He's creating the problem and then offering you the solution. Then you look around and realize, he can't cut the engines, and there was never a 'chute anyways.

  65. says

    @JT "Some peoples' circular logic loops so large that from their perspective, it appears to be a flat line."Sorta like the surface of the earth =PAnyway, the show annoyed me as ray just obfuscated the issues making red herring after red herring until the time conveniently ran out.

  66. says

    My favourite part, hands down, would have to have been when he said he doesn't believe in science, because he doesn't want to take things on faith…

  67. says

    @Brent I just don't get the analogy. The parachute is obviously religious belief. But what is the airplane? Is it the earth? Comfort remarks about "the age of the airplane" imply that's the case. So, the plane is about to crash- the earth is about to be destroyed? And religious belief will allow us to leave the earth?In that case, what does the age of the airplane or the earth has to do with anything? It seems that his whole point is that the age of the earth doesn't interest him as far as his religious belief or his rejection of evolution. I can understand that, but still the Airplane analogy is nonsensical since it focuses on the parachute rather then the irrelevancy of the age question. Does he think that we don't want his parachute because he wont commit to an estimate of the age of the plane? I'm trying to make sense of it, but it seems that it's just a poorly built analogy.

  68. says

    It seemed like his argument for how to "prove" the god was an appeal to common sense…. which is odd, given that so many of us are atheists because of common sense.Common sense says that there's global time, and not different time frames like general relativity shows.Common sense says that satellites should fall back to the Earth.Common sense says that the world is flat.There's plenty about the universe, and how it works, that's anti-intuitive. If I were to spend my entire life inside a room, it would be "common sense" to me that the universe has a ceiling. It's what we're used to (common).If he's going to choose something as a basis for demonstrating his god, he should pick something a little more reliable and a little less subjective than "common sense".

  69. says

    Correction: I wouldn't say that we're atheists due to common sense, as much as it makes sense to us. We have other more justified reasons for disbelieving.

  70. says

    Just listened to the podcast and thoroughly enjoyed it. Matt and Russell did a pretty good job. Glad to see that it all stayed very civil.

  71. says

    מיכאל,Ray is in a catch-22 situation there. If he constructs an analogy that involves anything real, observable and testable, he can't use it as an analogy for the untestable salvation by an invisible guy after death.Basically he'd have to use things that don't exist as more than abstracts, and then the analogy wouldn't convey anything but word salad.His analogies have nothing but the purpose of stoking the fear of death and punishment, which is the exact same sauce tyrants were serving fifty thousand years ago. Calling it "the parachute analogy" doesn't change the recipe. Religious faith comes in when you're stuck in an emotional trap, and preachers try their best to convince you you're totally helpless without their services.

  72. says

    I was just about to go to bed at 11 last night until I saw a post on FB about RC being on TAE. I immediately queued up the show, grabbed a snack and headphones, got comforable, and prepared for a much anticipated hour of entertainment. I was not disappointed. Sure there were times I may have hammered a point more or dropped it sooner, but who the fuck cares. If I had my choice of who I wanted to school Ray, I wouldn't have changed a thing. Nice job guys! Possibly the best show ever! Keep it up. Also, thank you for showing me what critical thinking is and how important it can be.

  73. says

    To everyone saying they would have handled it this way and that way: it's really easy to armchair quarterback this event after the fact, but watching a conversation and being in one are two totally separate experiences. I doubt any of you would actually have been able to do as well as Matt and Russell, to say nothing of doing a better job.

  74. says

    I'll also add that the whole bacteria discussion Ray was deeply confused about.Bacteria are asexual. This is why it's so hard to nail down the definition of "species", because the one they gave cannot work on asexual creatures.It could be that we need a different definition per Kingdom.

  75. says

    I doubt any of you would actually have been able to do as well as Matt and Russell, to say nothing of doing a better job.I saw them briefly on the stream before the show officially started, and they seemed quiet and subdued. I can only imagine the pressure they were under.

  76. says

    I only watched about 10 minutes of ths one and I'm a huge fan of AETV. Ray **does not care** about his statement making sense or if he is wrong. He is really dishonest and that makes auguments/discussions with Ray really pointless.

  77. says

    Well, watched the Comfort debate last night and while it was good overall I did come away disappointed in one regard, and this seems to happen in every serious debate with theists in that it was too defensive. It seems like most of the debate gets stuck trying to defend science. He throws out all these claims about "prove evolution" and so on. Then much time is spent offering defenses of evolution. It might be a good defense, but it is still defense. The appearance is that Ray is "winning" because all this time is going toward defending something that is really only of marginal importance to the existence of god while he does nothing but try to poke holes in it. I think with things like evolution, defending every little point isn't important in this context, it only matters that evolution is a 'better' explanation than creation, not that it is perfect and it is important to keep contrasting it with the weaknesses of the creation position to illustrate that whatever faults our position might have the other has them as well (ex nihlo creation scenarios) or that they have even worse faults. In short, don't defend evolution, only defend the fact that it is a superior choice to creationism. Sometimes things get too lost in the weeds and just becomes about defending science and not about existence of god at all.Not trying to be critical, you guys do an awesome job, (I would have been miserable in the same situation for sure) but I think that debates with theists almost always end up looking good for the theist because of stuff like this.

  78. says

    Bacteria are asexual. This is why it's so hard to nail down the definition of "species", because the one they gave cannot work on asexual creatures.I actually kind of let this one slide, since some bacteria at least have organelles that can be used in gene transfer. I do kind of wish someone had called Ray on his statement to the effect that only worms and slugs reproduce asexually. Asexual reproduction is all over the place (with mammals and birds being notable exceptions as far as we know) – fish, insects, and even reptiles all have asexually-reproducing representatives. And on the other hand you have tons of organisms for whom sex determination is not genetic but rather environmental or a function of age or of something else, and there are even things like certain slime molds that effectively have more than two sexes.

  79. says

    Glad to see Ray's bit about "common sense" has already been shot down multiple times above. It is what stuck out the most for me.Overall great show! I hope you will have more shows like this, interviews with believers that is.

  80. says

    From what I've seen, I'd say Ray has a very simple mind:Rule #1: The bible is rightRule #2: Should the bible be wrong, apply rule #1Although I think the hosts did a fairly good job, there wasn't much ground to be made in the first place.

  81. says

    JT said I saw them briefly on the stream before the show officially started, and they seemed quiet and subdued. I can only imagine the pressure they were under. Matt and/or Russell may disagree with me, but I suspect they were not feeling any pressure. All the hosts seem to thrive on this kind of discussion. They are confident in their knowledge and their ability to take on all callers. I would say they were looking forward to RC's call with eager anticipation, with a let's get at it, this is going to be fun attitude.

  82. Afterthought_btw says

    Jeremiah, I know what you mean. The problem is that these apologists seem to think it is either creation or evolution, which is clearly not the case.If evolution were disproved tomorrow, I would still not believe creationism, I would simply say 'I do not know'. I strongly suspect that I am not alone in this view.I'm sure most Creationist and Intelligent Deniers (er, Designers – Freudian slip, but I liked it so left it in ;)) understand this, but refuse to acknowledge it because their entire livelihood is based upon it.

  83. says

    What I can't get over is how Ray tried to equate his position on abortion, which takes away any choice in the matter, with Matt's, that leaves the choice, whether to have an abortion or carry the child to term, up to the woman. How is saying "you can have a car any colour you like" forcing your view on someone, in the same way as saying "you can't have a car any colour but grey because I think any other colour is evil"?

  84. says

    Comfort Ray's go-to argument for the existence of gawd is that he had an experience — something something electric shock. You probed, but found the bottom right there at that 1-centimeter depth. Game over, Comfort Ray. Have a banana. That at least is an actual experience. Not that it would have mattered, really, but I wish you had pursued Comfort Ray's claim that science is useless because theories change over time. He wants to contrast this to the alleged changelessness of gawd, but that's risible on its face. Is there anything that has been subject to more schism, controversy, infighting, and hair-splitting than Christian doctrine over the last, oh, 2000 years? (If so, is that something anything other than a different religion's theology?) And it's not as though they've settled anything to this very day — the claims they were killing each other for 1000 and 500 years ago are still as unsettled as they ever were. Round up 100 living Christians and question them closely and you won't get a consensus on more than a tiny handful of very general propositions.