# Ray Comfort is the last person on the planet who should design an intelligence test

But he did, anyway. It’s THE WORLD’S MOST EYE-OPENING INTELLIGENCE TEST.

Unfortunately, he’s already failed it. His own test!

His answer is wrong for a couple of reasons. One of them is nitpicky: to get the likelihood you’re going to die in a year, using his fallacious assumptions, you’d divide 54 million by 7 billion, to get 0.0077, which is roughly 1/130.

The other is kind of flatly obvious: there is a much greater likelihood that I will die this year, than that your average 20 year old will die. Using an equal probability for all individuals is absurd. The right way to do this is to look up an actuarial life table, and when I do that, even though I’m an old geezer, my probability of dying in this coming year is 0.005185, or 1 in about 192. See? By abandoning the stupidity of Jesus and embracing statistical science, I have just greatly reduced the likelihood of dying!

But even there, the statistics are pointless. The probability that you will die at some time in the future is 1.00 — it is inevitable, and every one of us faces death. Therefore his claim that no more may die is false, and further, there is no evidence to compel us to believe that an ancient Jewish rabbi escaped death, or that believing in that religious myth will save us from our fate.

1. Kevin Kehres says

He’s just a scared little rabbit, isn’t he?

Also, how did he go from “your chance of dying in the next year is 1/130” to “none of us may be here next Christmas”?

Ray Comfort is just afraid of ceasing to exist, the poor guy.

3. Rich Woods says

He’s just a fucking ignoramus, isn’t he?

Sorry, I’m all out of genteel wit today. He’s just too fucking ignorant to recognise his own fucking ignorance.

4. gussnarp says

Also, if we’re nitpicking, the 1/130 odds would not be the odds of “you and I” dying in the next year, only the odds of one of us. Also, cheeses, I seem to need an elementary probability refresher course. Is the odds of “you and I” dying, by his simple method, actually 1/130 * 1/130?

5. frankgturner says

Harmful Gamma “Ray” Un”Comfort”able said in one of his own videos when having evolution explained to him that it is too comlex and he needs simple answers as he is a simple minded guy. So basically he is an idiot by his own admission.
.
I have suggested before that he be injected with a disease then have the cure withheld because the cure is based on evolutionary theory and he does not want to promote the falsity of evolution. If he complained then we point out that by letting him die that we are doing him a favor. If he really believes he should pray for a miracle or use a faith healer(sort of like those faith based parents that let their kid get a basketball size tumor). Of course RC cola has admitted that he takes vaccinations so I think he is just at his maximum capacity for fecal matter. He used to be an exorcist and I think he realized that his current gig made more money than that.

6. Kevin Kehres says

Of course, if I can kill 130 people between now and Christmas, does that mean I get to live?

7. Larry says

You have to consider his target audience. When your knowledge of math is 1+1=3 for special values of jesus and multiplication is just short of black magic, his logic makes perfect sense.

8. hyrax, Social Justice Dual-Class Wizard/Bard says

I want to tell them that if they want to live forever, […]

Sorry Ray, you’ve made a massive incorrect assumption about people who sing carols. For one thing, I have absolutely no desire to live forever, or be reincarnated, or anything like that. I’m not afraid of death. I don’t want to die (period depressive spells notwithstanding), but the concept doesn’t bother me. I’m completely ok with the fact that one day, my consciousness will cease, and shortly thereafter the atoms making up my body will be recycled into the cycle of the universe. I can’t imagine a more beautiful outcome, really.

AND I tend to prefer the explicitly Christian winter songs to the secular ones, the gloomier and more medieval the better. I’ll take “O Come O Come Emmanuel” over that awful “Wonderful Christmastime” song any day. Still an atheist, still not afraid of death.

9. tfkreference says

Maybe only 130 people read his posts.

[/ironic ignorance of math]

Is the odds of “you and I” dying, by his simple method, actually 1/130 * 1/130?

Yes.

In light of that, I’m beginning to doubt if school shootings even really happen. Or 9/11 for that matter.

Comfort failed the intelligence test as soon as his fingers gripped that banana.

11. kosk11348 says

He also avoided really answering the question. For a man posing as a professional apologist, his suggestion to “say nothing” looks pretty lame. If only he held to this principle on all matters of faith.

12. grahamjones says

The 0.005185 in the table is for 57 year old females. Its 0.009095 or 1 in 110 for males.

13. dahduh says

I dunno: as a first order attempt Comfort’s estimate is not bad. Sort of like estimating the volume of an elephant by assuming it is spherical, physicists do that all the time. Where he errs is the non sequitur at the end.

14. drst says

hyrax @ 8

I’ll take “O Come O Come Emmanuel” over that awful “Wonderful Christmastime” song any day.

GAH. Earwormed just from reading the title.

15. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

Why would Ray Comfort subject himself to anything eye-opening? Pinkeye is no joke.

16. twas brillig (stevem) says

Clearly, Comfort is no statistician.
The part of his lame calculation I object to is his assumption, that everyone in the world has an equal chance of death. Never mind sorting by medical care availability, or active attempts at being killed [looking at Syria]. PZ’s actuarial tables are good, for a particular demographic, and are not applicable to the population of the entire world. But math was not his point. He’s just couching his evangelism in mathematics to get his religion words out there. But, but his real point, that Jeebus will give one immortality (if you LOVE him), is patently false. Where are all the immortal Jebus lovers? Show me just one, Ray, and then you’ll have my attention.
— talk about “War on Christmas” –, what about those who Use Christmas to round up the gullibles?
We calls that “exploitation”, Ray. Think about it; exploiter, you.

17. says

@16: Where are all the immortal Jebus lovers?

With Jesus in Heaven, of course. Where Ray can’t actually show them to you, such that you could, like, talk to them and verify the claim. But he totally assures you that they really truly are still “alive”, at least in the sense of being conscious, even if their corpses are a-moulderin’ in the grave. Really — you just gotta have faith.

18. coffeehound says

In other news a mole has just devised an eye chart for a cave fish….film at eleven. Unless you’re a cave fish. Then just listen along……

19. Lofty says

Gosh, cummie does fancy numbers, him sooper genius , me worship ray eye doll.

20. Kevin Kehres says

@17 Eamon Knight

With Jesus in Heaven, of course.

Of course, even that is considered a heresy in most circles.

The bible says nothing about that at all. It says “believe and you shall live”. Pretty simple, really. Early Christians actually believed that they alone of all the people on the earth would live forever while everyone else died in the “end times”. Because it was at its heart an apocalyptic cult and still is. In fact, that’s why there are exhortations for people to go to work in Second Thessalonians 3:10-12 — because everyone was just sitting around waiting for the end to come.

Later on, though, when it became apparent that Christians were pretty much dying at the same rate of everyone else (give or take a lion’s meal or two), the frame shifted. Not to eternal life in heaven though. Oh no. The frame that is the approved version for all of the “mainstream” religions is that the dead will be resurrected from the grave, then judged, and then the righteous will live forever. Look it up. It’s in the Nicene Creed I had to say every Sunday.

The eternal life being offered is being resurrected from the dead and then living eternally here on earth with Jesus as the king. Zombies.

Of course, you’re completely correct that in this modern world, that little bit of theology is considered just plain goofy. So, it’s been re-envisioned to “eternal life in heaven” — whatever the heck that means.

Coherence is not Christianity’s strong suit.

21. frankgturner says

@ Eamon Knight
To quote Nuns on the Run,

Brian Hope: Look Charlie, some con men sell life insurance. The church sells afterlife insurance. It’s brilliant! Everyone thinks you might need it, and no one can prove you don’t.
Charlie McManus: The church isn’t selling anything, Brian.
Brian Hope: Oh! Well, if the church isn’t selling anything how did it get to be so rich? Just remember, wherever there’s a deep human need there’s money to be made.
Charlie McManus: You think so?
Brian Hope: Of course, look at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

22. The idea of eternal life with no sources of new learning sounds hellish to me. When I’m dead, go through my pockets for loose change, and find someone who can make good use of my well-marbled meat. Don’t care what. Science, medicine, long-pig cookout, all the same to me, as I will not be there.

23. peterh says

He even fails in relation to his own chosen comfy* spot: “the one day in the year”? When Comfort and his ilk, sinners or no, engage in such singing on many, many occasions all through the year? At least in my youth it was quite apparent they did, I presume they still do.

*Couldn’t resist. Not sorry. :)

24. gussnarp says

Wait, is “how many people will die in the next year?” supposed to be the intelligence test? I mean, I can’t do that in my head in two seconds. I can do a quick approximation, if I remember how many zeroes there were………

Or is this supposed to be some trick where the eye opening part is really that OMG! Choose Jesus or burn in hell!

I think it’s that last one. That is the worst deepity ever. What utter rubbish. Comfort hasn’t even done well for a treacly preacher, because he never ties it together. No wonder his “ministry” consists of dishonestly editing together ambush videos into proselytization movies. He couldn’t even hack it in a pulpit.

25. gussnarp says

@peterh (#23) It’s that convenient thing where when someone does something they don’t like or that embarrasses them, then they’re No True Christians™ and for purposes of counting to determine whether Christians are a persecuted minority, almost no one is a True Christian™, but when casting aspersions upon the world of nonbelievers, everyone who sings hymns is a Christian. Because obviously, sinners don’t sing hymns ever, and all sinners are atheistsSatanists. Or something like that. I can’t quite warp my brain to fit his “logic”.

26. samgardner says

Comfort also ignores the fact that many will die in infancy, i.e., before they are a year old. Some of those 54 million who will die have not yet been born, meaning they’re not counted in the 7 billion.

Or he just doesn’t care. Honestly, I don’t know why he lead with this whole analysis to begin with if his only point is, “You might be dead in a year.” Why even bother figure out statistics if that’s what he wanted to say?

27. says

Ray Comfort is just afraid of ceasing to exist, the poor guy.

I can sympathize. That can certainly be scary. However, I don’t see how believing in nonsense will change the outcome. At best, he’s banking on just deluding himself long enough that he’ll die before the realization sets in.

28. rthearle says

Ray Comfort is innumerate: the average probability of a person dying in a given year must be higher than 1/130, since people don’t live for 130 years.

29. yubal says

click on comments, ctrl + f -> “banana”

….found a hit in comment 10 //skip

It fits in my hand, you know?

Intelligence is an abillity that allows you to solve a complex problem in a short time. The lack of intelligence does not necessarily make one stupid.

Intelligence is not a skill with a fixed absolute value. Some days you perform better, other days you perform worse. Deal with it.

30. yubal says

and if you are able to solve ONE type of problem really fast it doesn’t imply that you can solve problems of another kind at all.

31. woozy says

Also, how did he go from “your chance of dying in the next year is 1/130″ to “none of us may be here next Christmas”?

I don’t know. How’d he go from “What do I tell people who don’t believe Jesus was born on Dec. 25” to any of this?

32. says

@rthearle
A quick calculation tells me that if there’s a flat 1/130 chance of dying each year, each person has about 36% chance of living 130 years or more. Over 2% of the population should live more than 200 years. One out of every 2,500 people should live to be a thousand years old.

Maybe this is the explanation for those long lifespans mentioned in the bible.

33. woozy says

Ray Comfort is innumerate: the average probability of a person dying in a given year must be higher than 1/130, since people don’t live for 130 years.

That should have been a tip off, shouldn’t it?

It’s weird that he finds that a “sobering thought”. Sobering is “I’m 50 years old so I’ve got only 30 years left to live!” In light of that “My odds of dying this year are only one in 130! I was afraid they were one in *thirty*! Phew” is pretty refreshing.

====
BTW, I think he is using “you and I” colloquially to mean “any one of us individually”. I guess “none of us” may be meant to mean “Individually any one of us” but that seems particularly semantically strained.
Actually, bad math aside, I really don’t understand anything at all about what he is trying to say.

34. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

click on comments, ctrl + f -> “banana”

….found a hit in comment 10 //skip

It fits in my hand, you know?

Intelligence is an abillity that allows you to solve a complex problem in a short time. The lack of intelligence does not necessarily make one stupid.

Intelligence is not a skill with a fixed absolute value. Some days you perform better, other days you perform worse. Deal with it.

What.

35. Intelligent Design test, what?

36. Scott Hanley says

What jumped out at me was “the one day in the year in which sinners sing about Jesus” (ignoring the fact that Christmas carols are sung over at least a month). Either Comfort only sings once a year, or he doesn’t consider church-goers to be sinners. In my evangelical days, we strongly frowned on that kind of hubris.

37. grumpyoldfart says

I can’t find the original post by Ray Comfort.
Used all sorts of search words and still nothing.

38. hexidecima says

so what date was this published on FB? I can’t seem to find it. Could it be that Ray took it down?

39. anbheal says

@37 ScottHanley — yeah, Proverbs 24 is what everyone remembers, about a just man sinning seven times a day, but even if Ray’s of the Christian stripe that steers clear of that Jewish-y Old Testament stuff, Romans 3 is quite clear that all people are sinners. Hence the whole point of the Sacrament of Confession. He would absolutely get kicked out of Sunday School class in most every denomination in the country if he went about saying that he and his pals never sin.

40. futurechemist says

I’m confused by his analysis, since it leads to a nonsensical idea. If on average, every person on Earth has a 1/130 chance of dying each year, than the expected lifespan of a person from birth is 130 years. (in the same way that it’ll take on average 20 rolls of a D20 to roll a 17). So according to him, the average lifespan of all humans is larger than the oldest known person.

(His statistics also predict that my grandparents have an expected 130 years ahead of each of them them, but we don’t even have to go that far to see some absurdities)

41. Menyambal says

Who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, just because the Jeez wasn’t born on December 25th? I mean, what the hell? I can see not celebrating because God forbade Christmas trees and the pilgrims came here to escape Christmas, or a dozen other reasons, but dissing the date is needless pedantry. The Queen has an official birthday and an actual one, for Christ’s sake, as did Geo Wash and A Lincoln, there for a while.

When the heck else are folks going to bake a cake for the sweet baby Jesus? April 16?

Seriously, Ray, you could have denounced the question as straining at a gnat, or even asked the questioner to stop drawing attention to the fact that nobody knows when Jesu was born. (The Bible gives an impossible date range, by the way.) But no, you boost this bullshit and bend it to belittle everybody else.

Fuck the math – Ray is a goober.

yubal, #29

click on comments, ctrl + f -> “banana”

….found a hit in comment 10 //skip

It fits in my hand, you know?

Intelligence is an abillity that allows you to solve a complex problem in a short time. The lack of intelligence does not necessarily make one stupid.

Intelligence is not a skill with a fixed absolute value. Some days you perform better, other days you perform worse. Deal with it.

Yes, that would be my comment 10.

The rest of your post… what…

Well, wait a minute. Are those pre-Rapture or post-Rapture numbers? It’s important.

44. says

Ray has a crazy disconnect, which is that he really believes that Christians don’t sin, or if they do, that they are the only ones who feel bad about it and make up for it. If you point to some heinous criminal that claims to be “saved” Ray will tell you the guy is a liar who puts sugar on his porridge even. To him “sinner” = criminal = non-Christian. I think he converts Christians from Christianity to Christianity which allows him to pretend that all those nice people in church singing carols are somehow not Christian.

45. Well, I’m perfectly happy to state that I’ve never sinned, because I don’t believe in the concept of sin. It is and always has been nothing more or less than a sales technique of the long con that is religion, the equivalent of my convincing someone they have a brand new fatal disease that only I have the cure for, and demanding their unthinking obedience for me to cure them.

Fuck sin, and the con men who propagate it.

46. kaleberg says

Shouldn’t that have been “the odds of you and me dying”? You wouldn’t say “the odds of I dying”, you’d say “the odds of me dying”, at least if you want to try for good grammar. (Granted, according to an OKCupid blog post on surrogate questions to ask in place of more awkward ones, people who don’t care about grammar and punctuation tend to be more religious than those who do. Weird given how many religious sorts are into precise rituals. In case you are wondering, “Do you like the taste of beer?” was a good surrogate question instead of the more relevant, for a dating site, “Would you have sex on a first date?”)

47. anym says

[seize] this moment to tell dying sinners how God in Christ defeated death

I always found this sort of doublethink confusing. Y’know, the bit where that same loving god is claimed to have created death in a fit of pique and condemned a hundred billion people to suffer it?

At least the gnostics tried to make their worldview a little more consistent, even if they were all slaughtered for their troubles.

48. Intaglio says

I find it almost impossible to fathom the depths of inanity in Ray Comfort’s belief. What of the vast majority of humankind who will not be singing about the myth some Christians attach to Christmas? What about the carols that have little or nothing to say about Jesus, such as the Boars Head Carol or Deck the Halls or Ding Dong Merrily on High! or Good King Wenceslas.

As a side note the original words to Deck the Halls come from the Welsh 12th Night carol “Nos Galan” which I find far more pleasing. In translation they read

Oh! how soft my fair one’s bosom,
fal lal lal lal lal lal lal lal la:
Oh! how sweet the grove in blossom,
fal lal lal lal lal lal lal lal la:
Oh! how blessed are the blisses,
[instrumental flourish]
Words of love, and mutual kisses,
fal lal lal lal lal lal lal lal la:

49. birgerjohansson says

ChristineRose:
“Ray has a crazy disconnect, which is that he really believes that Christians don’t sin, or if they do, that they are the only ones who feel bad about it and make up for it.”

But don’t you see, the pagans and nonbelievers are all murderers and cannibals. That is why places like Japan and Sweden look like post-apocalyptic Mad Max hellholes.

50. Menyambal says

But it’s the Christians who are murderers and cannibals. They had to have Jesus killed to get their religion going, and they took over the books of the religious conservatives who killed him – they are murderers. And the highest ritual of their religion is eating bits of what they truly believe to be the body of a man (who isn’t even dead, so kick it up a notch) – they are cannibals.

51. enki23 says

So, given this godly arithmetic, average life expectancy is about 130. I am pleasantly surprised.

52. Kevin Kehres says

With regard to the singing…my current favorite holiday song has zero to do with Jesus.

Fair warning: It’s an ear worm. You’ll never, ever get it out of your head.

53. Kevin Kehres says

@48 anym

same loving god is claimed to have created death in a fit of pique

…and again, another heresy coming from the Ham/Comfort branch.

The bible clearly says that there were two forbidden trees in Eden. Tree 1 was the tree of “Knowledge of Good and Evil”. Tree 2 was the tree of “Eternal Life.”

Dog kicked Adam and Steve out of the garden before they could eat of the tree of eternal life, and therefore “become like us”*.

Ergo: There most definitely was death in Eden. Else, there would be no need to sequester them from that tree.

*The use of “us” indicates that the myth was firmly embedded in the tradition prior to the conception of monotheism by the followers of Yahweh.

54. InquiringLaurence says

I’m being a downer and a nitpicker here, but I think PZ was looking at the wrong numbers. For females at 57, sure, the death rate in the next year is around 1/192. However, the inclusion of a Y chromosome, unfortunately, increases that chance. Professor Myers, assuming nothing else—you have a 1/110 chance of dying in the next year—give or take.

I’ll go mentally kick myself now. That was morbid.

55. chigau (違う) says

maxmaharaja #56