Evolution vs God

Thanks to this link at Evolution is True (http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/odious-ray-comfort-movie-watch-it-below-to-be-distributed-in-public-schools/) I have been able to watch the much talked about Ray Comfort movie; Evolution vs God. I found the whole thing painful to watch and, having been a creationist for most of my life, I could see the thinking behind most of the questions, which made it all the more agonising. Odious is certainly a good word to describe it.

Elsewhere on the web I have seen the movie described as confrontational. There certainly are some confrontational elements to the questioning, but that doesn’t adequately describe the whole movie.

The movie basically takes the form of a question and answer session, with Comfort asking the same questions of several people and stitching it all together so that it forms a basic narrative. That narrative being, first challenge evolution, then imply a creator, then condemn the person and then offer salvation. It’s a basic evangelical tactic. As is usual for this form of product, there is no way for the viewer to know what was omitted and what the exact questions were that are being answered by the participants; the questioning appears to be a post edit voice over. It is clearly edited together with a specific end result in mind. Not unusual for most movies of this style really.

There are a couple of things that stood out for me.

Kinds

The creationist adherence to the word ‘kinds’ is as meaningless as it is annoying. Biologically, it has no definition and that gives Comfort infinite weasel room. At one point he asks for an observable example of one animal changing. A few examples of speciation are given. PZ Myers gives the best one, which is a fish type in a lake in Africa (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijeb/2012/349485/). The predictable response is ‘but they are still fish’.

Well, of course they’re still freaking fish you moron!

The fish species given in the example have changed to a different fish with different attributes and characteristics and don’t inter mate. Comfort knows this is how Evolution works and is simply pandering to something that requires such a long period of time that it is only possible for us to show the smaller step of a species changing into a different sub-species.

You’re a sinner

He asks many of the responders if they have ever lied or stolen. He then extrapolates that into making those people admit to being liars and thieves. I’d love to know if anyone turned that back on him. Getting people to admit that at some point in their life they did do something insignificantly wrong and then making that out to be a defining characteristic is a low blow tactic. Worse than that it is devious and manipulative, not something I consider fitting for someone who represents an evangelistic organisation.

Defensive Looks

At several points several of the respondents looked like they were in very defensive poses. This tells me that the questioner was taking a line that irritated them and they could see what was happening and were doing their best to keep cool. My respect to them because I found myself getting quite cross with the directions and daft logic leaps that were being displayed.

Summary

I am actually quite shocked by this movie. It is a despicable example of manipulation. I was going to say it also displays poor understanding of Evolution, but I think Comfort is more intelligent than that, I think he understand it better than he shows. He understands it well enough to frame his questions from a specific position that he knows will not give a good enough answer to satisfy his requirements and he uses that knowledge to build a straw man for easy bashing.

I have seen Ken Ham praising Comfort and this movie and frankly, having watched it, both have sunk in my estimation. It does not show the supporting Christians in a loving light.

If you must watch the movie, don’t have a drink nearby, you will end up spraying it out. Also do not watch it just before going to bed, you’ll be tossing and turning for hours trying to get the stupid out of your head.

 

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8 thoughts on “Evolution vs God

  1. Limey wrote: “you’ll be tossing and turning for hours trying to get the stupid out of your head.”

    Speaking of manipulation………name calling and implying that someone is unintelligent if they dont agree with you is a very basic method of emotional manipulation. And it is a method that atheists use constantly.

    My conversations with atheists usually end with them telling me one of more of the following

    You guys are stupid
    You guys are evil
    You guys are crazy
    You guys are lying

    Yeah, when all else fails, (and for atheists it usually fails sooner rather than later), they reach for the insults, the ad homs, the basic tools of emotional manipulation.

  2. well not really you didnt. You said it was a display of ‘poor understanding’ and Comfort was ‘more’ intelligent ‘than that’.

    So you said that, relative to ‘poor understanding’ he was ‘more intelligent’.

    That really doesnt equate to “Ray Comfort is an intelligent person” since you only compared him to someone of ‘poor understanding’ and rated him better, without saying how much better.

    Its still basically an ad hom attack against his intelligence, you must admit.

    See, what I’ve noticed is that atheists greatly desire to be considered intelligent. Its pretty much their idea of salvation or Nirvana to consider themselves intellectually superior to everyone else.

    So what they do is they constantly (and I do mean constantly) put down others with whom they disagree by attacking their intelligence. Its like calling them a heathen, to use a Christian metaphor.

    Its a manipulation technique designed to anger or upset the subject of their attack. The goal is to put him in a frame of mind to agree to anything in order to be considered intelligent by the attackers.

    Its the way they keep the slaves on the plantation so to speak, by frightening them with the label of ‘stupid’ or ‘ignorant’ etc

    • Tim,

      You’ve taken my words literally and not allowed for the nuances and stock phrases of the English language. As a result, in your interpretation above, you’ve put words into my mouth that I didn’t explicitly say or mean.

      As for constantly putting others down, that is not true, but it is oft repeated. I fell for it too and now that I’m on the other side of the fence I can see how wrong I was. If you’re going to engage in constructive discussion one thing you will need to do is stop interpreting everything that is said as if it were an insult to faith and challenge yourself to critically examine the claims of creationism (and Christianity as a whole) in the same way that other do. It is then that you’ll realise that what is being said is an honest comment as opposed to yet another insult fest.

  3. All right, so lets hear you say it plainly. Is Ray Comfort an intelligent person?

    Lets take it a step further. 3/4 of US doctors believe in God. Are they intelligent people?

    Is there anyone you consider ‘unintelligent’ because of their faith?

    I discussed how calling someone ‘unintelligent’ or implying the same is emotional manipulation, in the same category with the emotional manipulation you objected to in the movie. Do you agree?

    Believe me, I do examine creationism and Christianity. (But I do it without the presuppositions that others have, so I dont necessarily reach the same conclusion.) I dont always agree with what other creationists or other Christians say. And I surprise a lot of materialists by agreeing that science is (and should be) limited to the study of natural phenomena and processes only.

    • First your Doctors claim. A quick web search revealed this 2005 study http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8318894/ns/health-health_care/t/survey-most-doctors-believe-god-afterlife/#.UkVw8YakqVE) that I assume you got your numbers from. I didn’t look for a more recent study so I have no idea if one exists.

      I did find a study that said that more than 60% of Doctors accept Evolution (http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/01/why-do-so-many.html).

      Science isn’t a democracy though, the truth is not decided by the majority so trying to argue for the existence of god (or the truth of evolution for that matter) by quoting that more of X believe therefore it must be true is a variation of what is known as the appeal to authority (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html).

      In that same vein I have no issue at all with the level of intelligence of the likes of Ray Comfort. So yes, I will say it, Ray Comfort is an intelligent man. That doesn’t make him right on everything. Intelligent people throughout history have been wrong on many things.

      I don’t accept the truth of anything based on the level of intelligence of the person who said it or by the number of people who believe it. I accept something based on the evidence that backs up the claim.

      • “the truth is not decided by the majority”

        I didnt say it was. That wasnt the point of citiing the survey at all. I asked if the doctors were unintelligent if they believed in God.

        “I accept something based on the evidence that backs up the claim.”

        There are plenty of things you accept without scientific evidence.

        • I asked if the doctors were unintelligent if they believed in God.

          Of course not.

          There are plenty of things you accept without scientific evidence

          Are you going metaphysical on me?

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