Messing Up Darwin’s Origin

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Please do me a favor. Start collecting those bogus-ized copies of Darwin’s Origin being distributed by Ray Comfort. We’re low on firewood up at the cabin. Oh, and if you see Ray, puke on his shoes for me, OK?

It’s not that I like burning books. But this is not burning books. When Ray Comfort distributes a faked-up copy of The Origin, he’s committing a kind of intellectual violence. Tossing the books into the wood stove is a parry.

If you want to reduce the effects of global warming, you could always bury them in your garden thus sequestering the carbon they are made from.

Here are the details from the National Center for Science Education:

NCSE challenges creationist’s “special” edition of Darwin’s Origin

OAKLAND, CA November 2, 2009

Executive Director Eugenie Scott takes aim at creationist Ray Comfort’s distorted views on evolution in a debate taking place on the U.S. News & World Report site. The debate centers on Comfort’s 54 page introduction to a “special” edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species that will be given away on college campuses across America starting November 19th.

In her post responding to Comfort, “How Creationist ‘Origin’ Distorts Darwin“, Dr. Scott urges students to take the free copy of Origin that Comfort is offering, but to not waste time reading Comfort’s introduction–especially the middle section.

“[It’s] a hopeless mess of long-ago-refuted creationist arguments,” says Dr. Scott, “Teeming with misinformation about the science of evolution, populated by legions of strawmen, and exhibiting what can be charitably described as muddled thinking.”

For example, says Dr. Scott, Comfort’s treatment of the human fossil record is painfully superficial, out of date, and erroneous.

“Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man–one a forgery, the other a misidentification, both rejected by science more than 50 years ago–are trotted out for scorn, as if they somehow negate the remaining huge volume of human fossils,” says Dr. Scott. “There are more specimens of “Ardi” (the newly described Ardipithecus ramidus) than there are of Tyrannosaurus–and any 8-year-old aspiring paleontologist will be delighted to tell you how much we know about the T. rex!”

It’s no surprise that creationists are trying to piggyback on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin, says Dr. Scott. “But I have faith that college students are sharp enough to realize that Comfort’s take on Darwin and evolution is simply bananas.”

And … speaking of bananas, here’s Ray’s banana theory:

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0 thoughts on “Messing Up Darwin’s Origin

  1. Don’t burn them! Send them to me!

    The USN&WR blog polled people “will you read this piece of crap?” (not quite their words)

    My reply:

    I had to vote “yes”, although not for the reasons Comfort might hope.

    I wish to use his mutilated version as a case study; Ray has admitted his ignorance about evolution, and has demonstrated it thoroughly on many occasions, yet he puts out this book. Why? Clearly, not because it is a new take on evolution; Ray is not nearly qualified, by his own admission, to take on that task. Ray’s book is a pure propaganda tool in a losing battle to prop up a bronze-age world view. As such, it has the desperate air of certain inevitable defeat, thinly papered over with bravado and bull. It is the final flurry of frenzied panic in a cornered rat.

    How can anyone be persuaded by his lies? Again, the case study is telling. A population of increasingly irrelevant believers, a fringe group even within religion, is casting about for any semblance of support, like a drowning man clutches even at straws. It doesn’t matter that Ray is not merely wrong but laughably so–what is important is that he has a national audience; he has been allowed to share the stage with Eugenie Scott! He must be important!

    Like 9/11 Truthers, Moon-Walk Denialists, conspiracy theorists of all stripes, even the false *appearance* of evidence is enough to feed their addiction. Quote-mining half a clause from a sentence, ignoring context, clinging to a baseless interpretation in the face of the disconfirming evidence there within the very paragraph from which they ripped their demiquote, they will not admit they are wrong so long as they can cling to a blade of grass and not fall from the face of the earth.

    It is not about the evidence. It is about themselves. They are terrified of being wrong. Scientists *welcome* disconfirming evidence; it’s how we learn! Creationists, if they admitted the truth, would be forced to acknowledge that they have lived a lie, a bald-faced lie, an active and creative lie, and it has taken over their brain. Creationism does not, and cannot, learn from its mistakes. It is a house of cards; one mistake admitted and the whole thing collapses. This is why Comfort repeats his canards again and again, after having been corrected by experts time and again. He has replaced his brain with a mendacious fantasy, and to abandon it would leave him hollow.

    Yes, I want a copy of Comfort’s book. I want dozens, so my students don’t have to pay for them. I promise, Ray, I will assign them to read your screed at the beginning, and we will treat it more seriously than you have.

  2. Please, observe the coconut. It’s structure includes a hard, thick husk that is extremely difficult to penetrate. If the coconut is not properly ripened, its milk contains a laxative that can cause dehydration under the right conditions. Its not a particularly nutritious fruit even when properly ripened. Its design would seem to suggest that it was not built for human consumption. In fact, due to the fact that coconuts falling in from trees are responsible for numerous deaths per year, it would seem to suggest that the coconut was not only not devised to not be consumed by humans, but is in fact God’s wrath poured out upon those unlucky enough to be both wicked and under a palm tree.

  3. Over at Pharyngula, Comfort is quoted (in Ray’s reply to Genie Scott in US News & World Report) as saying the Origin that will actually be distributed will be complete. His intro could line a bird cage or a litter box; I can imagine all sorts of good uses for it.

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