Friday, December 11, 2009

A Brief Moment of Idiocy from Ray Comfort

Much like Allecto, Ray Comfort is a train wreck that I can’t help watching. Unlike her, he produces a steady stream of nonsense, so I don’t really have to wait very long for him to say something absurd and irrational. I’ve found it mostly pointless to post responses on his weblog, since he almost never bothers to address any of the points people make, so I'll contribute to my blog instead of his.

The Religion of Evolution

I was asked recently during an interview if I thought that the Theory of Evolution was a religion. I said that I think it is.
Cue Ray projecting like a movie theatre.

If evolution is responsible for everything that has evolved--everything, then it is worthy of praise. What it did was miraculous, and time is the miracle-method it used. Its prophet was Charles Darwin (the faithful can pay homage to his facial hair in the Natural History Museum, in London), and Richard Dawkins is the sitting pope.
Worthy of praise? No one who accepts the Theory of Evolution thinks it's worthy of “praise”. It’s worthy of recognition for its accuracy, which means that it has earned its place in classrooms. You could call that “praise”, I suppose, but it's not what Ray's talking about.

Charles Darwin was not a prophet; he was an ordinary naturalist who made an observation and happened to publish his discovery before anyone else. He didn’t ask people to believe him on faith, he showed them the evidence he had collected and explained the conclusions he’d drawn from it.

Richard Dawkins is not a religious figure; he’s an advocate for scientific thinking. As far as I can tell, Ray has ever experienced scientific thinking, which might explain his endless misunderstandings of the thought process.

According to his decree, if you disagree with the canon of evolution you are "wicked." So those who don't believe, should therefore be excommunicated from the realm of science.
Dawkins does not make “decrees” that people are wicked for disagreeing with evolution, but he’s not shy about criticizing people who lie about evolution, as many creationists routinely do.

The "Bible" of the Darwinian believer is On the Origin of Species. If you write a mere Introduction that disagrees with its sacred contents, it is tantamount to blasphemy. Be prepared for an inquisition from believers and threats of book burnings.
There is no more a “Bible of Evolution” than there’s a “Bible of Newtonian Physics”. The Origin of Species just describes the theory as Darwin developed it, and evolution theory has changed over time as new information has become available. It’s historically important for being the first published description of the theory, but it's not some kind of unchangeable scripture. If you write an introduction that disagrees with it, that’s your business, but if your introduction is full of misinformation and long-refuted claims about the theory and about science in general, people are going to call you out on it.

So, if you believe in evolution, don’t question dating methods, or the credibility of revered paleontologists, or the learned priestly professors.
Actually, if you believe in evolution, feel free to question any of these things (although you’ll be hard pressed to find a “priestly professor” outside of a theology department), but actually learn what the theory says before you start criticizing it. If you question seriously and actually do the science, you’ll come to the same basic conclusion: the Theory of Evolution accurately describes how the diversity of life on Earth developed from a common origin.

Just believe.
That’s what you do, Ray.

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