Defender's Guide for Life's Toughest Questions (book)
m (Added References section.)
|Line 269:||Line 269:|
Revision as of 11:47, 12 March 2012
Defender's Guide for Life's Toughest Questions is a book authored by Ray Comfort. The book was published in 2011.
Ray Comfort constructed this book in response to certain objections from non-Christians, skeptics, atheists, secular humanists, and such. Comfort claims that young Christians are leaving their faith because they are unprepared for the science of evolution. Comfort provides his readers with his own brand of illogical apologetic material. The Product Description of this book on Amazon.com reads:
The Internet has given the average skeptic the ability to cut and paste the cream of anti-Christian atheistic arguments, and become an instant Richard Dawkins clone, who can eloquently stump the average believer with seemingly tough questions. However, even the toughest of questions has an answer. This book will place that answer in your hands and confirm to you that the foundation of the Christian faith is as solid as a rock.
As this review will show, the "tough questions" Ray Comfort tries to respond to are not the toughest, but Comfort tries his best regardless. Many times, he does not fully address the whole question, present the full argument, or even provide a valid argument for faith. 
Comfort begins by sharing a common poster used by atheists that lists several important historical figures as atheists. The list includes Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Carl Sagan, and Ernest Hemingway. Comfort tries to quote each person to show that they were not in fact atheists but instead theists; but he has a history of deliberately and willfully quote-mining. The only person on the list he concludes was an atheist is Ernest Hemingway, but tries to paint him as a depressed alcoholic who committed suicide. Comfort then claims outright that atheists are "unthinking" men, then providing a quote from Sir Isaac Newton addressing atheism. In summary, he says atheists are closed, put their faith in erroneous information and harden themselves from God and Christianity while using the Bible to support this claim.
Comfort only addresses the people in the poster, but does not mention other prominent figures from the past and present who are atheist.
Did the above men believe in God? Here are the quotes Comfort provides for each person: Thomas Jefferson - "I have thought religion a concern purely between God and our consciences, for which we are accountable to him, and not to the priests." The truth is Jefferson was not an atheist, he was a Deist. He did however, despise religion,
"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites." -Thomas Jefferson
Albert Einstein (whom Comfort claims was angry that atheists had lied about his religious position) is quoted as saying "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views." Comfort conveniently leaves out the following quotes from Einstein:
"I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being." -Albert Einstein
"Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment - an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections." -Albert Einstein
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." -Albert Einstein
Mark Twain (whom Comfort claims despised religion, but was not an atheist), "None of us can be as great as God, but any of us can be as good." It is difficult to pinpoint Twain's views, since he often shows hints of theism and atheism at times.
Benjamin Franklin (whom Comfort claims loved God for giving him life), "It is that particular wise and good God, who is the author and owner of our system, that I propose the object of my praise and adoration." In one of his youthful essays he professes a sort of polytheistic belief as shown by the following extracts: "I conceive, then, that the Infinite has created many beings or gods vastly superior to man...It may be these created gods are immortals; or it may be that after many ages, they are changed, and others supply their places." Franklin was not an Atheist; he did not deny the existence of a God; he believed in a God; but his God was the humane conception of Deism and not the God of Christianity. His biographer, Parton, says: "He escaped the theology of terror, and became forever incapable of worshiping a jealous, revengeful, and vindictive God" (Life of Franklin, Vol. i., p. 71).
Comfort says that Charles Darwin was disillusioned with Christianity, but was far from being an atheist.
"When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist." -Charles Darwin 
The above quote comes from Darwin in his early life in the 1840's, until 1879 he responded that he had never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God, and that generally "an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind."
President Abraham Lincoln (whom Comfort claims revered God), "While we are grateful to all the brave men and officers for the past few days, we should, above all, be very grateful to Almighty God, who gave us victory." John T. Stuart, Lincoln's first law partner: "He was an avowed and open infidel, and sometimes bordered on Atheism...He went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I ever heard." If Infidelity and Atheism were synonymous terms it would be difficult to maintain that Lincoln, during the last years of his life at least, was an Infidel. But Infidelity and Atheism are not synonymous terms. An Atheist is an Infidel, but an Infidel is not necessarily an Atheist. A Presbyterian is a Christian, but all Christians are not Presbyterians. Christians themselves coined the word Infidel, and they have used it to denote a disbeliever in Christianity.
Finally, Carl Sagan (whom Comfort says met his Maker after dying of cancer), "An agnostic is somebody who does not believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I'm agnostic." Ray says he died an agnostic.
Chapter 1: Humanity: Rights and Suffering
The first question from atheists addresses Comfort's continual use of pointing out Charles Darwin's racism while not admitting that racism and slavery are found in the Bible.
Comfort admits that the Bible does condone slavery and encourages it, but Comfort tries to soften the issue by claiming that usage of the word "slave" in the Bible is not the same as we picture slaves in the American south. "Slave" in the Bible, according to Comfort, means "servant", and the Old testament condemns "man-stealing" (Exodus 21:16). Comfort also admits that the Bible was used to justify slavery, as well as many other atrocities (such as Hitler, genocide, etc.), but points out that this does not shake the message of the Bible.
Let's first address Darwin and his alleged racism. While the views of Darwin are irrelevant to the subject of evolution, it is important to know virtually all Englishmen in Darwin's time viewed blacks as culturally and intellectually inferior to Europeans. Some men of that time (such as Louis Agassiz, a staunch creationist) went so far as to say that they were a different species. Charles Darwin was a product of his time and no doubt viewed non-Europeans as inferior in some aspects, but he was far more liberal than most: He vehemently opposed slavery (Darwin 1913, especially chap. 21), and he contributed to missionary work to better the condition of the native Tierra del Fuegans. He treated people of all races with compassion.
Now, does Comfort's view of the Bible and slavery agree with what the Bible actually says? Many translations of the Bible use the word "servant", "bondservant", or "manservant" instead of "slave" to make the Bible seem less immoral than it really is. While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn't mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock. According to Leviticus, you can purchase and treat slaves like property:
However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)
Remember, Jesus never said a word about abolishing slavery. If Jesus is the perfect moral guide as many Christians proclaim he is, how can he miss something as important as slavery? Instead, Jesus says that disobedient slaves will be punished (Luke 12:47-48). Other parts of the Bible also condone slavery and punishment of slaves. Paul had every opportunity to write in one of his Epistles that human slavery -- the owning of one person as a piece of property by another -- is profoundly evil. His letter to Philemon would have been an ideal opportunity to vilify slavery, but he wrote not one word of criticism.
Comfort mentions Exodus 21:26, but the very next verse says "And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." The reality is the verse 21:26 does not say "do not steal another person", instead it is more like "do not steal a slave that does not belong to you." This same chapter goes into detail about how to beat your slaves, and it forgives those who beat and kill their slaves. If you read the beginning, it allows you to buy one slave, but you must set him free on the seventh year. If you have "given" him a wife and she bears children, then you get to keep the wife and kids. If he refuses to leave his family when his seven years are up, then bore a hole though his ear and keep him forever.
The second comment is rather an anonymous person saying that they are uncomfortable with their own mortality and the mortality of their family, friends and "species." Comfort jumps into this, saying that some people think they will live for a long time, and take refuge in drugs and alcohol. He goes on to say he plans to live a long and healthy life. At the end, Comfort claims that the universe was not an accident and that our conscience tells us that we have sinned against God's "perfect" law. Comfort also calls Hell a reality, but not once even attempts to provide any proof of such a place.
This is not as much of an objection as the other comments. The person sees that their days are numbered, but it does not go any deeper than this. Many would argue that a mortal life is what give us purpose and meaning. It drives us to live life to the fullest. What would be the point of living if you would live for an eternity?
The third comment is a person telling Comfort to stop using his criminal justice analogy, because it is flawed and that this has been pointed out to Comfort numerous times. Comfort claims that this is the first time someone has told him this, and whoever said this made this claim too rashly and without thinking about it. He says there is nothing wrong with a father paying his son's speeding ticket. According to Comfort, this is what God did when he came to earth as a man and sacrificed himself to save us. 
Why not just forgive? God sacrifices himself unto himself to appease himself for the creation he made for the punishment he demanded. Makes perfect sense to Christians but not to infidels!
If this is the first time Comfort has heard criticism of his criminal justice analogy, then it seems he tries to remain closed. However, now he cannot claim ignorance of not hearing it, but what he does not provide in the comment is any type of rebuttal to Ray's analogy.
Is it moral or just to pay for someone else's crimes? Try walking into a court room and convincing a judge to throw you in prison instead of a deadly terrorist.
Fourth question: Do you believe the Holocaust was God's punishment for the Jews? Comfort says he never claimed God used Hitler to commit genocide. Comfort calls himself a Jew and is as guilty as any other Gentile violating God's law. Comfort recalls the history of the Jews' struggle with God. God removed his hand of protection when they sinned, but returned through mercy. Comfort says God brought the Jews their nation in 1948, but they are still surrounded by enemies who wish to eliminate them.
Comfort says that the Nazis believed they were eliminating the "weaker races", which was promoted by Darwin in his book Descent of Man. Darwin never proposed the elimination of any race or specie, nor did the Nazis get any of their ideas from Darwin. The Nazi Party in general rejected Darwinism and supported Christianity. In 1935, Die Bücherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published a list of guidelines of works to reject, including:
Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel). (Die Bücherei 1935, 279)
Incidentally God, according to atheism did not use the holocaust as a punishment because God does not exist. Christians and Jews have the difficult question, why God allowed the holocaust.
The fifth comment talks about how God has the power to stop all the suffering and evil in the world, but chooses not to. Comfort points to Genesis 3 and Romans 5, saying that we all have sinned and that it is our fault the world acts like this. We have not all sinned, children below the age of about seven are innocent but quite often suffer, sometimes severely.
Comfort half-answers the problem of God stopping rapists and murderers, because God sees blasphemers, fornicators, and such as extremely evil and that they can only be stopped through conversion. Comfort says that the commenter is not sincere about stopping evil because the commenter will not start with himself.
This "rebuttle" still ignores the fact that God does not prevent evil and suffering. If God is omniscient, then he presumably already knew beforehand that such evil would exist before Creation, and if God is omnipotent and has free will, then he can prevent a murder from taking place, but chooses not to.
If conversion is the only way to stop such evil, Comfort does not even start with himself. He is a liar and hypocrite, and yet pretends to be a better person by being converted. As pointed out to Ray in a debate with the Rational Response Squad, if all a murderer has to do in order to get into Heaven is to accept Jesus, that provides every evil person with a "get out of Jail Free Card." Hitler accepted Jesus, as did many Popes, the KKK, rapists, liars, racists, and many others. But according to Ray, they are saved as long as they accept Jesus.
The person in the sixth comment asks if anyone could address the Bible's low opinion of women. In the questioner's view, the Bible is more damaging to society than porn. Comfort says that this person does not know their Bible, or at the least gets their information from atheist websites. He tells them to read the book of Ruth and the Book of Esther, both books value women who are obedient handmaidens to men. Comfort also suggests that they read the parts in the New Testament about a sinful woman washing Jesus' feet and Jesus saving an adulteress from being stoned to death by an angry crowd. Next, he encourages them to read the Epistles that tell women to love their husbands. He encourages them to read the Bible and goes on to Stereotype all atheists and claim that in an atheist worldview, women are just sex tools.
Okay, let's read the books of Ruth and Esther. For the record, books containing a title of a female name does not mean it is less sexist. In Ruth 1:14, Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve (Gigitty-giggitty). In Ruth 3, it shares a story of Ruth being instructed on how to seduce Boaz by hiding in his bedroom, possibly getting him drunk and
sleeping with him asking him to marry her, which she does. After all that nice seduction marriage proposal, Ruth tells Boaz that modestly she is his handmaiden. Later on in Ruth 4:10 "Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife" Boaz purchases Ruth to be his wife.
In Esther, King Ahasuerus throws a party and encourages his guests to drink to excess. Then, when they are all drunk, he orders Queen Vashti to show her stuff before him and his guests. She refuses and thus stripped of her royalty as queen. Because of Vashti's disobedience, the king decrees that "all the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both the great and the small" and "that every man should bear rule over his own house." He then demands that all the women in the land come forth to please him and the winner would be queen. The winner is Esther, who later accuses several men and they are quickly hung. She then convinces the king to slaughter all Jew-haters and their families from Egypt to Ethiopia. When all the killing is done, the Jews go off to party (this is the origin of the holiday Purim).
Moving on to the New Testament. The story of Jesus saving an adulterer from being stoned does not appear at all in the original gospel. In fact, it does not appear until several hundred years later, inserted by an unknown author who never met Jesus and thus made up this story. What did Paul have to say about women? "Women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate as the law also says (Genesis 3:16)"
In an atheist worldview? Atheism is not a world view. This has been made clear to Ray, but he refuses to acknowledge this fact just to excuse himself to bash atheism. If atheists viewed women as sex objects, then why do atheists have fewer divorces than Christians?
This person says they do not receive morals from God, who committed many atrocities (such as killing everything in the global flood and murdering his own son) and is thankful that God does not exist. Comfort's first response is to accuse the person of not understanding the Bible. Comfort claims that not all animals were killed; sea-life still lived, the animals on the Ark, and Noah and his family lived. He then addresses God's sacrifice of his own son. Comfort says that Christ was actually God, citing John 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:16. Next, Comfort addresses God's drowning of the Pharaoh's army. Comfort mentions that God warned the Pharaoh ten times, but Comfort does not mention that God hardened the Pharaoh's heart to say no, so God knew and purposely made Pharaoh say no ten times. Finally, Comfort agrees with the commenter, and that God did indeed send fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah because he did not like their behavior.
There is a whole list of atrocities committed by God. Such as 1 Samuel 6 (God kills 5 farmers just for a petty offense of worshiping him wrong, then he smites 50,000 of the other inhabitants who had no involvement) and 1 Samuel 25 (God murders Nabal just for being morally obligated to his workers), see Examples of God personally killing people. The commenter is correct that God has performed many horrible things, and it is good thing that we do not receive morals from the Bible. Here is something Ray does not share about the verses he provided. 1 Timothy is considered by the vast vast majority of critical scholars not to have been written by Paul (along with 2 Timothy and Titus). The description of Jesus in John 1:1 conflicts with the worldview of the earlier gospel authors.
As already confirmed by science, the global flood never happened. The Ark is just a fictional myth. It is impossible to fit every animal onto the Ark, let alone build an Ark to sustain itself against a global flood. All models proposed by creationists have no evidence and have been deeply criticized as vague, no predictive value, and conflicts with physics.
Could the aquatic creatures survive the Flood? No. Even the slightest pollution can cause many freshwater invertebrate species to disappear from streams. Also, aquatic organisms would have more than salinity to worry about, such as the following: Heat, acid, substrate, and pressure.
The person asks what is the big deal with using "foul language". Ray's first response is, "if you are an atheist, you can't say anything is morally "wrong". Basically, an atheist's perspective and stance on morality is based on what society deems moral and immoral. This is absurd.
Ray says that the morality Christians stand on is immovable, like the Ten Commandments written in stone. Comfort says the Commandments talk about murder, envy, pride, fornication, lust, greed, and adultery. Ray Comfort got all of these wrong. The only Commandments in the Old Testament that were written in stone were the ones in Exodus 34, and none of them include or address any of the above. If the Christian morality is immovable, how does Ray explain the thousands of years of Christian cruelty?
Ray says foul language violates God law in Colossians 3:8 "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth". The same chapter says coveting is evil. By this standard, the economy is evil. Further on, Colossians 3:18 says "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord". 3:20 commands "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord". This verse has been often used by abusive parents.
Ray includes a study of volunteers who placed their hands in cold water and repeatably cursed. Ray says with no doubt the swearing included blasphemy, but provides no reference at all.
A well-known question: Why won't God heal amputees? Ray's response is rather dodgy. He asks how does this person know if this has ever happened since Creation or "somewhere else other than his very limited world?" Is Ray suggesting that God heals amputees on other planets? The question is still unanswered, "Why won't God heal amputees here?"
Ray focuses that the person is limited in knowledge, and to make such a claim requires omniscience. Next, he asks the reader to look at their arm and "see" God's creation. Looking at our arms or legs fails to answer why amputated limbs are never restored.
Ray hammers the point you are not an animal, since you have the ability to reason. Unfortunately for Ray we are animals. More specifically, humans are a species of primate, which is a category of mammal, which is a category of vertebrate, which is a category of animal. This was known more than 2000 years ago.
The real challenge to this question, which Ray does not address in full, is why God won't heal amputees when asked. Jesus promised:
- If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. [Matthew 21:21]
- If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. [John 14:14]
- Ask, and it will be given you. [Matthew 7:7]
- Nothing will be impossible to you. [Matthew 17:20]
- Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. [Mark 11:24]
The question, therefore, is simple: Are Jesus' statements in the Bible true or false? By looking at amputees, we can see that something is wrong. Jesus is not telling the truth. God never answers prayers to spontaneously restore lost limbs, despite Jesus' statements in the Bible.
Finally, near the end of this chapter, Ray quickly addresses evolution. He uses an article from TalkOrigins that addresses the definition of evolution. It points out several definitions that do not completely work, since they leave out some of the details. Ray Comfort latches onto this and says that since there is not a clear definition of evolution, it is open for anyone's views and therefore cannot be falsified. What Ray purposely does not show is the same article does include a definition proposed by a scientist is the universal accepted definition of evolution by the scientific community. Ray does briefly mention it, but Ray says the definition is what the particular science believes it to be.
Chapter 2: The Bible: Biblical ad Theological Issues
Chapter 3: Science: Scientific Thought and Evolution
Ray Comfort starts off by informing us that he read Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species, but claims if Darwin was alive today he would be ranked with the top of Disney's imaginative crew, making big bucks writing science fiction in Hollywood. Unfortunately, not only is this just despicable ad hominem originating from Comfort's world of ignorance and religious fantasy, it is very falsely demeaning to one of the greatest minds of the time. Charles Darwin was not "imagining" evidence or observable reality. In fact, his ideas were sprouting all across the academia. Around Darwin's time, the British empire and sea trade expanded globally, and many scientists went on voyages to observe and document nature. The same observations made by Charles Darwin was also seen by many other scientists, most notably Alfred Wallace. The father of biogeography, Alfred Wallace was coming up with his own ideas for the obvious fact of speciation, fossils, biological diversity, and such at the same time as Darwin. His ideas, as well as numerous other scientists, were practically parallel to Darwin's views, notably Wallace also discovered Natural selection but did not use Darwin's term. Darwin is given the credit for being the one to not just document it, but came up with the term natural selection and fabulously presented its case to the whole academia.
Next, Ray Comfort addresses Darwin's "racism" from the book On the Descent of Man.
Ray says that Darwin believed that bears who swam for long periods of time with their mouth open (digesting insects from the water) would eventually turn into whales. Ray also says that Darwin believed that giraffes neck grew so long because they needed to "swish away flies" (no reference given). Finally, Ray says Darwin "wondered" about the baldness of a vulture, and perhaps it was because their rubbed their heads on rotten meat.
Ray says anyone who reads the Origin of Species can read Darwin's "own explanation as to why there is no empirical evidence for his model." That is, no immediate varieties. Ray Comfort compares the fossils to the Mormon Golden Plates, and the only difference is that the Mormons say the plates went missing whereas Darwin say that there should be millions of fossils, but to this day they all remain missing. Ray Comfort does not give a single reference as to when and where Darwin said there should be "millions" of fossils and that not a single fossil has been found.
Ray points out that God is nowhere mentioned in Darwin's books. That is God was never involved in shaping animals as they are. Ray finally says that Tolkien, Arthur C. Clark, and J.K. Rowling do not hold a candle to Charles Darwin, but then goes on to address several "objections and statements" from anonymous supporters of evolution.
The first objection addresses the fact that there are mountains of evidence to support evolution, even though it is not perfect it is better than believing in magic. The anonymous person asks if Ray is afraid to look at the evidence, and welcomes Ray to visit his blog (which is not provided in this book). Ray says a "simple-minded man" once believed Pinocchio was true, and said he had evidence to support it. His evidence: a doll described as that in the story and a photo of a child who looked just like the doll, from that he concluded that the doll came to life. This man (Ray never names him) said that his theory was scientific and anyone who disagreed was being unscientific. Ray links this to atheists - a person who does not believe in God, but accepts life came from non-life and the wild speculation of evolution. Ray says many people are gullible, as evident due to his experience as a magician and tricking people. People believe a whale had legs because of some bump in its side or "some amino-acids means that chickens were once dinosaurs."
Any middle-schooler who passed general science can tell why Ray's Pinocchio argument is fallacious. First of all, Ray does not name who this person was, nor their credentials, backgrounds, etc. Second, simply comparing pictures and drawing up links without any empirical proof is not that different than when Ray looks at the earth and claims that an invisible creator did it.
When Ray says "atheist think..." right there he is already lying. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in god(s), it has nothing to do with views of origins. So why do many people believe life can come from non-life? Perhaps it is because of the evidence supporting abiogenesis.
Ray Comfort claims to have looked at the evidence for evolution and is not afraid to look at the "starter information" because the finish does not exist. Ray concludes the argument is over when God reveals himself to you. What Ray should have said is that he is not afraid to look at poor sources and dismiss them out of hand. He dares not go and address professional biologists, neither for his books or his program Way of the Master. If anyone here is gullible, it is those who are fall prey to magic tricks like Ray Comfort: magic man in the sky done all of it. As for why people believe whales have legs, Ray seriously lacks the anatomical education, but we can see today that certain whales are born with legs. These lost traits are called atavisms - another proof for evolution.
The next anonymous person from the Duke University Medical Center talks about the appendix and that new material has shown that it is useful for storing bacteria. William Parker said it was time to "correct the textbooks" and from this Ray declares that this was an honest move of declaration the theory of evolution is wrong. Ray says for years the appendix was used as evidence for the theory, now it has been shown to serve a critical function and (like a child) Ray suddenly bursts into saying things like: There's no admittance of wrong. They discovered that God made it for a reason...Of course, believers will parrot that there is no need for an apology because science is never "wrong." Ray says that he is not bothered what people believe, so long that it does not conflict with the "truth of Christianity" and "causes them to reject the gospel."
Nowhere in this study does it say that the appendix is not a vestigial, nor that vestigial means useless. It only means it lost its original function, and this study seems to show that it has formed a new function. This is certainly not a declaration that the theory of evolution is wrong, nor would the entire theory rest on one appendix when compared to the vast amounts of evidence from many fields of science.
What Ray is very worried about is not whether something is true or can be clearly demonstrated to be true, it does not matter to Ray. Ray only holds dearly to he presupposition that the Bible is literally true and nothing can conflict with its contents. Ray is not worried about discovering the truth, only as long as it is his truth. Unfortunately for Ray, the evidence overwhelmingly sides with reality: evolution is a fact. Ray will never accept this, because it conflicts with a literal translation of the Bible, which means his faith binds him to live in a world of ignorance.
Third Person and Reply
The next piece deals with an atheist responding to a Christian. The Christian instructs people to put a frog in a blender, blend it, pour the remains on a table, and see if life "hops" out since all the ingredients for life are present. Is Ray seriously suggesting that people carry out this cruelty? The atheist responds that it is dead, and the frog took billions of years to appear on earth, and then the atheist speculates (very clearly speculates) that if the remains were brought to an alien planet, perhaps something would happen.
Ray says the atheist "obviously doesn't know what atheistic evolution believes." Ray describes it as in the beginning there were no remain and no "conditions" for life. There was no water, no sunlight, no air, no DNA, NOTHING. Ray says that atheists believe everything came from nothing, but they respond with "who made God?" Ray does not answer, instead he rather calls them "an unthinking mind" and rationalizes itself because they refuse to accept the eternity of God.
Obviously, Ray does not have the slightest clue what evolution is all about. First of all, evolution is not atheistic. There are hundreds of theistic evolutionist scientists, and the theory of evolution as a whole does not rule out God. It only rules out a literal interpretation of two chapters of the Genesis account. This is the only problem Ray has with evolution, and he will label it whatever he can to deceive others.
So according to Ray, there were no life-forming conditions and elements at the beginning of the earth. Unfortunately, science easily refutes this. The conditions for life have remained constant. Cell theory requires that all living organisms are made of cells, and to have cells you need certain elements. These existed for millions of years on earth before life came to be on this planet. Ray simply made up or deliberately lied that there were no elements on earth. As for the "unthinking mind" person here, it heavily seems to be Ray Comfort.
The fourth anonymous person calls out Ray that he is ignorant regarding the evolution of sex. There exist hermaphrodites and asexuals, but Ray is ignorant in the field and not willing to so much as go to Wikipedia. Ray responds by re-asking the question when did sex evolve, and wonders why he is called names when he does not accept the explanation provided. Ray goes to their "source" and reports it is just verbal sleight-of-hand. The quote is taken straight from Wikipedia,
In most multicellular sexual species, the population consists of two sexes, only one of which is capable of bearing young (with the exception of simultaneous hermaphrodites). In an asexual species, each member of the population is capable of bearing young. This implies that an asexual population has an intrinsic capacity to grow more rapidly each generation. The cost was first described in mathematical terms by John Maynard Smith. He imagined an asexual mutant arising in a sexual population, half of which comprises males that cannot themselves produce offspring. With female-only offspring, the asexual lineage doubles its representation in the population each generation, all else being equal.
Ray responds with this,
My Answer: Wait a minute! Isn't his imaging, he has just pulled a big rabbit out of the hat. He is talking about asexuality and suddenly makes a reference to "males" and "female-only offspring." But there's no explanation as to where he and she came from, or how he and she came, or how long it took for him or her to evolve. Where did she and he come from, and, just a minor point to the evolutionist, why did he and she appear in the 1.4 million of the earth's species?
Ray stops there and does not look any further and declares "There you have it. There is actually no explanation at all, just a supposition that 'evolution did it.' Magic. Male and female suddenly appeared."
So here we have Ray only visiting Wikipedia (a VERY poor source to begin with) and only reading half of a chapter, and then stopping. Without going further, he adds in his own two cents, then draws a conclusion based on his own two cents that his opinions were correct. He repeats his old questions, but again seems to have deliberately skipped the whole article and did not bother to do a two-minute research on Google. It is obvious and not surprising: Ray Comfort is willfully ignorant.
As for the evolution of sex, already there are numerous valid explanations for its origin.
Next, a person calls out Ray for falsely claiming that atheists believe that everything came from nothing while at the same time believe nothing created something. Ray does not comment on his beliefs of how everything came to be, rather he sticks to bashing the "atheist beliefs" and quoting Scripture to call them fools. Next, he quotes Richard Dawkins from his book Ancestors Tales where Dawkins admitted that life "evolved literally from nothing -- it is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to its justice." Ray says that he would be mad, but if the atheists want to stay in the "intellectual" arena they must justify it. Ray does not provide a single explanation, but rather that they all speak in the "language of speculation" (words like probably, perhaps, etc) and ends it by quoting Romans 1:21-22.
Ray clearly demonstrates his one-sided-ness. He seems to have no intent or thought of critically examining himself and his own beliefs. Rather, he seems to have a strong mind that if he makes his opposition look bad, then his position wins by default. Unfortunately, that's not how things work.
Ray does indeed believe something can come from nothing via magic - he admits it himself by claiming that God DID speak things into being (an incantation). As for what an atheist believes, as already noted, atheism is simply the lack of belief in god(s) and has no say on origins. Any atheist can have any thought of how the universe came to be, so Ray creates a straw man here and claims victory when he knocks it down.
The person asks what would Ray accept to reconsider his views of evolution? Ray calls evolution the most unscientific, faith-based, fundamentally brainless idea brought forth by man and the pages of the Origin of Species seem to be written by a man who believed the sun was square, came out at night, and was made of ice. Ray says the only honest thing mentioned was when a friend of Darwin came to him and told him he surrendered his life to a fantasy (no reference provided). While Richard Dawkins mocks Ray Comfort for his banana fallacy, Dawkins believes that bananas are his cousins.
In the end, Ray just puts any word out there to make evolution seem foolish, and there is absolutely no chance whatsoever to convince him that evolution is true and God is not real.
It seems Ray is proud of his ignorance and his lack of ability to comprehend and understand how science works.
The next person (not clearly an atheist, perhaps deist) addresses Ray's letters-to-words analogy and why it fails, while also confessing that the person could not figure out why God did things the way he did. Ray does not attempt to defend his analogy, rather he attacks the person for not believing in Genesis 1 and 2 and not accepting that we live in a fallen world - which Ray says is why the person is not sure why God did things in such a way. Next, Ray changes the argument to argue the anonymous person does not exist is just as absurd as saying God does not exist.
What the person thinks about God and why he did what he did (if he did it at all) is not important. What is more important is if anyone can show that God DID do these certain things. Ray Comfort, nor any creationist, has ever shown or provided a model that points to the Christian god as being the creator of anything.
Finally, Ray's last argument is a straw man. Science already has given us a clear understanding how the universe could have arisen without the need of a God. Based on that, plus the lack of evidence for Ray's God, there is nothing wrong with concluding there is no god.
Basically asking why did God create the appendix? Ray says that for a long time that evolutionists accepted vestigial evidences such as the appendix. He describes them as "anatomy left over through the course of evolution" but does not hint that evolution states that vestigial organs are completely useless. Their function may have diminished or disappeared.
Seems to be a carry over from the previous person asking about the human tailbone and third molers. Ray says that it is not a "tail" but the end of your backbone, and without it you could not sit to go to the bathroom. As for the teeth, Ray says that the claim that the third moler causes damage crowding has not been met under scrutiny and they were given by God to enjoy your food.
What evidence does Ray have that God gave us molers to enjoy our food? None.
The next person explains that atheists do not accept the universe was a "creation" and thus could not be "created" as Ray often argues, but rather it is the result of natural processes. Ray ignores this, and points out that the person is "careful" not to say the universe is eternal, because the person knows it is a scientific impossibility because "all that heat would have been used up." Ray says that atheists believed that everything "formed" itself. Ray hypothetically writes an atheist Old Testament to say that the atheist believes "in the beginning there was nothing, and nothing formed itself into everything" but notes that the person said he/she believed the universe was formed by natural laws. So Ray asks what caused nature?
What heat? Ray is implying the second law of thermodynamics, but in reality it does not say that an eternal universe is impossible.
The person asks if Ray is honestly arguing all the ingredients for life were not present on earth? Ray says absolutely not. But he seems to contradict himself, because when addressing the third person above, he states that there was no air or water. Rather, Ray says here that dirt is dirt - it has no life in it at all.
Ray goes on to quote Scripture to support that God created life and souls, and uses the Bible to preach what happens to your soul after death. Ray also notes that there are several elements in the soil that is also in the human body, therefore when God made the human body from the soil it makes sense that they would share certain elements. And the only evidence Ray provides is just a few Bible verses and speculation based on no evidence. This is why Ray fails to convince people.
Regarding pleas from www.liveScience.com beneath an article titles the "Top 10 Missing Links." A person stress is not religious or a creationist, but wants to see evidence for human evolution via missing links. Wherever the author asks for evidence, it is always biased. Another person explains there are no missing links in the sense he is talking about. Everything is linked, and there is evidence to support it (while providing book references) and there are no "missing" evidences. The only comment from Ray is "What did this person get? 'There are no missing links. Go read a book and study bacteria, plants and insects.'" Ray then concludes "The dilemma is that there are no undisputed species-to-species transitional forms."
Actually, the response to the doubter was very good. The only thing is that Ray flat-out denies that transitional fossils exist, and he does it through his gritted teeth. A decade ago, Kathleen Hunt, a zoologist with the University of Washington, produced a list of a few hundred of the more dramatic transitional species known so far, all of which definitely fit every criteria required of the most restrictive definition. Myriad transitional species have been, and still are being, discovered; so many in fact that lots of biologists and paleontologists now consider that list “innumerable” especially since the tally of definite transitionals keeps growing so fast! Several lineages are now virtually complete, including our own.
Only two sentences: I don't believe in evolution. I simply have confidence in science. Ray talks about the discovery of the fossil Ardi and the scientists dating the soil. Ray says this is like if his gets buried in a sediment 2.6 million years old, and then later discovered, would that make Ray 2.6 million years old? Ray ends it with this "honest atheist" that basically he trusts the word of the geologist and taking his word for it - basically showing the faith the atheist have in scientists.
While people generally do not take their words for it, and through modern technology we can read, evaluate, and analyze the works of scientists. Some of us can make the same observations or do some tests. However, this is material coming from men in certain fields they have trained for many years, but they are always open to scrutiny. In science, scientists are like vultures to their peers, constantly trying to refute their ideas and data. Not once in 150 years has anyone refuted evolution, but more to the point, scientists are not always right. However, even men like Ray Comfort assume their work is correct without ever verifying it or taking a peek at their work before he goes to a hospital and ask for medicine.
As for Ardi, they did date his remains. Dating the soil around him and compared to the data results from the fossil confirms they belong in the same era. So even if Ray was buried in a sediment several million years old, both his remains and surrounding can be tested, and it can clearly show that he does not belong there.
Just an angry rant at Ray and his idiocy regarding science and "homeschool" textbooks. Ray basically defends homeschooled kids and homsechooling for two pages.
The next person makes it clear that atheists do not believe everything came from nothing, it is just Ray simply does not care about being honest. When Ray says that God always existed, people can say the same about the universe. When Ray calls them ridiculous, he is basically ridiculing the same logic used by non-Christians. Ray's first response: "And in doing so, you reveal you don't understand the basics of science. The second law of thermodynamics shows that the universe cannot be eternal because it would have crumbled into dust (in time)." Ray does not address his own beliefs and why he does not call himself ridiculous, rather he bashes the person -calling them a fool as it says in the Bible- and that science is repeatable and the Big Bang is not.
"And in doing so, you reveal you don't understand the basics of science." The ULTIMATE projection. The second law of thermodynamics does not say such a thing, it just says that heat will always move to cold areas. Energy (potential and kinetic) create heat within the universe. If this is only Ray's objection to an eternal universe, he already lost. Ray again reveals here he has no intentions of critically examining and critiquing his own beliefs. This is what separates Ray from honest people - when they are wrong or mistaken, they will admit it. Ray here criticizes people who use the same logic he does, but is blind to see the obvious.
Chapter 4: Philosophy: Beliefs and Worldviews
Chapter 5: Religion: God and Atheism
- ↑ http://www.amazon.com/Defenders-Guide-Lifes-Toughest-Questions/dp/0890516049
- ↑ RationalWiki gets together quite a few of those tough questions that Christians cannot answer without lies half truths and evasions, see Category:Christianity.
- ↑ http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/superstition-christianity-quotation
- ↑ http://atheism.about.com/od/einsteingodreligion/tp/Was-Einstein-an-Atheist-.htm
- ↑ letter to an atheist (1954) as quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side (1982) edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman
- ↑ http://books.google.com/books?id=lBYuCMyaS4MC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=%22When+thus+reflecting+I+feel+compelled+to+look+to+a+First+Cause+having+an+intelligent+mind+in+some+degree+analogous+to+that+of+man;+and+I+deserve+to+be+called+a+Theist.%22&source=bl&ots=syd7WC6kv5&sig=zGY4ASL5QhgF1Y4h1f38zSwR65g&hl=en&ei=0YAITo5CivfSAcLKxcQL&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDcQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22When%20thus%20reflecting%20I%20feel%20compelled%20to%20look%20to%20a%20First%20Cause%20having%20an%20intelligent%20mind%20in%20some%20degree%20analogous%20to%20that%20of%20man%3B%20and%20I%20deserve%20to%20be%20called%20a%20Theist.%22&f=false
- ↑ There is a great deal wrong with a father paying his son's speeding ticket, the son is less likely to learn to avoid dangerous speeding. Similarly Christians too often get into a pattern of repeat sinning and repeatedly asking to be forgiven.
- ↑ http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Debunking_Christians/Page20.htm
- ↑ http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html
- ↑ http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH541.html
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_sexual_reproduction
- ↑ http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB350.html