Professional liar, hatemonger, hypocrite, bigot, tax evader, fraudulent video editor, witch doctor, and all-around ignoramus Raymond Comfort—perhaps best known simply as “the Banana Man”—is lying to children (and scientifically illiterate adults) for money once again. While both atheists and moderately intelligent theists have already laughed off the Banana Man for the joke that he is long ago, I recently found myself in the position of being handed “Evolution Vs. God” by a well-meaning family member. Perhaps a brief examination of this DVD here will prevent others from forking over their hard-earned money to a blatantly dishonest con artist.
The title itself is laughable—a false dichotomy equally as absurd as a DVD titled “Electromagnetism Vs. Zeus” might be. The tagline is “shaking the foundations of faith,” which is of course an obvious attempt to posit the all-too-common assertion that acceptance of evolution requires “faith” and is not based in evidence. Even if true (which it isn’t), this implies that faith is a bad thing. Notably, Ray Comfort ignores the fact that his own Bible consistently and repeatedly teaches that faith is actually a virtue (as per Hebrews 11:6 and 1 Corinthians 13:13).
The format of “Evolution Vs. God” should be familiar to anyone who has previously seen The Way of the Master series. A microphone is shoved in each interviewee’s face, and the interviewer is nowhere to be seen. This is by design, so that Comfort can go back to the editing room and change the question to whatever he feels like. (See “When it’s OK to lie: When you’re lying for Jesus” by Potholer54 for proof of this.)
There are countless other instances of outright manipulation. For example, interviewee PZ Myers writes on his blog: “When you see Ray Comfort and he denies that he is an ape, point out that by his ‘they’re still just X’ argument, he has scapulae and hair follicles and a liver and jaws and an autonomic nervous system just like a chimp, and if he’s going to deny the evolved differences, he’s still just a chimpanzee. He’s still got a spine, just like a fish, so he’s still just a fish. And he’s bilaterally symmetric, just like a worm, so he’s still just a worm.” Myers makes this same argument in “Evolution Vs. God”; however, in the final cut, all that we see is Myers stating, “Human beings are still fish.” There isn’t any indication that Myers is actually using an example to explain why Comfort’s argument is fallacious.
There are countless instances of dishonest editing and outright lies to be found in “Evolution Vs. God,” several of which are chronicled in an article titled “‘Evolution vs. God’ denigrates science using technology that science makes possible” by Tyler Franck, a Christian blogger.
Ray Comfort’s blatant disregard for the truth has prompted many of Ray’s followers—theists and non-theists alike—to request the full, unedited versions of the interviews. At the time of this writing, months after the initial release of “Evolution Vs. God,” Comfort has still refused to do so. After all, for Comfort, there isn’t a profit in being forthright.
In the last half of “Evolution Vs. God,” Comfort finally gets around to defending “God”—but he ignores the fact that “God” has nothing to do with evolution and the majority of people who claim to believe in God also accept the existence of evolution. Comfort also does not provide a coherent definition of “God,” nor does he provide any credible evidence for his belief. The authority of the NIV version of the Bible is simply assumed, as is the existence of “God,” “Heaven,” and “Hell.”
But even when Comfort is trying to paint himself in the most positive light possible, he makes laughably asinine statements such as, “I’d like you to make me a rose,” as well as, “You know God exists, and the reason you choose evolution is because it gets rid of moral accountability.” If this were “Electromagnetism Vs. Zeus,” these statements would be as laughable as “I’d like you to make me a lightning bolt” and “You know Zeus exists, and the reason you choose electromagnetism is because it gets rid of moral accountability.” In reality, a place Comfort rarely visits, belief in a god is actually directly correlated to immorality in virtually every measurable category in every society worldwide. (See “Is Faith Good for Us?” by Phil Zuckerman and “Cross National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies” by Gregory S. Paul for details.) Perhaps atheists tend to be more moral than Christians on average because they know they can’t just repent their wrongdoings away—they know they’re actually accountable to other human beings.
All the other predictable, fallacious creationist tropes one would expect are present in “Evolution Vs. God,” including the insistence that there is no meaning in life without belief in Ray’s particular version of “God”—a claim just as evidently fallacious as the insistence that there is no meaning in life without belief in Zeus. Godwin’s law is affirmed with Ray’s assertion that Hitler’s atrocities were inspired by evolution—despite the fact that Hitler was both a Christian (see “Berlin: Proclamation to the German Nation”) and a creationist who placed The Origin of Species on the Nazi banned book list (see “Guidelines from Die Bücherei 2:6 (1935), p. 279”). Of course, this is a simple guilt by association fallacy—even if Hitler was not a Christian, it would have absolutely no bearing on the claims of Christianity itself.
Comfort briefly diverges and attempts to apply the association fallacy positively in an effort to link figures like Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and Einstein with his own belief. While it is true that these figures did not necessarily specifically self-identify as atheists, what Comfort fails to mention is that absolutely none of the figures he mentions share his particular view of Christianity—and certainly not of young-earth creationism. All the figures he mentions actually describe themselves as agnostic, deistic, or pantheistic—but again, it’s completely beside the point. Likewise, the fact that a meta-analysis of 63 independent studies shows that atheists are, on average, significantly more intelligent than theists has no bearing on the veracity of the claims theists posit. (See “The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations” by Miron Zuckerman.)
Finally, Comfort goes on to demonstrate his total lack of understanding of his own Bible. He asserts that Christ saves by faith alone, proving he has not read or at least does not understand James 2:14-26 in its original context. He also claims that God cannot lie, proving he has not read or at least does not understand 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 in its original context. Predictably, he concludes with the oft-cited Romans 1:22—paying no mind to the fact that the author of this passage is actually referring to first-century Greco-Roman polytheists, not atheists (and certainly not evolutionary biologists). But even if we ignore the context, one has to ask: Who is the one professing to be wise here? Is it the scientists who humbly work day in and day out for the benefit of mankind, with little to no recognition—or is it someone like Ray Comfort, who claims to speak for the supposed creator of the entire universe and lies to children to make himself wealthier?
The DVD closes out with an advertisement for the so-called Creation “Museum” in Kentucky. I was reminded of the words of a recent visitor’s review: “Emptiness, sadness, a cruel parody of museums. Children running around, enthusiastic to learn, parents proudly reading lies to them. Children gathered around the animatronic Noah enplaning how there was room on the ark for all the dinosaurs. I felt I was at a funeral for someone I loved and everyone else wanted dead.”
This is how I felt watching “Evolution Vs. God.” It made me feel sick. I could feel the minds of children everywhere being raped by this smug, ignorant charlatan. Obviously, Ray Comfort is a complete joke—but he’s a horrible, cruel joke with real consequences for real people. Unwittingly or not, anyone who funnels money into Ray Comfort’s multi-million dollar criminal enterprise is an accomplice to his crimes against humanity.
For those already duped by “Evolution Vs. God,” I would recommend reading any grade school science textbook, consulting any elementary school science teacher, and beginning the process of rudimentary science education. Better yet, start reading and studying the Bible—after all, that’s how most people become atheists.