Cold Comfort

By Phil Plait | May 28, 2008 3:03 pm

I have to give creationists credit for one thing: when they speak, they can fit an incredible amount of absurdity into their words.

An excellent example is televangelist Ray Comfort. He is probably most famous for what can be considered the silliest argument against evolution of all time: the banana. Please, take a moment and soak up the dumbosity of Comfort’s argument there, then come back. I’ll wait.

OK, done? Have you stopped laughing? Good. I have to say that he eventually finally sorta kinda conceded that maybe this isn’t a good argument, but still, we’re not talking about a guy here who has the luxury of logic on his side.

So of course, when he spouts off about Mars and Phoenix, well, the nonsense continues. On his blog, he tries to say that we wasted our money with Phoenix, because all we’ll find is that "God […] made Mars of dirt". Just like we did on the Moon.

Wow. His ignorance of these missions is surpassed only by his arrogance that we need not do them. Just dirt? Actually, the regolith (not dirt; that’s rock and other substances that has been processed by bacteria) and rocks brought back from the Moon were a scientific goldmine, telling us about the conditions on the Moon, the characteristics of the solar wind, and even providing evidence for the impact origin of the Moon itself*.

Of course, on Mars, we’re looking for something different. The goal of Phoenix — had Comfort done the unthinkable act of actually looking it up — is to study the history of water on Mars, and search for habitable conditions on Mars and see if it ever was conducive for life. This will help us understand if life might have ever arisen on Mars, and also characterize conditions that will help us sustain a colony there eventually.

Of course, then he complains that NASA spent $400 million on the mission, making the same false dichotomy I have debunked over and over again.

But why stop there? He actually says that instead of wasting money on exploring space, "… we should spend our time and money on cleaning up the dirt in our own backyard. There sure is plenty of it."

Hey, whaddya ya know? A creationist said something that was right. Though I doubt that what he actually meant was that we should spend that money educating people about science and reality so that all Comfort would ever hear after he spouts his nonsense are crickets, but there you go. He was right for the wrong reason, which at least is a change from being wrong for the wrong reasons all the time.

Tip o’ the space helmet to Jason Brunet for sending me the link to Comfort’s blog.



*And Mr. Comfort may have forgotten that we didn’t go to the Moon to do science, we went there to beat the Soviets. Science was secondary to that at best, yet the knowledge returned was invaluable.

Comments (95)

  1. Nails67

    I particularly liked (on his blog) the commenting policy that “those that fail to give the name “God” or “Jesus” in capitals will be deleted”.
    That’s keeping the debate focused.

  2. what a good time… with that banana

    _____________________________________________________
    * guess we will go to mars just to beat the Chinese.

  3. I’d call Poe’s Law on the banana video were it not for the corroborating evidence that the guy’s a dyed-in-the-wool theistard.

  4. we= USA+EU+Russia

  5. Zaius

    “The goal of Phoenix — had Comfort done the unthinkable act of actually looking it up — is to study the history of water on Mars, and search for habitable conditions on Mars and see if it ever was conducive for life.”

    That and to look for the Crockaduck.

  6. Sophia

    Yikes. This is the first time I viewed his blog and I’m already appalled. Argh. What a naive understanding he has of what our space efforts and funds are for. Instead of sitting around expecting scientists to find life on other planets or previous life, he should try and understand the actual goal of these missions. Not his goal.

    I read his header upon going to his page and that was enough to make me want to exit the page “or those that fail to give the name “God” or “Jesus” capitals, will be automatically deleted.”

    is he serious? Haha

  7. lo-rez

    I can’t imagine the tremendous amount of back-peddling Mr Comfort would have to undertake if Phoenix actually found dirt on Mars.

  8. Asking Mr Comfort to get smart is like asking McDonalds to start selling Pâté de foie gras.

    Just as McDonalds know they’re never gonna sell a lot of goose liver, Mr C. knows that his customers don’t have a taste for intelligence.

  9. Tom

    He knows his audience, and panders to it. Great little money-making scheme.

  10. Hugo

    Well, at least we beat those damn, Godless communists.

    America: We’ve Got The DIRTermination!

    “Did you even bother to read the article?”

    It was about dirt and communists, wasn’t it? :P

  11. Jesse

    “those that fail to give the name “God” or “Jesus” in capitals will be deleted”

    Oh, right, I forgot that “god” is a name when, deep down in your heart, you know there’s only really one religion. It’s been a while (: I’ve reverted to treating it like “car” or “friend” — as a noun denoting a member of a particular category.

  12. Bad Albert

    I always roll my eyes when people say we should “solve the problems on earth before we explore space”. Let’s face it, we will probably never solve all the problems on earth. Of course we should try but in the mean time we need to keep advancing technology. Who knows what benefits the next scientific discovery will bring to the common person. Space exploratation costs, especially the unmanned variety, are a fraction of what we spend on war.

    These comments usually come from people who currently live a comfortable life. Suppose it was suggested we solve all the problems on earth before we develop the terrestrial luxuries now taken for granted. There are some basic things billions of people can still only dream about. Would these holier-than-thou types be agreeable to sacrificing their standard of living to allow the rest of the world to catch up? I doubt it. We have done amazing things since the enlightenment. I don’t see why we need to apologize for it.

  13. Sophia

    I love what The Celtic Chimp commented to Rays latest blog post

    “”If we ever discover intelligent life forms in space, it’s a given that we will start a war and kill them.”

    Too true, they will almost inevitably be atheist (or at least a religion of their own invention). The religious zelots of the world will probably proclaim them demons and demand an immediate crusade/jihad again them.

    What would it mean to you faith Ray if such life were discovered? It would surely be contra-biblical.”

  14. zeb

    The banana did have an intelligent designer: humans have been breeding and cultivating it for thousands of years.

    I like one of the comments in Comfort’s blog that basically said: people are so quick to accept Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. as proof of extraterrestrial life, but immediately reject God/Jesus. Um, since when is Star Trek supposed to actually represent the real world? Does this guy believe that there REALLY IS (or will be) a Captain Kirk who REALLY DOES fly around at warp speed bedding everyone and everything in sight?

  15. this idiot has managed to display his ignorance on almost every aspect of our existence. what a self-comforter.

  16. Jorde

    Those silly Spanish, trying to explore a “new world” don’t they just know it is made of dirt just like Europe. What good could possibly come of spending so much money on such a silly adventure. Columbus was wrong, its not India, so there is no way for us to profit sailing West….

    O wait… what century is this?

  17. IAmMarauder

    Well, I just tried to comment to Ray’s blog, let us see if it gets posted. Just in case, here is my comment:

    From the original post:
    “they discovered that God had made the moon from dirt. What did they expect? I’m sure that they will find that God also made Mars of dirt. Dirt.”

    Curious, I remember that God also made Adam from dirt. Yet we all know that we are no longer dirt. Following this that means that Mars may have been made from dirt, but may not actually be so. In fact the Lunar Landers showed that Earth’s Moon wasn’t made from dirt, but from rocks and other substances apart from dirt.

    Also the Phoenix mission was more than just a US based effort – it included various countries and their agencies, as well as many private companies. How much of the “$420 million discovery” was the US contribution is unknown by myself, but the contribution and rewards are more than monetary anyways. There is a lot of knowledge that was gathered simply by the flight there – one of thosebeing the flight time from Earth to Mars.

    If we were to consider Mars for colonisation, it is useful to know that we can get there in only 10 months. That seems like a long time to us today, but consider that many older sea voyages (especially from Great Britain to the Australian clonies) took around 9 months.

    As a final comment: in regards to Terry’s comments regarding atheism and Science Fiction: The important word there is fiction. Also there is a world of difference between watching a movie and believing it to be the truth. Personally I never cared for Star Trek but I have seen Star Wars but cannot remember any time it promoted “superior inteeligent design among the stars”. The movies are quite secular – the only thing in Star Wars relating to any sort of religion are the Jedi and The Force.

    As for “Good vs Evil” being a reality I have to respectfully disagree. “Good” and “Evil” are relative terms, and are defined by a persons beliefs and opinions. For someone who is a hardcore supporter of Communism then Capatilism is pure evil, while a Capitalist believes that Communism is evil. However neither concept (capitalism or communism) is good or evil. In fact much of what today would be regarded as doing “Good” would have been deemed “Evil” years ago, and in some cases not that many of them.

    Anyways, just a few thoughts from myself, please feel free to discuss :)

  18. IAmMarauder

    And it is a good thing that we cannot post URLs to Ray’s blog. I would have been very tempted to post the following:

    Oh, and as a present for you Ray, have some Intellignetly Designed bananas that have not suffered any interference from the hand of Man:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Inside_a_wild-type_banana.jpg
    http://www.dasmirnov.net/media/users/paul/PBF_02_3_image_04_full.jpg
    http://cairnarvon.rotahall.org/pics/wildbanana2.jpg

  19. Michael Lonergan

    I think Ray Comfort has been looking at his buddy, Kirk Cameron’s banana for too long. All these born againers have repressed urges. Just ask Ted Haggard

  20. Chrys

    I’m going to be moving from the UK to the USA in the near future, probably to Denver or a nearby region of Colorado. What are my chances of coming across people as moronic as the person in the linked video appears to be (perhaps it is a hilarious joke that I’m taking seriously by mistake?) and how should I speak to them about such issues?

    Thank you for any advice from the locals,
    – Chrys

  21. zach

    I got all the way to Comfort’s first response in the comments before I had to stop. He says, “there’s never been a society in history that was so stupid to think that it wasn’t created.” At first I laughed, because that is a truly ridiculous statement. And then I realised he actually believes that — i mean religion has always existed, yeah, but to phrase it in such an obtuse manner — and this feeling of despair settled over me, like a bleak, awful fog. I just don’t understand how some of these people made it to adulthood, and I don’t understand why nobody ever taught these guys to shut their damn mouths and keep their ignorance to themselves.

    Chrys; I am in Colorado Springs, south of Denver. Some people have called the Springs the “Protestant Vatican.” There is one intersection here I can think of off-hand with churches — different, unrelated churches — on 3 corners, and a middle school on the other. Focus on the Family is headquartered here. I think that says enough.

  22. Comfort practices high pressure sales tactics in order to sell a product and generate an income. That’s his entire MO.

    Educating his audience would be counter to his income – thus he tries to stay as far away from education as possible.

  23. billsmithaz

    I was excited when man first brought back samples from the moon’s surface. We waited while the amazing samples were tested. We waited for a long time. I guess enthusiasm waned a little when they discovered that God had made the moon from dirt.

    Uh, yeah. That’s exactly what NASA concluded.
    *rolls eyes

  24. Darth Robo

    >>>”Educating his audience would be counter to his income – thus he tries to stay as far away from education as possible.”

    But I’m still inclined to believe he’s every bit as stupid as he comes across.

  25. Michael Lonergan
    I think Ray Comfort has been looking at his buddy, Kirk Cameron’s banana for too long.

    When he referred to ‘ease of entry’, my thoughts were definitely NSFW.

    J/P=?

  26. Nasikabatrachus

    I love this bit from the post entitled “The Smartest Man Alive”:

    “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at this amazing creation and see the genius of the amazing Creator. A child can know that. Your stumbling-block isn’t intellectual as you maintain. . . it’s moral.”

    In other words, the banana man says the reason people don’t accept creationism is because they’re evil.

    Delicious.

  27. Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Yikes. This is the first time I viewed his blog and I’m already appalled. Argh. What a naive understanding he has of what our space efforts and funds are for. Instead of sitting around expecting scientists to find life on other planets or previous life, he should try and understand the actual goal of these missions. Not his goal.

    Ray Comfort is seriously one of the most uneducated, wilfully ignorant and proud of it people I’ve ever had the displeasure of arguing with online. There is no debate with Ray, he is the definition of hard headed and pig ignorant. I say that not as an ad hominem, but as fact. He constantly argues against a version of the theory of evolution that is so pitifully far from any basis in fact it’s like an 8 year old kid wrote it. He must have a platoon of good little Christians building straw men in some sort of Jesus labor camp at the rate he dishes them out in his posts and then in the comments.

    I won’t even talk about his merry little band of ignoramuses that comment there supporting every logical fallacy and non sequitur he throws out.

    It’s frustrating, but my severe case of SIWOTI makes me keep going back.

  28. LMR

    Well, according to here:
    http://www.electronicchurch.org/2002/NCC_members.htm

    We have 80,054 pastors. From the information here:
    http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/layouthtmls/swzl_compresult_national_CS21000010.html

    The average salary is $81,577.

    So, not counting all the money collected to heat/cool those buildings, and print their Sunday bulletins and such – we have a total of:

    $6,530,565,158

    I think we should use THAT money to put toward the NASA budget. I mean why spend all that money paying pastors when there’s work to be done in our own back yard?

    Assuming you pay 30% of your pay in taxes – the NASA share of your pay only amounts to less than 1% of your pay (30 * .0058), which is a lot less than the 10% tithe a lot of the churches ask for.

  29. Michael Lonergan

    What makes me truly sick, is that for years I sat in churches, listening to preachers that had spent at the most, four years at some Hicksville Bible College, pretending to be experts on everything from biology to social science to politics. Yet they have the audacity to denigrate those that ARE experts in their fields.

  30. has

    > On his blog, he tries to say that we wasted our money with Phoenix

    Not so much a waste as a missed opportunity: you could’ve launched a “B Ark” instead.

  31. Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I think we should use THAT money to put toward the NASA budget. I mean why spend all that money paying pastors when there’s work to be done in our own back yard?

    /snark on

    Keep that damn church money out of our science. Nothing good can come from a bunch of wingnuts thinking they have a bigger say in how the cash is spent on science.

    /snark off

  32. Why do they still insist on quoting NASA mission costs? It’s implied that this money is wasted, like we just bought a Ferrari with no real tangible worth. However, this money doesn’t go into space, it’s all spent here on Earth. The money spent on space missions funds hundreds or thousands of jobs, and quite of bit of it is put back into the economy. Even failed missions put real people to work for many years, and these jobs are for highly skilled workers that sustain our competitiveness. I know that the BA has written about this before, but shouldn’t we take the networks to task for this? If they insist on quoting money for NASA, they should do it for all government projects.

  33. Meskine

    I dunno. That banana does have a pretty sleek design. But what’s the deal with pineapples? I tried to eat one like that and darn near put my eye out.

  34. BadMA says: “Why do they still insist on quoting NASA mission costs? It’s implied that this money is wasted, like we just bought a Ferrari with no real tangible worth. However, this money doesn’t go into space, it’s all spent here on Earth. The money spent on space missions funds hundreds or thousands of jobs, and quite of bit of it is put back into the economy. Even failed missions put real people to work for many years”

    This has been my argument for years, and, it should be pointed out that most of the “$20 million per hour” spent on the Iraqi war is similarly spent here to supply the military.

    – Jack

  35. Christopher Ferro

    Sorry, coming in late here…

    I had never seen the “banana” video until just now… and…

    I… I..

    Well, I… um..

    I’m completely blown over… I mean this was a REAL video, not a parody!?

    And as for the characterization of the Phoenix mission, and space exploration in general…

    Just… wow…

    CJSF

  36. Sarafan

    “I guess enthusiasm waned a little when they discovered that God had made the moon from dirt.”

    “And God made two great luminaries; the greater luminary to rule the day, and the lesser luminary to rule the night: he made the stars also.”

    Well, which is it, dirt or lantern?

  37. Ragutis

    So, do I need to capitalize jebus? ;p

    Well, I can understand insisting that the J in Jesus be capitalized, it’s a name like Mithras or Krishna, but god is just a job-title. If he expects me to capitalize “boss” or “teacher” or “certified public accountant”, he can bugger right off.

  38. Ragutis

    Sorry for the double post but felt this would be appreciated. The only bit of stupid that I’ve seen compare to Comfort’s banana video is the “Peanut Butter as Disproof of Evolution” video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZFG5PKw504

    I love how the seal is broken on the jar… did they check first, just to make sure?

  39. Macron

    We’re spending 20 million dollars per hour chasing Islamic extremists, and they’re whining about one 400 million dollar Mars lander?

    Religion costs more and accomplishes less.

  40. Quiet Desperation

    This is one reason I hope they find actual *living* organisms on Mars. Even if it’s just microbes, I want to watch how the religious community reacts. It’s a huge long shot, I know, but still… Pass the popcorn, man. ;-)

  41. geomaniac

    Umm Ray… Perfect fit for the hand? Just the right shape for the human mouth? Point at the top for ease of entry? Curved to the face to make the whole process easier? What exactly are you planning to do with that “well designed banana” anyway?

    On second thought… I don’t want to know.

  42. SteveStar

    The banana thing had to be facetious, it just had to be. I’m going to be depressed for the rest of the night if it wasn’t.

  43. Neil

    Jack Hagerty said:
    “This has been my argument for years, and, it should be pointed out that most of the “$20 million per hour” spent on the Iraqi war is similarly spent here to supply the military.”

    True, and a good point. I wish more Americans took that view, because then they would have less room to escape responsibility for this war. I would love for the average American to realize that we are all soaked in the blood dripping from those dollars. If you feel good about spending $20 mil an hour to murder a few hundred thousand people and steal their oil, which we were already getting on the cheap, as well as destabilizing one of the more secular governments in the middle east, then it should be fairly easy to throw a few nickels to a project that may actually accomplish something other than rewarding war profiteers.

  44. Chris

    I’ve been commenting on Ray’s blog for a couple of weeks now, and it really is amazing how proud the Christian posters are of their willful ignorance. Ray especially.

    And they really don’t like it when you show them how silly and contradictory their bible is. They stick their fingers in their ears, saying “it’s not contradictory, it’s not contradictory”, and then always go on to say how great Jesus is, and how although I deserve to go to hell, by the power of Jesus, I shall be saved !!!!!

    Although some of them do seem quite comforted to think I’m going to hell.

  45. quasidog

    SO if the banana is so perfect, then a lot of other fruit and such should be similar right?

    … what about apples? The shape is all wrong!! … and the easy pop tab just breaks off leaving you unhappy and annoyed!!! … curse-ed apple!! After the tab is broken, the apple has no use and should be discarded.

    Don’t get me started on pineapples. They are the fruit of the devil, due mainly to the spiky-ness and stuff, and due to there being no other explanation other than a design that panders to stupid humans = good, design that is spiky = bad = the devil must have made it. Pineapples don’t fit nicely in the hand at all. Ouch.

    Onions piss me off with all its acidic eye squirting. Cutting onions is the worst job ever. Onions are not banana’s at all. Onions suck.

    I almost broke a tooth on a carrot stick once!!!! FFS !.. Stupid hard carrot. Why can’t carrots just tag along and be an ‘atheist’s nightmare’ like the banana? Stupid carrot.

    Cutting up a pumpkin is a crappy job and is dangerous. Pumpkins remind me of evil. ….. Pumpkins are a theists nightmare. I wonder how many people have cut off fingers due to poor pumpkin cutting skills.

    If only a pumpkin had an easy pop tab.

  46. Lao Tzu

    Ray Comfort is gone bananas. What’s next? Nuts, I presume…

  47. Hmmm interesting he chose the “well made” (cultivated) banana as opposed to the “badly made” (wild) banana.
    Isn’t the fact that the cultivated banana has advantages, from the point of view of human consumption, over the wild banana proof of the mechanisms of evolution? (Albeit under the influence of the cultivating humans.)
    Perhaps his god bestowed on ancient people the knowledge of selective breeding and cultivation to enable them to live and prosper? Then wouldn’t the banana prove that evolution was a true mechanism! (created by his god and the knowledge given to humans.)
    It just goes to show that a woeful display of ignorance doesn’t make you right!
    Jim (holding head in hands again!)

  48. Tyler Durden

    “I’m going to be moving from the UK to the USA in the near future, probably to Denver or a nearby region of Colorado. What are my chances of coming across people as moronic as the person in the linked video appears to be (perhaps it is a hilarious joke that I’m taking seriously by mistake?) and how should I speak to them about such issues?

    Thank you for any advice from the locals,
    – Chrys”

    As somebody else mentioned before, definitely stay away from Colorado Springs. It’s a military town and ultra-conservative, with one of the most idiotic fundamentalist groups based there (Focus on the Family).

    I’ve lived in Denver most of my life, and it’s pretty liberal here, at least with most of the 20 and 30-something crowds. I’d recommend Boulder as a great place to live if you want a good time and some great scenery.

    It was voted the #1 drinking town in the country (thanks to the University of Colorado there), and is commonly known as “The People’s Republic of Boulder” because of it’s prevalent libertarian and democratic populace (37% Democrat 36% Independent).

  49. CapricaSix

    I can understand why they’re so hysterical about the theory of evolution.

    If you accept that evolution is a part of God’s plan, then you have to admit the possibily that Cylons are * supposed * to replace humanity.

  50. riki

    This is the dumbest Creation video I’ve seen in a while

    Evolution Vs. Logic
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=346_1211759138

  51. sirjonsnow

    I guess coconuts are inedible. Actually, I’d agree with that, blech!

  52. andrew

    Dude, I seriously feel bad for these people(creationists). It is just…so sad!

  53. x9

    steal their oil

    Cite?

  54. Deepak

    We landed on Moon 40 years back. So many probes have been sent to Mars over the years. Why is it taking so long to find out whether water has flowed on Mars or was it habitable for life? Aren’t we being too slow for people to start doubting our objectives?

  55. BMcP

    The banana is the way it is because of cross-breeding growers engaged in over time thousands of years ago, so in that regard it is “Intelligently Designed”.. by people.

    I am sure even if Phoenix pays off in gathering information about water on Mars to the point where it greatly helps human colonization of the planet, he will see the effort to land people on mars as a waste too.

  56. CanadaBaken

    Science does not have all the answers, neither is everyone who
    believes in God and His Son Jesus nasty and foolish.

    I wish there were more tolerance on this forum for different points
    of view, to say nothing of people’s beliefs and values.

    Why are people on this forum so hateful of those who worship
    a God of Peace and Love?

  57. FREQFORCE

    CanadaBaken, the “god” they worship, or at least the one often praised by Comfort and his ilk, is clearly one that promotes willful ignorance, dishonesty, and bigotry.

    Lose the ridiculous persecution complex. It isn’t impressing anyone.

  58. Chris

    CanadaBaken said: “Why are people on this forum so hateful of those who worship a God of Peace and Love?”

    Where is this God of which you speak ? Is it the god the Islam, the “Religion of Peace” ?

    Is it the god of the Christians, who is going to send you to hell unless you suck up to his son/himself ?

  59. Jay

    How ignorant can a man be? And reading through all those comments is sure interesting. I enjoyed the one about how we should just feed all the world’s hungry people instead of sending probes to space. Well, considering how it would take more than one Phoenix a day to feed the world’s hungry people, it would be completely insignificant. People just don’t seem to realise how Phoenix’s budget is tiny by comparison.

    Anyway, go Phoenix! You’re doing great!

  60. CanadaBaken

    God has set down rules to help us lead better lives, just as
    a parent sets down rules not to oppress their children but
    to keep them from harm and grow up into good adults.

    God loved us so much He sent His Only Son to Earth to
    save us all, no matter how much people actively went against
    God and caused all sorts of evil. God could have easily destroyed
    us all with a single thought, but He loves us too much to ever
    do that, just as you would not kill your children over some bad
    behavior.

    The Devil went against God and brought about his own doom,
    just as so many people on Earth do despite God’s warnings.
    God gave everyone, including the being who became Satan, the
    freedom to choose the way they want to live. God could have
    easily controlled everyone to do what He wants, but He wants
    people who truly love Him, not a herd of mindless drones.

    You mistake the acts of a few radicals who use God’s name in
    its many forms such as Allah to pereptuate evil upon us all as
    the act of God Himself. These people are wrong beyond wrong,
    and so is anyone who falls for this trickery.

    God made a beautiful world which you seem to appreciate its
    finer qualities but fail to thank the Creator for giving you such
    a wonderful Universe to live in.

  61. Nicole

    @CanadaBaken

    “I wish there were more tolerance on this forum for different points
    of view, to say nothing of people’s beliefs and values.”

    All the toleration in the world would still not make certain viewpoints correct. I’ve got nothing against peace and love. It’s the “willful ignorance, dishonesty, and bigotry” that doesn’t stand a chance around here(to quote FreqForce).

  62. bubba

    And like a good little fundamentalist he calls jobs in the space agency a waste while saying nothing about trillions in defense spending or the cost of a cruise missile. Because Jesus loves the defense contractors but space contractors? Oh, that’s just the devils work.

    (nevermind that they are often one and the same)..

    We all know these guys want science to stop. IMMEDIATELY!

  63. God has set down rules to help us lead better lives, just as
    a parent sets down rules not to oppress their children but
    to keep them from harm and grow up into good adults.

    God loved us so much He sent His Only Son to Earth to
    save us all, no matter how much people actively went against
    God and caused all sorts of evil. God could have easily destroyed
    us all with a single thought, but He loves us too much to ever
    do that, just as you would not kill your children over some bad
    behavior.

    The Devil went against God and brought about his own doom,
    just as so many people on Earth do despite God’s warnings.
    God gave everyone, including the being who became Satan, the
    freedom to choose the way they want to live. God could have
    easily controlled everyone to do what He wants, but He wants
    people who truly love Him, not a herd of mindless drones.

    You mistake the acts of a few radicals who use God’s name in
    its many forms such as Allah to pereptuate evil upon us all as
    the act of God Himself. These people are wrong beyond wrong,
    and so is anyone who falls for this trickery.

    God made a beautiful world which you seem to appreciate its
    finer qualities but fail to thank the Creator for giving you such
    a wonderful Universe to live in.

    Do you also give Mangar-kunjer-kunja, Chiconahuiehecatl and Batara Kala thanks for creating the world?

    They are creator gods as well.

  64. CanadaBaken

    There is only One True God and His Son.

    But I expect there will be more insults for my declaring this.

    One way or another, you will learn the truth in the next life
    (and I already anticipate someone saying And so will you –
    so save your typing).

  65. There is only One True God and His Son.

    But I expect there will be more insults for my declaring this.

    One way or another, you will learn the truth in the next life
    (and I already anticipate someone saying And so will you –
    so save your typing).

    Is that so? Why your god and not Chiconahuiehecatl?

  66. Not Chiconahuiehecatl?

    How about Vishnu?

  67. Irishman

    CanadaBaken, wow, this God person sounds remarkable. How can I find out more about him? Is there some book I can read? Maybe some place I can go talk to him, or a representative?

    [/snark]

    > You mistake the acts of a few radicals who use God’s name in
    its many forms such as Allah to pereptuate evil upon us all as
    the act of God Himself. These people are wrong beyond wrong,
    and so is anyone who falls for this trickery.

    The problem is there is no way for the objective observer to tell the difference between those who truly represent God and those who erroneously claim to. Even the ones doing the claiming are convinced they are right. Heck, to judge by those holy books that are claimed to be directly from He Himself, He is a pretty nasty fellow. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s that silly “Old Testament” stuff. What, like the “Ten Commandments”? Um, right.

    Look, I’ll grant you that there is a fair bit of anti-religious sentiment expressed here. People who perceive religious belief as nonsensical fantasy will express as much. Watching others venerate fantasy would be humerous if not for the lengths it is taken and the effects it has on real lives. Venerating fantasy to the point of fostering ignorance and actively promulgating idiocy will draw ridicule.

    If you don’t want to be ridiculed for your religious beliefs, don’t be ridiculous about them.

  68. Irishman

    CanadaBaken said:
    > One way or another, you will learn the truth in the next life
    (and I already anticipate someone saying And so will you –
    so save your typing).

    Sadly, no, if what I believe is true, you won’t learn anything once you’re dead. So I won’t be able to say, “I told you so.”

  69. CanadaBaken

    You pity me as being deluded and living a “fantasy” life that
    will only bring me down. Nothing could be further from that.

    My life is rich far beyond material or monetary standards that
    society judges happiness to be based on. I have a loving
    family who has somehow survived these “delusions” to go
    on to be productive and positive members of their communities.
    If I am sadly mistaken, then I wish more people could be this
    misguided.

    You say there is no God or other realms beyond the Earthly
    plane we live in, but you never offer an alternative. Life and
    this world just is and that’s it. If you ever really thought
    about it, there is a reason why so many people believe in God
    or at least some kind of supernatural being or beings, and not
    everyone is a dumb, deluded fool. You think your offer of a
    world devoid of a purpose and future – and often the only
    hope for so many who have nothing else – is the better one?

    It must be nice to live in your safe, comfy ivory towers and
    proclaim to the unwashed masses your reality. Too bad if
    most of these people find your world as barren and empty
    as those images from Mars poring down from space now.
    That is your reality – a cold bleak harsh one that offers nothing
    but eternal death.

    So forgive me if I prefer a world where a loving God watches
    over me and my family and the rest of us, even the ones who
    are so certain He does not exist.

    And what gets me most of all is how you can study all the
    complex wonders of this amazing and HUGE Universe and
    still not see God behind and among it all.

    Unlike the mocking I have seen here, I bear none of you ill will
    and will pray for your salvation.

  70. Calli Arcale

    I believe in God, the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

    I also have a brain, and know how to use it, so I know that the televangelist described by the BA is a complete idiot when it comes to this topic. I am not a Creationist. I think Creationists tend to give Christians a bad name. (They’d give Muslims a bad name too, but in the countries where Muslims are sufficiently numerous for Creationism to be predominantly Islamic, there are laws against noticing that some Muslims are giving the rest a bad name, with predictable results.)

    I’d like to correct the BA slightly, though. Dirt isn’t just “rock and other substances that has been processed by bacteria”. One mustn’t forget that it also contains a significant amount of poo, dead animal parts, dead plant parts, and fungus both alive and dead. Dirt is actually pretty disgusting if one thinks about it. Regolith, however, is truly virgin soil. ;-)

    The biggest tragedy of Comfort’s “just dirt” comment, though, is the severe lack of vision that it reveals, and the total lack of wonder. I mean, he clearly believes that God created the world, and that it’s a wonderful place. Why is he not consumed with curiosity about that world? Why is Martian soil not every bit as fascinating as terrestrial soil, given that God created it and declared it good? One doesn’t require faith in the divine to be captivated by the sheer wonder of the Universe, but I would expect faith in the divine to make the world seem even *more* wonderful, not less. Rather sad, really.

    One thought for any Creationists or other Biblical literalists who don’t like the idea of space exploration: the first commandment given by God to mankind was this: “Go forth into the world, be fruitful, and multiply.” If that isn’t a commandment for exploration, I don’t know what is. If you take the Bible literally, then why not fully support space exploration as part of the divine commandment to go out and colonize the whole of creation?

  71. You say there is no God or other realms beyond the Earthly
    plane we live in, but you never offer an alternative. Life and
    this world just is and that’s it. If you ever really thought
    about it, there is a reason why so many people believe in God
    or at least some kind of supernatural being or beings, and not
    everyone is a dumb, deluded fool. You think your offer of a
    world devoid of a purpose and future – and often the only
    hope for so many who have nothing else – is the better one?

    Why your god and not Vishnu?

  72. CanadaBaken

    Calli Arcale said:

    “The biggest tragedy of Comfort’s “just dirt” comment, though, is the severe lack of vision that it reveals, and the total lack of wonder. I mean, he clearly believes that God created the world, and that it’s a wonderful place. Why is he not consumed with curiosity about that world? Why is Martian soil not every bit as fascinating as terrestrial soil, given that God created it and declared it good? One doesn’t require faith in the divine to be captivated by the sheer wonder of the Universe, but I would expect faith in the divine to make the world seem even *more* wonderful, not less. Rather sad, really.”

    Look at a photo of a tropical beach or a huge mountain range
    on Earth, then look at one of the images of Mars taken by the
    Phoenix spacecraft of that planet’s north pole.

    Then answer honestly from your emotions which you find more
    appealing.

    Perhaps now you can see why most regular people would no more
    choose a world without God than they would a place as bleak
    looking as Mars really is.

    By the way, in case you are worried, I am not against space
    exploring and I even “believe” in evolution. I simply find the
    latter to be the way God made His creatures. I am not anti-
    science, either. I just think it is limited in its answers for the
    human race.

    Oh, and Rev Chimp – Why my God and not Vishnu? Because
    my God looks better in a sports car.

    Oh my, a Christian with a sense of humor – whatever will you do?

    :^)

    Believe me, one needs a sense of humor in THIS world.

  73. Ragutis

    CanadaBaken:

    Allow me to let you in on something most theists seem not to understand about atheists and agnostics… Most of us are former believers. We know the spiel, we’ve read the books, we’ve heard the message. Many of us even spread the word for a while. (I personally spent nearly 10 years working in youth ministry and education.) It’s just that eventually we begin to see through the faulty reasoning and emotional arguments. We just don’t buy it anymore. And it’s going to take more than you repeating the same tired story to convince us. We’d like some evidence this time around, thank you. Believing unsupported assertions may make you feel warm and cozy, but forgive us for preferring the evidentiary and examinable. It’s just that it works best. Reason may not be as romantic or comforting as wishful thinking, but it has the virtue of getting us to the truth.

    Also, were a god to exist, there’s no reason to assume it would value or desire our worship, or indeed deserve it. The insecure, jealous, genocidal lunatic of the old testament certainly doesn’t deserve praise or worship.

    And the “Bow or Burn” message in the NT isn’t any better, even if that Jesus character seems like an mostly OK guy.

  74. Ragutis

    *sigh*

    –> Insert obligatory whine about lack of edit or preview feature here <–

  75. Antiquated Tory

    To be fair, you could consider the God described in the OT, along with all the others, as steps in the (hopefully) teleological development of the morality of H Sapiens as a civilized animal. Read Judges, and consider what kind of society would have produced those stories–a society in need of some heavy discipline to develop even the most basic codes of extrafamilial conduct. (news flash: gang-sodomizing strangers who pass through town is not cool. Repeated in Genesis, more famously.)
    There are many historical, cultural, social and psychological reasons why we have the religions we have. As for people who once were firmly religious and are now atheists–beware the fanaticism of the convert! You must have met a few in your churchgoing days, you know what I mean. As for CanadaBaken(Bacon? Baking?), he/she should bear in mind that his/her belief in Jesus Christ is based entirely on faith. Real faith is not something you can convince people to adopt, like voting Republican or using Linux. (It’s also something you can’t convince people to drop.) It doesn’t matter how much more fulfilling it might be to have faith vs not to have it. At some point, you have an epiphany, or you don’t. Note that someone can also abandon religion due to an epiphany–realizing that they don’t actually have any faith.
    Of course there are people who claim membership in a religion and don’t really have any faith, but have never examined it, continuing on because of habit, because of their parents and community, or because they can’t be arsed to do anything else. More peculiar to me are people who appear to have adopted their religion–quite fanatical forms of it–as the end result of “shopping” for one, like finding their preferred flavor of condensed soup. I can’t really imagine that this is real faith either, but rather is some sort of psychological crutch.
    In any event, I may no longer accept as empirically valid the mythology of my tribe, but I’ll be hanged before I abandon membership in the tribe to embrace someone else’s equally…er, mythical mythology. Slagging off religion in a forum where lots of people slag off religion may be a bit sophomoric, but barging in to tell us the Good News about Jesus Christ who died for our sins (as if none of us had heard of him before) is just bloody obnoxious.

  76. Darth Robo

    Two things I wanna point out here:

    One: Islamic fundamentalist, Christian fundamentalist – they’re both as bad as each other. Me, I just get tired of the old “evil Muslims who wanna take over the world” stereotype.

    Two: Taking the mick out of Ray Comfort is not the same as attacking Christianity. Ray is a loon, and a dishonest one at that. If people hold religious beliefs, fine, but I doubt many here are interested in anyone preaching it.

    Just my 2 cents.

  77. lars

    CanadaBakenon wrote:
    Science does not have all the answers, neither is everyone who believes in God and His Son Jesus nasty and foolish.

    No one here is saying those things. Science looks for answers in reality, using specific methods. Idea evolve, change. Woaw… sort of like everything else on earth?
    I lost all respect for religion and religious “educators” when I asked why the dinosaurs weren’t mentioned in the Bible. I know they weren’t mentioned because humans did not know of them back then, therefor could not have written about them!
    The pastor said they are, indirectly, that obviously Noah had them on the ark as well. Wow, apparently our cubit/ft conversion is off by a factor of 10, or 100!
    Like the other poster said earlier: stop being ridiculous!

  78. I guess I could make a snide observation regarding the similarities between disrespecting someone’s religious beliefs, and disrespecting the childhood dreams of space travel with environmental priorities, but… nah.

    I think it’s more important to remember that the goal of manned space flight RELIES on environmental technologies, and thus contributes to researching the environmental issues that are our priority.

    After all, if you’re sending human beings to Mars, you need a ship that can manage about 3-4 years of self-sufficiency. Permanent colonies on Mars or the Moon are either going to be self-sufficent, or at the permanent mercy of their financial backers for continuous resupply. Either way, the ability to supply a renewable source of Food, Water and electricity on a small scale would have profound impacts on our own ability to live on earth sustainably.

  79. Calli Arcale

    Look at a photo of a tropical beach or a huge mountain range
    on Earth, then look at one of the images of Mars taken by the
    Phoenix spacecraft of that planet’s north pole.

    Then answer honestly from your emotions which you find more
    appealing.

    Me? All of the above. Seriously. Of course, I am a space geek, so I have a particular yearning for space. There is something profoundly wonderful about seeing the surface of another world, at least in my opinion. Buzz Aldrin put it best: “magnificent desolation.”

    To me, it IS amazing to see something which, as far as we can tell, has never been touched by life. Perhaps Earth really is Eden, the cradle from which all life originates. Perhaps not. There is really only one way to find out, and that is to go out and look. ;-)

    I do realize that many other people do not share this joy in the sheer, jaw-dropping splendor of other worlds. They do not see the potential, or at least find the potential too distant and too abstract to be meaningful to them. I am capable of respecting that, as long as they are capable of respecting my passion for space in turn. Different people have different interests. That’s perfectly natural, and actually a very healthy thing for society. (We can’t all focus on space travel, after all. We’d starve to death.) But my problem with people like Comfort is that they expect me to respect their passions but have no intention of respecting mine. Instead, they denigrate my passions, as if to justify their lack of interest in them. This shows a lack of vision, in my opinion, because it means they cannot really conceive of differences of opinion. Why would they attack scientific inquiry if they did not specifically feel that such things are foolish? Comfort’s obvious lack of understanding on such topics do not improve my impression of him at all. He is denigrating that which he doesn’t understand anyway, which demonstrates that he has no willingness to listen to different views, much less understand and respect them. And that is what I find sad.

  80. Oh, and Rev Chimp – Why my God and not Vishnu? Because
    my God looks better in a sports car.

    Oh my, a Christian with a sense of humor – whatever will you do?

    Oh haha! erhem. Um cough cough.

    Now how about answering my question?

  81. Robert Clarkson

    Embarrassinlgy Comfort hails from Christchurch New Zealand. He used to stand on a soapbox , with another nutter who accompanied him on a violin, trying to rubbish the Wizard – yes we had an official wizard- in our Square. It was always a losing battle for the two. The wizard learned, well read, and skeptic was just too intelligent for Comfort. One day Comfort packed his bags and up and left for the States – sorry chaps – he was never going to make it here!

  82. You damn Kiwis with your crazies. We have enough of our own!

    /shakes fist at New Zealand

  83. ARP1234

    New Zealand is obviously being punished by God for hosting the
    pagan Lord of the Rings.

  84. Just like what Kenneth Miller has repeatedly shown, creationism is a science stopper. Why study nature when you can dismiss it all with “godidit”? There would be almost no research, no experiments, no exploration, and little observation in science if people accepted creationism.

  85. quasidog

    Go the ALL BLACKS ! (NZ Rugby Union team …*does the Haka* …. yes I am actually of Maori heritage so don’t flame me )

  86. quasidog

    .. correction … the “Ka mate” haka …. there are many different haka ;p

  87. joker

    # Robert Clarkson on 29 May 2008 at 9:47 pm
    “Embarrassingly Comfort hails from Christchurch New Zealand. He used to stand on a soapbox , with another nutter who accompanied him on a violin, trying to rubbish the Wizard – yes we had an official wizard- in our Square. It was always a losing battle for the two. The wizard learned, well read, and skeptic was just too intelligent for Comfort. One day Comfort packed his bags and up and left for the States – sorry chaps – he was never going to make it here!”

    HURRAH! HURRAH for the Wiz-ard,
    The wonderful Wizard of …

    …. New Zealand! (Aotearoa!?) :-O

    Gosh daurn it … Why could’nt that wizard have come from myland of OZ (~’trailya! ;-) ) instead! ;-)

    Soapbox squares with ranting nutters in ‘em .. Ahhhh. Cheap entertainment! ;-)

    Why would we pay people like that (by buying their books, videos etc ..) to embarrass themselves when they’ll do it for free … ;-)

    Can anybody really take clowns like that Mr Comfort-ably Deluded seriously? Really?

    Surely not even ‘Dubya’ Bush is that stoopid! ;-)

    …. or is he? :-(

  88. joker

    Yeck. Another Blinkin’ typo with the emphasis / bolding brackets. Sigh.

    Sorry y’all.

  89. John

    Typical atheist/agnostic tactic: you can’t combat the truths of God with facts, so you turn to name calling and character assassination.

  90. Grady

    God still gave man the brain to domesticate the banana. Man can do nothing without what God has provided. I reminded of a joke I heard about God making a bet with scientist that if they could make a man out of dirt that He would leave them alone. The scientist said oh yeah, we can do that.” then they scooped up some dirt and God told them they had to find their own dirt to use because the dirt they scooped up was His. You can deny GOd all you want to but it isnt going to make a difference on judgment day. You may think Mr. Comfort is a fool, but the only fool is the person who says in his heart there is no GOd. There is a God and there is a Jesus, that wants to save you from hell and take you to heaven. please search these things out.

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