Creationist Comfort Hits North American Campuses with “Amended” Version of Origin of Species

November 24, 2009

Today is November 24th, 150 years to the day since the publication of Charles Dawin's "On the Origin of Species".  And unfortunately it is also the day when Ray Comfort, who famously referred to the banana as an evolutionist's greatest enemy for its obvious intelligent design as the perfect food for humans, is striking again.  This week thousands of copies of an amended version of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" are appearing across 70 North American university campuses in the US and Canada.  The new version includes a 50+ pages creationist forward which among other things, ties natural selection to Hitler and the holocaust and claims that belief in evolution is incompatible with Christianity.  The book also deleted four chapters in the original book which provided much of Darwin's evidence for evolution.  Eugenie Scott of the National Centre for Science Education, who debated Comfort on the "God and Country" blog on the US News website, referred to Comfort's book as  "a hopeless mess of long-ago-refuted creationist arguments, teeming with misinformation about the science of evolution, populated by legions of strawmen, and exhibiting what can be charitably described as muddled thinking." 

The Centre for Inquiry and the National Centre for Science Education, with support from the Secular Student Alliance, jointly coordinated a major pro-evolution and pro-science campaign across North American campuses.  As the Executive Director of the Centre for Inquiry in Canada I can proudly state that 10 campus clubs across the nation participated, covering major cities of Montreal, Halifax, Saskatoon, Fredericton (New Brunswick), Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa and London, Ontario.  Our campus distribution packages consisted of evolution videos which are available for free from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute .  We also included a page from the NCSE entitled " Why Ray Comfort is Wrong " which describes why Comfort's book is bad science (eg. Comfort's claim there are no transitional fossils!), bad history (eg. Hitler is given as Darwin's most famous student!) and bad theology (eg. mentioning Francis Collins but failing to include the small fact that he is both a famous evangelical and famously pro-evolution!). 

Finally we included a 2-page flyer "Evolution:  Fact and Theory" which reminds readers that while large scale species change is an established fact the theory of evolution consists in the various mechanisms the understanding of which is still being enhanced.  One of the major evidences for the fact of evolution is transitional fossils, and the example provided is Tiktaalik , the famous 365 million year old link between fish and early tetrapods, made famous in Neil Shubin's book "Your Inner Fish."

Our coordinated Canadian pro-evolution campaign is already starting to bear fruit (of a non-banana variety).  The University of Saskatchewan Freethought Alliance is quoted in a headline story in their campus paper The Sheaf .  The article is entitled "Ray Comfort targets universities: Darwin attacked in free copy of On the Origin of Species."

Comments:

#1 William Mount (Guest) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 at 10:12pm

At Guelph we either missed them, or they did not find a volunteer.  We never saw anyone.  So we have some left overs. 

Comfort changed the date for Canada and America, so this caught a lot of people off-guard. 

There was going to be media coverage of the giveaway at Guelph, but we could not confirm that it even took place.  Instead, there was a general article that was written on the Guelph club.

#2 George Williamson (Guest) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 at 8:07am

At the University of Saskatchewan, we were stealth bombed in the most shameful manner over a week before the announced date.  A couple of people with a few boxes of books furtively appeared on campus, passed out the books in a rush and disappeared.  Maybe this happened at Guelph as well.

That these people go these lengths to avoid confrontation testifies to the mendacious insincerity of their ‘teach the controversy’ bullshit.  Gutless weasels.

#3 Roderick Tamney (Guest) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 at 2:02pm

Ray Comfort is right;  belief in evolution is incompatible with Christianity.

One must be an atheist to believe in evolution.
Either god did it or he didn’t. There’s nothing
in between.

#4 Natasha (Guest) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 at 3:59pm

My school is too small to have been targeted, unfortunately. I would love to get my hands on a copy of the book they were passing out, though. For posterity.

The “Why Ray Comfort is Wrong” flyer is fantastic. Great job on that!

#5 Martineg on Wednesday November 25, 2009 at 6:17pm

Here at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, Comfort thwarted the effort to counteract his propaganga by passing out the book a day before the date permitted by the university.

#6 Reba Wooden (Guest) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 at 11:01pm

This “doing it a day or so earlier” must be a pattern with these people.  A few years ago, they scheduled a phone interview with me and then called me the day before the scheduled day.  It was just as well.  It saved me from wasting time preparing.  Preparation would have been a waste anyway.

#7 Robert Raymond (Guest) on Thursday November 26, 2009 at 6:34am

Being a Christian and an intelligent person I can believe in God and evolution. Comparing faith and science is comparing apples and oranges. It is within my God’s capability to do anything that science says happened. Science in this case Darwin and his followers throughout history have been doing one thing. Trying to explain the works of God. This is science, this is what it does. The Bible is trying to do the same thing in it’s fashion.

#8 Elspeth (Guest) on Thursday November 26, 2009 at 10:19am

Robert R…If science is explaining the works of the gods,then the gods are all over the place, and the gods are in DNA.  People are born with horrific DNA defects.  People die due to things like the DNA of a virus. Young innocent people, (and older people),babies and toddlers die due to storms, earthquakes, mudslides and so on. 
If you’re going to say the gods are DNA, or nature, then the gods have no intelligence, no morals, no plan, no conciousness and no conscience.

Therefore, we humans have to use our brains and decide what what is moral and ethical. Changing Darwin’s book is highly unethical.

#9 Mountain Humanist (Guest) on Friday November 27, 2009 at 9:16am

Just a quick editing note (it’s my job):

“The new version includes a 50+ pages creationist forward which among other things, ties natural selection to Hitler and the holocaust and claims that belief in evolution is incompatible with Christianity.”

That should read “foreward.”

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