'The Atheist Delusion'
A film by Living Waters / Ray Comfort
Comments are welcome on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make things crystal clear:
The intensions of this review is NOT to prove evolution. The only aim of the review is to show where Ray Comfort misrepresents the theory and manipulate his audience.
Even if 100% of the world’s population agreed that evolution had been shown to be completely wrong, Ray Comfort would still be obliged to present it correct. He doesn't.
I have invited Ray Comfort to respond to my review, and promised not to neither edit nor comment his respond, unless of course he asks for a comment. He hasn't responded yet.
Here is a short introduction to Ray Comfort's misunderstandings as presented in the movie.
I recommend that you first watch the film. It can be found on the official Living Waters webpage here.
All in all this is one of the worst examples of manipulation I have come across.
If it shows anything, it shows a creationist who have no respect for other people:
The picture of evolution is completely distorted (remember that even if you find an idea silly, wrong, fraudulent or otherwise bad, you still have to present it correctly).
It is presented as if it is a coincidence that plants produce oxygen and organic matter from CO2 and water, by means of solar energy, and animals do the opposite: break down organic matter and thereby releasing CO2, water and energy.
What would the chance be of such a system coming up by accident!
If you know a little about evolution, you would know how this is thought to have come around.
Here is the short version of the history, which tells why this presentation is based on a profoundly ignorant idea about evolution.
The first prokaryotic life (Prokaryote = without a nucleus, that is Bacteria and Archaea) was anaerobic (life without oxygen). Extracting energy by various forms of chemical reactions without oxygen. Along came photosynthesis (admitted, I don’t know how it evolved). The slowly rising oxygen level in the ocean was a problem for some organisms, which survived in places where oxygen levels were low. Others adjusted to the new environment and evolved ways to break down organic matter, using oxygen (aerobic). The benefit of that is huge. Using oxygen extracts more energy from organic matter than any other chemical reaction.
It is by no way a coincidence. One (aerobic decomposition of organic matter) evolved as a response to the other (photosynthesis).
Of course, it is relevant to ask about the details of how these two systems evolved. But that is not what Ray Comfort does. He just claims that it is a fantastic coincidence.
It paints a picture of ‘Atheists’ views on evolution that is
so distorted, that it can only be either ignorance or a will to misinform.
He ask tough questions to a lot of people with not much education, and he doesn’t give them a chance to think before they answer. He just put one question on top of the other, repeatedly.
The aim clearly is to leave the impression that the interviewed cannot answer, while the impression it actually leaves is that the interviewer, Ray Comfort, doesn't want them to think about an answer - they might come up with one.
I cannot escape the feeling of being manipulated. That these people either have been carefully instructed, or carefully selected. Selected in the sense that if anyone actually knew about evolution and Origin of Life theories and therefore could give adequate answers, they were deleted.
One example (the woman appearing about 6½ minutes into the film): Here the person actually comes up with some sort of an answer, RC immediately changes the subject
RC: Do you believe DNA happened by accident?
Woman: No, I think that it developed over the course of many many millennia of evolution and development!
RC: DNA exists in every living thing. Its origin don't matter, the fact that there is intelligent information tells us there must have been an intelligent designer.
If the origin of DNA don't (sic!) matter, why did RC ask about the origin?
The minute the woman actually tries to start an answer, he changes the subject and tells the woman what to think.
Also, the way he asks leaves the impression that DNA in various organisms must have originated independently.
According to the video. Life is mostly birds and mammals. In reality, that is only about 15,000 of at least 1,500,000 species of animals (excluding Plants, Fungi, Protists, Bacteria and Archaea).
Asking people a line of questions that is not followed by the relevant information, and not giving them any time to reflect over the answer, is manipulation.
A person who believes that according to evolution ‘DNA happened by accident’ do not know much about evolution and ‘origin of life’ research.
'Nothing created everything!' Just because we don’t understand how, doesn’t make it wrong. At the very moment of BigBang all known laws of physics brakes down. We don't know - perhaps the creation of energy is permitted under such circumstances!
Here’s an example:
It seems counterintuitive that something could be in one position and a little later be in another position, without at any time obtaining any other position in between (or elsewhere). However, according to quantum mechanics, that is what electrons do all the time.
Then there is a short part of an interview with Lawrence Krauss (full interview here - patience; it starts about 16 minutes into the video):
Asked if DNA can be formed spontaneously, he uses a brilliant picture of a snowflake. Of course, a bit out
of the line of what the interviewer are aiming at, which is information. But that is due to Ray Comfort not asking the right question. And here he leaves Krauss.
Comfort knows that if he asked him the tough question: "Where did the information come from" Krauss would be able to give an answer, and the interviewer doesn’t want that because that would destroy his point, which is the usual (wrong) postulation that information needs an intelligent informer.
(Random sequences of amino acids, that is proteins, have been shown to contain information).
Then it changes to uninformed postulation, in the form of more questions to people.
What came first, chicken or egg? This is such a stupid manipulation. The interviewed persons are apparently
quite ignorant regarding evolution.
This is where the sense of manipulation is strongest. The people he asks are so confused about the question, that they certainly cannot be studying biology.
Based on knowledge of evolution, the answer is actually quite simple. Animals lay eggs long before birds evolved. Birds evolved from dinosaurs, which lay eggs. The egg is therefor much older than the chicken.
The relevant, and tough, question would be: ‘How did birds evolve?’ Or ‘How did eggs evolve?’ But that is not the question Mr. Comfort asks.
If this shows anything, it shows either the interviewers willingness to manipulate; or his (and the persons interviewed) total lack of understanding of evolution. It seems as if he thinks that evolution tells us, that the first chicken sprang into existence suddenly out of nowhere.
How did I see before I had eyes? Is the next stupid question.
Eyes evolved early in the chordate line (Humans are Vertebrates, Vertebrates are Chordates - therefor this is the relevant group to look at), probably by a process something like that described by Darwin 150 years ago. Lots of animals do fine without eyes.
The good (and hard) question would be: 'How did eyes evolve'? But to ask that you need just a little bit of understanding of evolution, therefor Ray Comfort doesn't ask that. It simply doesn't come into his mind.
The good counter-question would be: 'Why are there so many different kinds of eyes?'
Or: ‘Why are the simplest eyes so incredibly simple (just a single light sensitive cell attached to a cell with cilia), compared to the Human eye?’
Next question. This time it actually makes sense: "What about blood and heart, what came first?" What use is a heart without blood? How do the blood get around the body with no heart?
But again, knowledge of evolution solves it. At least at the first level of understanding, it is pretty simple. The first chordates to have blood probably looked something like a Lancelet. Fossils of Lancelet-like creatures have been found in Cambrian sediments. Lancelets have a circular system but no real heart (a structure called 'sinus venosus'). Aorta, the artery leading blood from Sinus venosus is contractile, but there is no heart chambers or valves. The circulation is probably aided by muscle activity. We still have such a system (the skeletal muscle pump) helping a more efficient blood circulation during work. Blood lacks hemoglobin and probably its prime function is to carry away waste products. The next level of questioning: "How were the details? How did blood evolve? How did blood-vessels form a heart?" is of course much harder. But Ray Comfort doesn't ask any of those.
The question not only reveals that the interviewer has a purpose to manipulate. He also is ignorant of the evolution of vertebrates.
"Did the first chicken have lungs?" Bla bla bla - give the man a chance to think before you ask the next question.
Given the chance, a person with a good understanding and knowledge of evolution (not necessarily an expert) could answer all of that.
"You have to translate that to elephants, horses, cats, cows, humans, every living thing". Why only mention mammals? Because if he mentioned Lancelets,
Fish or Tunicates (if the person was a biologists, he would know what a tunicate is) it would lead to the answer.
And here it is clear that Ray Comfort thinks that every single species (he would say 'kind' but it makes no difference) needed to evolve lungs, heart, eyes and so on, from scratch. Which is of course nonsense, as all the mentioned animals are mammals that has a common ancestor, which already had, eyes, lungs, heart, blood etc. But otherwise the "You have to translate that ..." makes no sense.
Can you think of anything that is not fully evolved? What a nonsense question. What would a not-fully-evolved organism look like? If you don't know what to look for, how would you know if you found it? But you can actually try to answer it. As mentioned the lancelet has blood, but no heart, so it is in this foolish sense, not fully evolved. Also, as mentioned, the most simple light sensitive organ in multicellular organisms is only a single light sensitive neural cell connected to a cell with cilia (mark: no brain involved), in Ragworm Larvae . Is that a 'fully evolved' eye? Some insects and birds can see ultraviolet light. Humans cannot. Does that mean that our eyes are not 'fully evolved'? The concept doesn't make any sense!
"You are a moral being, not like a dog or a cat." Doesn’t a cat care about its cubs? Of course it does. All mammals and most Birds do. Even crocodiles, some snakes and lizards, even fish protect their young.
"People get the wrong image of God." I find this part uninteresting. The interviewer is just lecturing his personal religious ideas. And on top of that, he patronizes the interviewed persons by telling them that he knows that they know he is right. Isn’t pretending to know people better than they know themselves, pride. Isn’t pride a sin?
Studying nature to make good designs shows nothing about where those natural designs came from. "He has given us literally all things to enjoy!" Like malaria and the rest?
Then Mr. Comfort goes on to the amazing properties of earth that supports life. However, he doesn’t mention any attempt to calculate the number of planets in the universe (probably billions of billions). In addition, Origin of Life is pictured as the first living cell popping into existence with no precursor. No one have believed that for more than a century.
Then comes the distorted picture of evolution mentioned in the beginning (The O2 - CO2 example).
Another example: The reason why so many plants (including fruits and vegetables) are highly nutritious to humans, and other animals, is of course that we evolved to eat this, and therefore to benefit from whatever ingredients happens to be in there. If fruits with various compounds are a daily part of your diet, it is not such a big deal that you evolve to benefit from it, and eventual become dependent (which is why we call such compounds 'vitamins').
The rest is about religion.
Most of the correctness of the Bible is either wishful interpretation or poetry.
"Do you think you will go to heaven?" If I were asked that question, I would respond: "How do you think your rebirth would be, if you were a Buddhist?"
Concluding with more personal religious views.
This is probably out of context (though I cannot think of a context than can excuse it), but take a look at this, and judge the intellectual capacity of Ray Comfort yourself.
By the way, look up the continuation of the citation from Darwin at the end of the video here p. 215. Be careful to read the following pages and see how manipulating this out-of-context citation is.