While preparing myself to watch Ray Comfort’s new video, The Atheist Delusion, I visited his Facebook page. His cover graphic had a note for atheists:
Atheists: Cuss (incl. “BS”), mock even slightly, fail to give God or Jesus caps, and you will be banned. Thanks for understanding.
I can understand wanting to keep your page family-friendly by banning bad language. The rest is bullshit (sorry, Ray). You cannot even slightly mock god (dammit, sorry again Ray!) or discuss his ridiculous ideas in any way that might sound like mockery. And he’s serious too. You can’t even use the word bibliophile without getting threatened with a ban. Because being called a lover of books is deeply offensive to someone as intellectually deficient dishonest as Ray.
Good thing my blog has no such rules. I do capitalize Jesus because it’s a proper name. God is not a name and the word could refer to any one of the thousands of gods humanity cooked up over the millennia. It will not be capitalized. Because this movie is bullshit I might be using the word bullshit fairly often. Because Ray is a smug, arrogant asshole who condescends to atheists I will also be using the word fuck on occasion. Usually in the context of “Oh fuck you, Ray!” You have been warned.
You can watch the entire video on YouTube (or below) if you’d like context:
The One Question that will DESTROY Atheism
The video starts with a montage of young atheists on a college campus (and one grumpy old guy). He asks if they would change their mind if shown compelling evidence. Like reasonable people, they all say yes.
Then comes THE ONE “SCIENTIFIC” QUESTION… “Look at this book. Do you think this book could have formed by accident?”
Oh god. Did we really have to dive into the stupidity in the first 5 minutes? Foreplay, Ray! Foreplay.
If this supposedly new question sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the watchmaker argument lazily wrapped in a new package. The watchmaker argument is a form of the teleological argument or argument from design. Basically, if there is the appearance of design then there must be a designer and that designer must be god.
It’s an old argument dating back to pre-Christian philosophy. Socrates discussed the idea and it’s believed he was examining an older idea. Scientists and atheists have answers for the claim. At this point, I’d say the idea has been thoroughly debunked in many different ways. I’ve touched on the subject on this blog. Richard Dawkins wrote a book about it in 1986, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design. TalkOrigins.org has a nice response as well.
He then compares a published book to DNA (aka the instruction book for life). From here forward he will refer to DNA as the book of life or instruction book for life over and over again. He’s really trying to drive this metaphor home. It’s almost as if he’s saying:
Sure, I know the watchmaker argument has been thoroughly discredited, but what if the watch was a book? Huh? Checkmate, atheists!
He asks the same atheists if they think DNA could have formed by accident. They say no with no further explanation. Really? All these atheists automatically agree with your premise? I smell video editing.
Old grumpy guy says no and adds, “that would be like an explosion happening and a 747 just comes together by accident without some intelligent thought behind it.” If this guy’s an atheist and not a Ray Comfort plant then WHY THE FUCK is he using a stock creationist response to refute his own position? Crazy pants.
When asked if she thinks DNA formed by accident, dark-haired college girl responds, “No, I think it developed over the course of many, many millennia of evolution and development.”
Ray’s response to her answer sums up his entire position (starting at 7:19 in the video):
He has to make a few logical leaps to go from book to DNA to god. All supposition with no evidence provided.
We get a montage of Ray stumping the college students. He asks what they would think of someone claiming a book made itself. “Impossible!” they say. He asks them what they would say to someone who claims that the instruction book for life, DNA, made itself? Most of them say something like “uh, also impossible? That doesn’t make sense either.” “That’s atheism!” exclaims Ray.
No Ray, that’s being unsure of how abiogenesis happened and not knowing how to answer your bullshit question. Atheism is the lack of a belief in gods. It isn’t believing DNA created itself. Nice try, though.
Ray says, “I don’t want to win an argument. I just want you to concede something that’s absolute common sense.”
Something Cannot Come From Nothing
“You’re an atheist so you believe the scientific impossibility that NOTHING created EVERYTHING.” Nice way to put it, Ray. That phrasing was totally not insulting.
We get a rehashing of another old idea – the first cause argument. We were promised new ideas, but so far he hasn’t delivered. We’ve all heard this from our families, apologists, and internet trolls. It goes like this: Everything that has a beginning had a cause. The universe had a beginning, so it must have had a first cause. That first cause was god.
Again, it takes a leap of logic to get from “a cause” to “god” with no evidence in-between.
We’re treated to a clip of Richard Dawkins where’s he’s debating Cardinal Pell. This specific clip was also featured on The Unbelievers documentary. Dawkins explains that the idea of something from nothing is counterintuitive and mysterious. He tried to explain that the “nothing” at the beginning of the universe wasn’t actually nothing. The audience starts laughing at him.
Ray’s voiceover states that it’s a case of “The Emperor Has No Clothes” and someone should explain to this man who has deceived millions that he is talking foolishness. Big talk coming from the banana man. The difference is that Ray didn’t present his stupid banana idea in front of a live hostile audience. Believe me, Ray, we all laughed at you.
Hitting back at the big bang, Ray says, “Every explosion I’ve heard of creates chaos, not order.”
Yes, explosions are destructive. On earth, an explosion causes chaos. We know this through observation. Do you know what else we’ve observed? The fact that supernova, exploding stars, propel elements like oxygen, magnesium, silicon, calcium and iron out into the universe. If stars hadn’t exploded planets would not have formed. The elements found on earth, including those in living creatures, wouldn’t be here without those explosions. You can click here for an article explaining the process or watch the video below.
Ray interviewed Lawrence Krauss at Reason Rally 2016. Krauss has said that his friends told him not to do the interview because Ray notoriously edits video to make people look extremely stupid. He did it anyway and it seems Ray gave him a mostly fair cut. There’s a first time for everything.
He asks Krauss if he’s open to evidence. Like the college students (and all reasonable people) he says yes. Ray asks the book question – could this book have come together by accident – and Krauss’s answer is apt, but comes across as defensive. He obviously sees the hook coming and is trying to preempt the dishonest leap Ray’s about to make, but Ray uses his defensiveness to paint him as belligerent.
Ray says DNA is called the book of life (one time by David Attenborough, as a metaphor) so how could it make itself? Krauss’s answer is beautiful. “DNA doesn’t make itself any more than a snowflake makes itself. A snowflake is a beautiful, beautiful thing and it’s assembled by nature. It doesn’t make itself. It’s the laws of physics and chemistry, polar molecules that make this incredibly beautiful, complex structure.” He goes on to say that “the illusion of design is an illusion.” A point more elaborately told by Richard Dawkins in The Greatest Show on Earth and The Blind Watchmaker.
Ray contests (as a voiceover, not during the interview) that yes, the snowflake is formed by natural processes, but DNA can’t be because it contains ‘information’. Where does this information come from? Its origin is CERTAINLY supernatural.
That’s a leap, Ray. A big leap with no evidence leading you from one thought to the next.
Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
Seriously, we’re going there. What is my life right now?
Ray asks his sample group of easily confused college atheists what came first, the chicken or the egg? Big scientific questions in this video, guys. BIG scientific questions.
One person (correctly) answers egg. Ray asks if that egg was fertilized? Well, yeah. Unfertilized eggs don’t give you living creatures. Ray says if the egg was fertilized then there had to be a rooster, right? The atheist looks confused but agrees. Did he just cut anyone with the ability to logic out of this video? Of course he did. Why am I even asking?
He asks one particularly compliant interviewee before the chicken had eyes, how did it see? First of all, there was no point at which chickens, as a species, didn’t have eyes. A chicken didn’t evolve into some vaguely chicken form and then start evolving each organ one at a time. Eyeless chickens didn’t evolve into sighted chickens. Why do I have to explain this to an adult man? He talks about the brain, lungs, etc in keeping with the misguided notion that chickens needed to evolve major organs one step at a time.
Sticking to the original question about the eye – the eye, in general, began to form in simpler organisms and became more complex over generations of multiple species. I feel like Ray was hinting at the idea of irreducible complexity and missed the mark by a mile.
Ray keeps saying that living things “evolved from the stars” and even said, “let’s go back to something more simple, regarding that first chicken that came from the stars”. Clearly, at some point, he heard Carl Sagan say that we all came from star stuff and completely misinterpreted what he meant.
He asks the same dopey kid, can you think of anything on earth that isn’t fully evolved? FULLY EVOLVED? No one who has the slightest clue how evolution works would ask such a ridiculous question. Evolution isn’t working towards some perfect lifeform. It is an ongoing, never-ending process. Nothing is ever fully evolved.
Gish Gallop to the Finish Line
At this point, Ray jumps from one topic and interviewee to the next in rapid fire style. He attacked atheists on morality, insists they aren’t really atheists, and weirdly insists that atheists worship totem poles or the sun because they have to worship something. Yeah, I worship a fucking totem pole. You caught me.
It’s strange and I’m going to skip over most of it. It’s bullshit, but it also makes me angry. The next few paragraphs would just be “fuck you, Ray” over and over again. Here’s one highlight for thoroughness.
Ray tells one of the atheists, “like you, I was running from god too.” We’re not running from someone who doesn’t exist. If you’re running from your imaginary friend you probably need psychiatric help.
“You’re like that person who takes the batteries out of the smoke detector because he doesn’t like being alarmed by the smoke detector.”
First, fuck you. Second, no one fucking does that. No one.
“When he goes to sleep and there’s a fire there’s nothing to warn him. And you’re going to go to sleep without that conscience telling you what to do because you’ve dulled it. You’ve taken the batteries out.”
Implying atheists have no conscience is false and offensive. If the atheist you were interviewing didn’t have a conscience he might have punched you in the face.
He immediately switches to a different atheist, tells him the bible calls him a fool and explains it’s because he doesn’t know right from wrong. Again, he didn’t punch you in the face, so a conscience must be lurking in his evil atheist brain somewhere, right?
The Sentient Puddle
After the morality interlude, Ray gets back to bashing science. He continues to condescend about science and evolution.
I think I figured out the problem here. Ray starts with the assumption that the earth and even the universe exists to benefit mankind. When considering big bang cosmology, abiogenesis, and evolution he can’t let go of his core belief that everything exists for us. That skewed perspective prevents him from seeing the facts of evolution as we know them.
At one point he asks how air evolved! He thinks air exists because we need to breathe it. He thinks food exists because we need to eat it. His thinking is backward to the point that he can’t even see opposing perspectives. He can only view evolution from a strict theistic perspective and therefore seems ridiculous to him.
My favorite Douglas Adams quote sums it up:
Quick note, when the video showed a photo of “god-given” fruit there wasn’t a banana in sight. He’s really distancing himself from the banana man label. Sorry, Ray. You’ll always be the banana man to me.
He tells one atheist, “did you know the bible’s full of scientific facts that weren’t discovered until thousands of years later.”
The atheist looks flabbergasted. You know, like the earth being flat, bats are birds, rabbits chew their cud, etc. Those kinds of ‘scientific facts’? His examples are dubious post-hoc rationalizations.
Seriously, Ray? Can you not use Google? There is gravity in space. That’s why the moon orbits the earth and the earth orbits the sun. It’s why we have solar systems and black holes. I hate to call someone dumb, but… He did premiere The Atheist Delusion at the Ark Encounter. I’m just throwing that out there.
Hell is SCARY
The music becomes ominous and creepy. I know what’s coming. The hell talk. Ray tries to scare all the atheists into repenting because hell is scary. They seem genuinely freaked out. Come on, guys. Use your brains.
Ray talks about torture, rape, and death in obsessive detail. Seriously, he brings up rape nearly a dozen times in this 5-minute segment. He asks an atheist, “if a man rapes and kills your mother he should be punished”. Jesus Christ, Ray! WTF?
He talks about rape with every atheist he’s interviewing. How many times can you mention rape in one video? He can’t go 30 seconds without saying rape.
Repent of Your Wicked Atheism You Reprobate Atheists!
The last third of the video is Ray insulting the moral character of the atheists he’s interviewing, scaring them with hell, then attempting to convert them to his version of Christianity.
The music changes again. It’s light and happy and hopeful. Insert obligatory gospel story. Will he succeed in converting these atheists? Probably. They haven’t come across as too bright so far.
We cut back to the atheists he’s been interviewing. Ray asks, “do you know what Jesus did to keep sinners from going to hell?”
Every atheist in the video says no. These white American college students have never once heard the Jesus story? BULL. SHIT. Seriously, these are actors, right? Just reading an idiotic script. Why aren’t the interviewees’ names displayed? I want to see their Twitter (and IMDB) pages.
Ray asks each one to give up their evil atheism and follow Jesus. Surprise, surprise! They all agree. Dumbasses. I can understand changing your mind based on compelling evidence, but if you can be swayed by lazy metaphors and emotional manipulation then you need to up your skepticism game, son.
What’s the Verdict?
We learned nothing new. Ray got his happy Christian ending. The atheists look like idiots. And I wasted an hour of my time.