Book Review: “How to Know God Exists: Scientific Proof of God” by Ray Comfort
In this book, Ray Comfort hopes (and fails) to provide a case that the existence of God can be proven scientifically. Throughout the book, he repeats many of his old arguments that are known to be flawed and refuted a thousand times.
Comfort further displays a great lack of understanding of science throughout the book. He bashes and targets atheism and evolution, as if disproving one position makes his win by default. Evolution does not disprove God; many Christians accept evolution and believe in God. Evolution, however, does contradict and refute a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, and this is precisely what Ray Comfort is defending; creationism. Creationism is the position that everything was created by God out of thin air from nothing. The book of Genesis has God saying “Let there be…” and there was and it was good. This is a form of an incantation (i.e. MAGIC), and thus Comfort is arguing for a supernatural position with science, but it is clear science cannot prove the supernatural.
Ray Comfort, in this book title, is implying we can “know” god exists. However, knowledge is demonstratable. If you claim to know something you can empirically demonstrate it to the rest of us. For instance, I know if I take off my hat and drop it, it will fall to the ground every time I repeat this. If Ray Comfort knows there is a god (which I doubt) then he should be able to demonstrate it to us. Spoiler: all it boils down to is blind faith.
Chapter 1: Are Atheists Smarter than Most?
Comfort starts off by telling a story of his wife and a series of events in his life. One of these includes accidentally walking into a room with a couple in their underwear. Based on this, Comfort calls himself a klutz, but could a klutz make a case against evolution?
Actually, Comfort, the correct question would be whether if a scientific-illiterate willfully ignorant deceiver can make any case against the strongest scientific theory in modern science? Ray Comfort has no degree in biology, nor any degree in science because Ray never sough an education higher than high school (he doesn’t even have a theology degree)… yet he always arrogantly attacks a well-established scientific biological fact and flat-out denies or willfully misinterprets what all the relevant scientific experts have to explain and demonstrate the fact of evolution. In other words, Ray Comfort is essentially no different than a “Flat Earther.” Ray’s not a “klutz,” he’s a lying maniac.
(and there are, no exaggeration, tons of examples of Ray Comfort deliberately misinterpreting what experts say in order to confuse his audience for me to choose from. But the smoking gun can be in one of his books where Ray Comfort shameless admits he quote-mines scientists in order to make the scientists sound like they agree with Ray with in reality they don’t. You can read this admission in the Introduction of one of Ray’s book here.)
For years Ray Comfort has desperately tried to make a case against evolution, one being the banana, humiliating himself in the process. Every time Ray has presented anything, he’s always been utterly refuted then tries to weasel out of his error only to dig himself deeper into a hole. The moral of the story is; this “Kiwi klutz” has no chance in making a case against evolution (for those who don’t know, New Zealanders call themselves Kiwis).
Second of all, if Ray Comfort could make a solid case against evolution (which he never did or could), that would not prove his god. The title of the book is “How to Know God Exists” – rather than addressing atheology or the like, he resorts to bashing a scientific theory instead of providing positive evidence that his god exists. If evolution were false, that would not make the god hypothesis win by default. Use your imagination, life could have been made by time-travelers instead of gods. Raelians believe life was created by aliens. Hindus believe in many gods. There are many other possibilities to how life could have started – I firmly accept the reality that the mythical fables of Genesis or creationism is not one of the possibilities of how life could have started. The point is, Ray Comfort can swing at any number of the other natural scenarios of the origin of life, but he does not provide any positive evidence for his god in return. Until he provides proof of his god, Christianity doesn’t automatically win by default.
Comfort outlines that if there is no God, then the only purpose in life is pleasure. However, if there is a God, then we are morally obliged to him.
This is incorrect. A world in which no gods exist (which is this the case for our present reality) does not mean we exclude what we are: we are communal animals. In Ray Comfort’s mind, he thinks that we would just act like animals and our world will basically be Sodom and Gomorrah.
What is the purpose of life without a God? How about simply living and experience? What would be the point of life if the purpose of it was not to live? How you live your life is another story. Some could devote their entire lives to meditation and selflessness.
If there is a god, why would we be morally obliged to him – especially if it gave us free will? I do not have children, but if I had a child, it would never cross my mind that my child is forever bound to my will. Anyone who has a child knows that eventually you cannot hold onto them forever and one day they will be set free.
Mr. Joe Average
Comfort creates a character Joe Average, a typical atheist or agnostic.
With this hypothetical creation, Comfort creates a fictional character whose intellect and knowledge is limited and restricted entirely by Comfort’s will (i.e. Ray is crafting a strawman to his liking), and will likely make Joe Average give the type of “critical” responses that Comfort will easily break down. This will make Joe Average, the atheist, seem on a lower level of intelligence than Ray Comfort. Rather than sharing an actual conversation with a thinking being, Ray Comfort resorts to imagination. (In fact, whenever Ray has a conversation with a thinking atheist, he never makes a solid case for his god).
Joe does not think about creation (perhaps, Comfort, it is because he knows there is no creation), but Comfort says Joe’s body is a miracle machine. Comfort compares it to a robot built in Japan. The differences between the two is that Joe has certain senses and can walk upright without someone holding it up. Comfort goes into detail of the human anatomy and concludes this could only be the work of a designer.
The human body is not a “miracle machine.” It is a natural biological product that formed through natural processes via natural selection.
Mankind has given robots certain senses, such as light-sensitivity, movement sensors, and such. Recent robots have been manufactured to walk, dance, and perform tricks without a human holding it.
Comfort here is resorting to the whole “the body looks complex, it must have a designer.” What Ray has failed to do is actually provide positive evidence that it was specifically designed. Unfortunately for Ray, all these “complex details” of the human anatomy is the result of evolution – which we can prove and has been proven.
Comfort goes on to look closely at Joe’s life at breakfast, and how everything he eats came from a living creature. Joe then examines his environment with his senses, which Comfort always calls “God-given.” When asked to provide proof that God created the cow that produced the butter for Joe’s toast, Comfort challenges anyone to create a cow from nothing.
Our senses are not “God-given” for the simple fact that there is no proof that any god exists. With no god, there are no “god-given” whatevers. For the sake or argument, lets say there is some supreme being, for all we know Ray Comfort cannot prove that its actually Krishna or something similar. All he can do is resort to blind faith in a man-made book written by superstitious Bronze-Age men.
“Create a cow from nothing” – Comfort knows what he is demanding is completely ridiculous and unobtainable – in all honesty, this demand is very immature and intellectually-free.
Comfort is the one who is defending magical creation, thus it is he who has to provide empirical proof of creation and present that some material can be created from nothing. We’ve never seen anything “created”. No one has ever seen a complex life-form (or anything else) magically pop out of thin air – violating the conservation of matter. But that’s what creationists are arguing for! Talismans, incantations, elemental component spells, enchantments, clairvoyance and prophesies all consistently fail every test. Yet, creationists like Ray Comfort still boost that their favorite fable character conducted a magical incantation and SPOKE everything into being out of nothing. Their position willingly violates the conservation of matter, inserts the untestable magical-supernatural realm, and yet they have the gall to say “I don’t have to prove it, rather YOU cannot create X out of nothing, therefor I win.”
Comfort provides a poll from 2007 that 91 percent of the American population believes in God. Comfort questions if this minority is smarter than the majority. Comfort defines an atheist as “someone who believes there is no God.”
However, a recent poll shows it is close to 80%, another showing 36% of the country are non-religious.
This is not necessarily correct, an atheist may be someone who does not believe in god, but more commonly it is a person who lacks belief in a God (any god, not just Comfort’s god). Just as a person lacks a belief in the Mystical Mind-Controlling Squid living on Pluto, no one would argue they ”believe” he does not exist, they are just unconvinced that he does exist.
Are minorities smarter than the majority? They very well can be. In much of the world, even people who accept evolution and a natural origin for stars and worlds are a minority. How likely is it that non-creationists are right when so much of the world is wrong? Of course, this argument has its problems: four hundred years ago, heliocentrists were a minority. Evidence, not mere numbers giving uninformed assent, is relevant here. Comfort varies the appeal to the wisdom of the masses with an appeal to the wisdom of geniuses: Einstein, he assures us, believed in God. Not necessarily a personal God, not a God Who inspired an inerrant Holy Bible, and especially not a God Who judged and forgave us, but Something that Einstein thought was not quite the same as the universe itself (Einstein did not want to call himself a pantheist). Oddly, Comfort doesn’t present us with Einstein’s arguments for God (or perhaps this is not so odd, as Einstein didn’t actually present such arguments), but appeals to the authority of cosmologists as he appeals to the authority of popular opinion.
Comfort ends this section by saying that there is proof of God and his existence can be proven.
We have heard that one before Comfort, even many times from you. Comfort proposed that he could prove the existence of God on Nightline with a debate with the Rational Response Squad without invoking faith or the Bible (spoiler: that did not happen and Comfort failed to prove God).
Comfort first notes that the reader should keep an open mind throughout the book.
This is coming from a guy who refuses to even consider the actual evidence science presents. Comfort says that no theory claims to have absolute truth, which is actually correct. However, this honesty is short-lived. Comfort says science is constantly refining what a theory is. The more appropriate word is update when new data is collected, but if a model no longer provides a provable explanation for things, a new model replaces it. The various models within evolution have changed over the last 150 years, and are at times the topic of serious debate between evolutionary biologists, however, the basic theory that life has evolved from one or a few common ancestors has not changed, and we continue to find evidence that support evolution and we observe speciation today.
Comfort says God’s existence can be proven in the following fields of science,
*Physical sciences (physics)
*Earth sciences (the structure and compositions of earth)
*Life sciences (biology)
Comfort says the origin of the word “science” comes from the Latin word ”scientificus” which means “producing knowledge.”
This is incorrect. Science actually comes from the Latin word ”scientia”, meaning “knowledge.”
What Ray does not understand is that science makes no comment on the supernatural, and thus all of Comforts “sciences” above will be futile in proving the existence of God.
Comfort’s first proposed evidence for the existence of God is the Anthropic principle.
This principle is defeated simply because it is a tautology, weakened by the fact of quantum mechanics and the multiverse. The Copernican Principle is more accurate. The Copernican Principle is the opposite of the Anthropic Principle and states that humans do not occupy a privileged place in the universe. Successive astronomical discoveries seem to support this principle. The Anthropic Principle emphasizes the rarity of life and consciousness while the Copernican Principle forces us to realize it was not all done just so we could exist.
According to Comfort, there are three types of knowledge that each can prove the existence of God,
The first evidence for God, Comfort will examine is “creation” in the next section.
Millions of Years
Comfort begins this section with his Coca-cola can analogy
This is a straw-man of the Big Bang Theory. Comfort’s analogy is not even a hypothesis. This is how it goes: there was nothing, which exploded and produced everything. Over billions of years, a big rock forms. On top of this rock forms a muddy puddle, from which metal arises. Then red and white paints fall from the sky and land on the metal, so accurately it forms words and pattens. And thus, the modern Coke can is formed. The response Comfort provides is that his analogy is ridiculous. Comfort tries to turns the table by saying: we know the coke can had a maker, to believe it formed on its own by random chance is too move into an intellectual-free zone. By this logic, does lightning have a lightning maker? What about the patterns we see in snowflakes and crystals, and yet we know for a fact they form from natural forces. If we accept the idea that everything must have a creator, Comfort fails to provide any proof that the creator is his narrow concept of God, or if it is even his God or multiple Gods, or even aliens, gnomes, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Comfort calls this analogy a “parody of evolution.”
However, this is not a parody, it is a straw man, and it is not even about evolution. As explained to Comfort many times, evolution is not connected to Cosmology or Abiogenesis. Whenever the term evolution is applied in these fields it simply means “change over time.” At all times, everything is subject to change. The Big Bang Theory does not say everything came from nothing, creationism does.}}
Comfort moves on from the Coke can and mentions on his show Way of the Master that Comfort used this argument along with another analogy using the banana.
The banana fallacy is exactly what got Ray Comfort his nickname (Banana-man) when awareness of his existence skyrocketed amongst the atheist and skeptic community, and in return criticism soared through the Internets utterly refuting his argument and handing his ass back to him. Ray Comfort suffered a great deal of humiliation. First he tried to deny he made the banana argument, claiming it was a hoax created by atheists. When that lie was exposed, he even had to publish an “apology” video and acknowledged the fact that the yellow banana is in fact a product of evolution.
It is also very funny that many people outside the atheist and skeptic community know of the banana argument and how ridiculous it is (I’ve personally met dozens and dozens) but they have never heard of Ray Comfort.
Comfort appeals to authority by quoting Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein as men who believed there was a Creator. While Ray admits that Einstein did not believe in a personal God, Ray tries to portray him in that sort of life, such as by quoting friends of Einstein who viewed Einstein as a “disguised theologian.” The reason why they accepted a creator, according to Ray, was because they could see order and design in the universe.
Neither of these points present a shred of proof for a creator. We may seen design in the universe, but that does not mean the universe as a whole was designed. For instance, we see very complex design and distinct patterns in snowflakes and crystals, but they both form naturally without any interference of a designer.
We also see massive amounts of non-design and disorder in the universe, which could be argued to disprove an intelligent designer, or at least present a legitimate argument that the universe cannot be the result of design.
Comfort uses his old arguments that a building had a builder and a painting had a painter, similarly creation proves there is a creator. Comfort says you do not need faith to believe in a creator, you just need eyes that can see and a brain that works.
As already pointed out to him, in a debate with the Rational Response Squad and many others, we can prove that a building had a builder. We can contact the engineer, cities parking structure, the electrician, and others. We can do the same with a painting, we can contact the canvas maker, the paint maker, the artist, etc. However, we cannot contact God to take us to his “creation factory.” This point was pushed onto Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, to which they had no response to provide – and YET they were the ones who claimed they could prove their god scientifically without invoking faith or the Bible. The ONLY reason why Ray Comfort labels the universe a creation is because of Genesis.
One other point, can we prove a building without a builder? I respond, why limit this to a building? How about a bridge. Can anyone prove a bridge without a bridge maker? May sound just as unlikely as the building, but nope. In fact, there are hundreds of examples in nature were bridges form naturally without a bridge maker. Simple good “natural arch.”
(As far as I know, I am the one who came up with this bridge argument. In all my research into Ray Comfort and all his critics, I could not find a single reference to bridges or anything similar – but I admit I could be mistaken and someone out there beat me to the punch.)
The reason why his creation requires a creator argument fails is that Ray, basing his views on a presupposition, is merely assume everything as a creation and labeling it so. Simply labeling something does not change its character or its origin. Ray says that accepting his “creation requires a creator” argument is “logical, reasonable, and scientific.”
First of all, this argument begs the question of which creator? Ray cannot provide any tests to point that the creator is his narrow version of a creator and not some invisible sky pixie, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or multiple creators. The reason why his argument is not reasonable or logical is because it has no evidence to support itself, contains several logical fallacies, and it breaks down the moment you bring God into question. Ray says God did not have a creator, so then why can’t energy have no creator? The law of physics already states that energy cannot be created, and matter is composed of energy, so therefore the universe does not require a creator nor did it come from “nothing.” The reason why Ray’s argument is not scientific is because he has not and cannot provide any empirical data or falsifiable tests to prove that there is a creator(s). During a debate with the Atheist Experience, Ray admitted that all the testing that is requires is “common sense.” This, of course, is ludicrous. Common sense at one point told us that the earth was fixed and stationary and all other objects orbited around our planet. However, as new data was collected and tests were done, we learned that what we previously once believed was not true. Everything we have learned about our universe does not hint or provide any reason that our universe was the product of some divine creation. Science has proven that our universe can arise naturally without any supernatural intervention.}}
Chapter 2: Absurd in the Highest Degree
Based on the heading of this chapter, anyone familiar with the creation vs. science debate knows where this is going. This chapter mainly addresses intelligent design and the human eye. Ray Comfort goes into detail about how marvelous the eye is, how fast blinking is, the light sensitive cells, sight, etc. He has repeated this argument many times, but nitpicking bits of the human body is rather pointless. Comfort has used this argument many times, and it is still unconvincing as ever. What he does not include is the flaws in the human eye, such as a blind spot (Ray Comfort outright denies we have blind spots), or that images are sent to our brains backwards and upside down.
Moving on, Comfort includes several quote mines; most notable is the one from Charles Darwin.
“To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.”
The quote from Darwin above is taken out of context and is a common piece of dishonest creationist propaganda. Here is the full paragraph with the omitted section in bold,
“To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.
Darwin continues with three more pages describing a sequence of plausible intermediate stages between eyelessness and human eyes, giving examples from existing organisms to show that the intermediates are viable. Scientists have shown that these stages did indeed happen through natural selection.
Besides the eye, Comfort focuses special attention on the ear and the nose.
Both bear vestiges of an evolutionary history, supported by the fossil record (as seen in the transition from reptile to mammal). Not much complexity is needed for a functional ear. All that is necessary is a nerve connected to something that can vibrate. Insects have evolved “ears” on at least eleven different parts of their bodies, from antennae to legs (Hoy and Robert 1996). Even humans detect very low frequencies via tactile sensation, not through their ears
Comfort ends the chapter by arguing that we don’t need faith to know that God exists, because the Bible declares that God’s existence is obvious from evidence.
This is obviously not true. If the evidence for God was obvious, then the matter would have been settled way before the Greek philosophers. God, as described by theists, keeps changing over the years as new data is collected. Presently, God as described by theists does not agree with the current data.
1. A God who is responsible for the complex structure of the world, especially living things, fails to agree with empirical fact that this structure can be understood to arise from simple natural processes and shows none of the expected signs of design. Indeed, the universe looks as it should look in the absence of design.
2. A God who has given humans immortal souls fails to agree with the empirical facts that human memories and personalities are determined by physical processes, that no nonphysical or extraphysical powers of the mind can be found, and that no evidence exists for an afterlife.
3. A God who miraculously and supernaturally created the universe fails to agree with the empirical fact that no violations of physical law were required to produce the universe, its laws, or its existence rather than nonexistence. It also fails to agree with established theories, based on empirical facts, which indicate that the universe began with maximum entropy and so bears no imprint of a creator.
4. A God who communicates directly with humans by means of revelation fails to agree with the fact that no claimed revelation has ever been confirmed empirically, while many have been falsified. No claimed revelation contains information that could not have been already in the head of the person making the claim.
Simply quoting a man-made book that the evidence for X is obvious and everyone knows the proof for X is self-evident is, again, pointless. People can use any number of sacred texts that make that exact same argument. Labeling the evidence for X is obvious and running around willy-nilly as if you accomplished something is immature and self-defeating.
Chapter 3: Is Evolution Scientific?
The first line of this chapter says “The foundation of atheism is the theory of evolution.”
Comfort is completely wrong, and he knows it. Atheism does not require acceptance of evolution, or vice-versa. Many Christians accept evolution, and some atheists do not. Evolution does not refute God.
The mere fact that atheism predate the theory of evolution disproves Comfort ridiculous and thoughtless claim.
The early pioneers of evolutionary science were all initially Christian, (including Darwin) and many leading proponents of modern evolutionary science are still Christian today. For example, microbiologist Dr. Ken Miller, (who testified against intelligent design creationism in Kitzmiller v. Dover) -is a Catholic. Another outspoken proponent of evolution, Dr. Robert T. Bakker, (who has PhDs from both Harvard and Yale) is not only one of the leading, and most recognizable paleontologists in the world today, but he also happens to be a Bible-believing Pentecostal preacher; though he interprets Genesis differently than literalists would. In his book, Bones, Bibles and Creation, he says that to treat the Bible as though it were common history is to degrade its eternal meaning. One of the earliest geneticists, Theodosius Dobzhansky was an Orthodox Christian who many times professed his belief that life was created by God, but that nothing in biology made sense except in light of evolution. All these men agree that even if there really is a god, and even if that god is the Christian god, and even if that god created the universe and everything in it, -which they all believe- evolution would still be at least mostly true, and creationism would still be completely wrong.
This chapter focuses on whether evolution is not only a fact, but also scientific. Comfort includes a quote that explains evolution is a historical science and we search for fossils to fit the theory. It also states evolution cannot be directly tested. Comfort argues that none of us were there at the beginning, but if we want to prove evolution is true with historical evidence, we should find evidence for the following:
*How the universe began
*How life began
*How we have such diversity of life
All of these, according to Comfort, should have evidence of random causes and natural explanations.
First of all, in order to find historical proof for the theory of evolution, finding answers for how the universe or life began IS NOT RELEVANT. The theory of evolution is only focused on the diversity of life, not how everything began. This would be like trying to find the answers to how a star forms in order to prove how germs cause diseases. The two are completely unrelated and lack of evidence for one does not damage the other.
Second of all, evolution is not a “historical” science. Evolution is happening right now, just as it always has since the dawn of life. Imagine is Ray Comfort was arguing the theory of heliocentrism is a historical science – trying to find historical proof that the earth orbits around the sun. This would completely ignore the undeniable fact that the Earth is presently orbiting about the sun right now. Or how about arguing plate tectonics, the theory of how the geological plates move, is a historical science. Not only is this not the case, but it also is missing the point that the plates continue to move right now. Scientists have observed evolution happen in real time, such as Speciation (i.e. macroevolution) both in nature and in the lab. But even if we did not observe a single instance of Speciation, we can still prove common descent. Take for example, no one has seen what Pres. Thomas Jefferson did with his slave girl Sally Hemings behind closed doors, but we know they had sex and had kids. How? We know because genetic tests of their descendants prove that Jefferson had children with his slave girl. In the same regards, we can genetically prove that humans and other primates share a common ancestor.
Third, Comfort mistakenly assumes is that the origin of the universe, life and diversity of life all must be “random.” They are not. Natural Selection is not a random system. Evolution does depend on mutations, and these do appear to be random. But each cumulative mutation may become significant factors for that organism once pitted against the dynamics of the environment in which they are introduced. Thus natural selection isn’t random; it’s deterministic. Many creationists will even admit this. And as some computer models have already shown, natural selection can actually even exceed the skills of human designers. In fact, natural selection can be so deterministic that it often leads to innovations which some perceive as evidence of intelligent design, and which even rationalists describe as though modified for intended benefit.
It has been pointed out to Comfort that evolution does not comment or even try to prove the origin of the universe or life. This is an old creationist straw man of what evolution actually explains. Evolution is not random, as Comfort constantly tries to label it. Evolution can be and has been tested countless times. Also, the “were you there?” argument fails, because we have visual images of fossils and evolution continues to this day (speciation). However, we were not there to witness creation or the birth of Jesus.
Origin of the Universe
Comfort argues that people do not accept God because they cannot comprehend an eternal being, but they will accept what scientists tell them; that the universe is eternal. Comfort says if you accept an eternal universe, it is “logically” possible to accept an eternal being like God.
What Comfort is careful not to include is Occam’s Razor that refutes the concept of an eternal being who created the universe.
If theists claim their God is eternal, why can’t the universe be eternal?
A) The universe was created by a god who is uncreated and eternal
B) The universe is uncreated and eternal
Occams Razor rules out a god creator, because it unlocks hundreds of new questions (that are mostly unanswerable and untestable). Occams Razor would say, just say a step and settle with an uncreated universe. This has been pointed out to him during a debate with the Rational Response Squad,
which left him and Kirk Cameron completely speechless with no counter argument to present – despite being asked TWICE to present a counter-argument. All they did was sit in their chairs with dumbstruck expressions with nothing to counter Occams Razor with.
Also, just merely conceiving an eternal thing does not mean all eternal concepts exist in reality. People can comprehend and conceive a unicorn, but that does not mean unicorns exist in reality.
Finally, it is completely acceptable that the universe is eternal, but Comfort argues therefore it should be logical to accept an “eternal being like God.” Despite being refuted by Occams Razor, is it still possible to believe in an eternal being like God? I would argue 100% NO. By the same logic by Ray Comfort, if you accept the universe is eternal, you should logically therefore accept the possibility of eternal beings like Vishnu or Krishna. I can already see Ray Comfort waving his hands around saying “no, no, no, no!” Unfortunately for Ray, yes, yes yes. Theoretically, you can imagine an infinite number of eternal beings that could exist. The problem is this: the laws of physics already show that matter cannot be created, while on the other hand we do not have any proof whatsoever for any eternal god-like beings. Thus far in this book, and rather throughout Ray Comfort’s religious career, he has not presented a single shred of proof for his particular god.
Comfort goes on to explain scientists have proven the universe had a beginning. Comfort brings up the question “Who created God?” but dances around it and does not answer it. Next he addresses the Big Bang Theory, which Comfort claims says everything came from nothing.
This dead horse is taking a hefty beating. The Big Bang does not say the universe came from nothing; creationism does.
The Big Bang does not prove the universe had a beginning, just the start of time in this universe, but the theory does not hold that everything had a beginning. The laws of physics state that matter cannot be created. The Big Crunch could explain that the universe is in a constant cycle of expanding and shrinking. All the matter in the universe operates like a great heart beat. All the matter is condensed to this one spot due to gravity, becomes unstable and breaks apart and expands outwards, until gravity pulls it all back in. Then repeat and repeat. Based on this, the Big Bang does not say that everything came from nothing, because all the matter in the universe was already here.
Comfort firmly believes the evidence (which he does not source) says the universe is not eternal and must have had a beginning. The two dilemmas set forth by Comfort are 1) where did matter come from and 2) what caused it to go “bang”?
However, these are not dilemmas at all. Matter is made of energy, which did not have to come from anywhere. What caused it to go bang? It became unstable.
Comfort quotes cosmologist Andrei Linde, professor of physics and Standford University,
“The first, the main, problem is the very existence of the big bang. One may wonder, what came before? If space-time did not exist then, how could everything appear from nothing? What arose first? The universe or the laws determining its evolution? Explaining this initial singularity—where and when it all began—still remains the most intractable problem of modern cosmology”
Comfort uses his coke can argument, arguing that if people find it nonsense then how is the Big Bang any more scientific?
The difference is that the Big Bang has evidence to support it and it has provided powerful predictions that have been proven true. Comfort’s coke can argument has none of the above, it is rather a straw man argument of what the Big Bang Theory actually proposes.
However, Comfort concludes that no matter what, we all must accept the “logical, reasonable, and scientific” conclusion: a uncaused cause. Comfort argues that there has never been an instance when something has come from nothing; such an occurrence is un-scientific.
Comfort has it completely back-asswards. Not once in this section (or entire chapter) has Comfort provided studies, peer reviewed work, or predictions that can be falsified so this is not scientific. It is not logical or reasonable since there is no evidence to support it and its foundation breaks apart from what we have actually discovered about the universe and when you compare the same logic to God. Once the same arguments and logic is used for God, then it just vanishes. If God can be uncaused, then so could the universe. What Comfort is aiming for is a god of the gaps fallacy.
Comfort provides a quote from Charles Darwin seeming to agree that there must have been a first cause and that cause was God.
“The impossibility of conceiving that this grand an wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God…I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came and how it arose.”
Next, Comfort quote-mines Stephen Hawking to give the appearance that he and Einstein agreed that the universe appears fine-tuned.
In conclusion, Comfort argues that evolution cannot account for the origin or complexity of the universe and the only options are 1) no one created everything out of nothing or 2) someone (an intelligent, omnipotent, eternal First Cause) created everything from nothing.
However, Comfort’s points are not just fallacious; they are dishonest. Evolution, by its nature, plays no role whatsoever in cosmology, chemistry, physics, or any other field outside of biology. When evolution is used in the context of explaining things in space, it simple means “change over time,” not the biological definition of explaining diversity and speciation.
For the sake of argument, if Comfort’s position and presupposition of a first cause is examined, it turns out to be incorrect. First, it begs the question because it does not name or identify who the creator is, so it could not be the Christian God but instead an invisible sky pixie or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ignoring the Christian god is not powerful enough to stop chariots of iron in Judges 1:19, the cosmos encompasses all the mass/energy available anywhere. If God possesses energy that not only created but also interacts with the material world, then, by definition, he is part of the natural universe or the universe is part of him (which is the same thing). Whatsoever God’s source of energy might be, it exists somewhere, adding to the size of the cosmos. An omnipotent God would make the cosmos infinitely massive, a fact that is contradicted by the expansion of the universe (or, if God is outside our own pocket universe, by the uniformity of such expansion), or by the fact that we are not all instantly compressed by the gravity of infinite matter or incinerated with heat by being in the presence of such a grotesquely massive black hole out there. Whenever God, who must be infinitely massive, interacts with the universe or reaches into this pocket universe) and performs miracles, by the law of gravity and attraction, all the finite matter in the universe would be sucked in by this infinite mass. This means that it is impossible for God to perform miracles such as virgin births or parting the sea.
Origin of Life
Comfort argues that evolutionists must explain the origin of life because evolution requires non-life becoming life.
However, this is incorrect. Evolution only explains the diversity of life, not the origin of life itself. How life started is irrelevant to evolution, because once life formed evolution kicks in.
What is very interesting, why do creationists continue to insist that the theory of evolution explain the origin of life. Cell theory states that all living things are made of cells. AND YET, creationists do not raise any objections towards Cell Theory because it does not explain how the first cell formed.
Comfort argues Louis Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis which disproves “spontaneous generation” that life can come from non-life.
Bollocks. Pasteur’s Law does not disprove evolution, it disproves a form of creationism. The spontaneous generation that Pasteur and others disproved was the idea that life forms such as mice, maggots, and bacteria can appear fully formed. His studies showed that fully-formed organisms do not just manifest. Pasteur’s work disproves a deity creating fully-formed creatures similarly described in a literal translation in Genesis. There is no law of biogenesis saying that very primitive life cannot form from increasingly complex molecules.
Comfort says scientists have tried for years to build even the most simple building block of life, but all have failed.
Ugh, this is very inaccurate. Multiple studies have shown that organic material and certain materials given in certain conditions can produce the first building blocks of life.
Miller-Urey experiment did create the building blocks of life and amino acids. Craig Venter is on the verge of creating synthetic life.
Comfort quotes Sir Frederick Hoyle on the very low probability of “spontaneous generation.”
Apart from appeal to authority|appealing to authority, Comfort continues to assume everything must be “spontaneous” and be fully formed based on his personal presuppositions obtained from a literal translation of the book of Genesis.
On examining the complexity of the cell, Comfort introduces Michael Denton, a intelligent design proponent. Comfort says that there is no evidence of how life could have come into being (which is absolutely not true) but instead are finding examples of complexity that can only be the result of divine intervention.
What Comfort and Michael Denton continue to fail to realize is that the first cell was not as complex as our modern cells (which had billions of years to evolve and modify new parts); in fact they were incredibly simple. The fact that life began with incredibly simple cells and became the complex cells we have today is testament to the reality of evolution.
Chapter 4: The Origin of Species
Comfort brings up several exposed frauds that supposedly proved evolution.
One hoax cannot indicate the inferiority of conventional archeology, because creationists have several of their own, including the Inca Stones, Paluxy footprints, the Calaveras skull, Moab and Malachite Man, and others. More telling is how people deal with these hoaxes. When something is exposed, it stopped being used as evidence. The creationist hoaxes, however, can still be found cited as if they were real.
Comfort brings up Archaeoraptor. Comfort provides a quote from Storrs L. Olson (Curator of Birds at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Museum),
“National Geographic has reached an all-time low for engaging in sensationalistic, unsubstantiated, tabloid journalism…. The idea of feathered dinosaurs … is now fast becoming one of the grander scientific hoaxes of our age.”
Only a handful of scientists ever saw Archaeoraptor, but every one who did noted that it was composite piece, and the artistic amateurs who paid for the fossil were repeatedly warned that some parts of it might not even belong to the whole. Popular press foolishly scooped the story prior to peer review, where it was instantly exposed as a fake by multiple experts, and each submission to scientific journals was immediately rejected. Archaeoraptor therefore fooled no one in the scientific community at all. The irony there is that the tail of the alleged Archaeoraptor turned out to belong to the as-yet undiscovered Microraptor, a four-winged and apparently gliding feathered dinosaur which turned out to be even more compelling proof of avian evolution from dinosaurs than Archaeopteryx was in Darwin’s day. The scientific process of peer-review seeks out and exposes fraud by design. But antievolutionist arguments are withheld from peer-review because they are driven entirely by frauds including misstatements, out-of-context quote-mining, and contrived or distorted falsehoods, and terms erroneously redefined into instigative reactionary nonsense unintelligible as anything other than propaganda. In short, if creationists knew how to expose a fraud, they wouldn’t be creationists anymore. It’s rather mind-boggling that people can still deny in their minds the existence of feathered dinosaurs. You can walk into any one of many Natural History museums all over the world and see one for yourself! Comfort Comfort claimed to have visited a museum in Paris, but saw no such creatures, meaning he choose not to see or did see but either did not know what he was looking at or decided not to tell his readers. Comfort also mistakes disagreement in science for a crisis. Disagreement is what makes science interesting. Science is progressive.
Comfort moves on to address whale evolution. The first fossil he mentions is Pakicetus, and argues that all the evidence drawn from this a single skull and tells the reader that not a single bone in its body has ever been found.
However, later discoveries had uncovered other complete skeletons of dozens of Pakicetus. Later discoveries showed Pakicetus looked nothing like the original sketched by paleontologists. This however, does nothing to counter the fact that Pakicetus still fits the link between land mammals and whales. Pakicetus rear limbs resemble flippers, but still walked upright. Examining its skull alone tells us much about it. The shape of its skull was definitely cetacean, and its teeth were between the ancestral and modern states. Comfort does not include any of the following links between land mammals and whales: Ambulocetus natans, Indocetus ramani, Dorudon, Basilosaurus, etc.
Comfort argues that same features proves same creator.
However, Comfort provides zero proof of this, nor does he even attempt to show that this creator is his particular god or a bunch of invisible sky pixies. Natural selection is a form of creator and builds up on pre-existing traits, so it is not surprising that later evolved animals will share similar features. Comfort’s claim of a common-feature-common-designer cannot be tested and has no predictive power.
Next, he brings up Piltdown Man.
The British museum touted the “Piltdown man” as authentic, but the American Museum of Natural History displayed it only as a “mixture of ape and man fossils”, which is what it eventually turned out to be. There was no way to adequately examine such things back in 1915. Chemical tests –common today- didn’t yet exist and we didn’t yet have a practical understanding of radiation. And before the first australopiths were discovered, we didn’t know exactly what to expect of the links that were then still missing between humans and the other apes known at that time. But as we began filling in the gaps in human evolution with thousands of legitimate fossils, a pattern emerged which left Piltdown an increasingly obvious anomaly. Consequently it was taken off display and stored away almost continuously for decades. It lost importance in most discussions because, in light of everything else we discovered over the next few decades, it just never fit, and was eventually dismissed from the list of potential human ancestors for that reason.
As the years wore on, criticism arose against everyone who ever promoted the Piltdown collection because there seemed to be so much wrong with it. Finally, in the 1950s, it was taken back out of the box and scrutinized via more modern means. First fluorine dating revealed that it was much too recent, and it was shown to have been chemically-treated to give a false impression of its age and mineral composition. Then it was finally determined that the jaw must have come from an orangutan, and that it had been deliberately reshaped with modern tools in a well-crafted and deliberate forgery. No one knows who did it either. And more importantly, why? Errors were already known and previously reported, but few ever suspected fraud because, what would be the motive? Nearly everyone who stood accused was a man of high reputation and credentials. Maybe that was the motive. Maybe Piltdown man was just a joke that had gone too far. But no one was laughing, and they weren’t going to let it happen again.
Comfort moves on to say the horse evolution is entirely fictional. He uses a quote from Boyce Rensberger addressing the fossil record and horses,
“The popularly-told example of horse evolution, suggesting a gradual sequence of changes from four-toed fox-sized creatures living nearly 50 million years ago to today’s much larger one-toed horse, has long been known to be wrong. Instead of gradual change, fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct. Transitional forms are unknown.”
Comfort’s dishonesty may know no bounds. This quote, taken out of context, is from a 1980 article about a four-day meeting at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago attended, so the article says, by 150 scientists and a very few observers. The mechanisms of evolution were discussed at the meeting, but the article focuses on Punctuated equilibrium.
As new fossils were discovered, though, it became clear that the old model of horse evolution was a serious oversimplification. The ancestors of the modern horse were roughly what that series showed, and were clear evidence that evolution had occurred. But it was misleading to portComfort horse evolution in that smooth straight line, for two reasons:
1) First, horse evolution didn’t proceed in a straight line. We now know of many other branches of horse evolution. Our familiar Equus is merely one twig on a once-flourishing bush of equine species. We only have the illusion of straight-line evolution because Equus is the only twig that survived. (See Gould’s essay “Life’s Little Joke” in Bully for Brontosaurus for more on this topic.)
2) Second, horse evolution was not smooth and gradual. Different traits evolved at different rates, didn’t always evolve together, and occasionally reversed “direction”. Also, horse species did not always come into being by gradual transformation (“anagenesis”) of their ancestors; instead, sometimes new species “split off” from ancestors (“cladogenesis”) and then co-existed with those ancestors for some time. Some species arose gradually, others suddenly.
Overall, the horse family demonstrates the diversity of evolutionary mechanisms, and it would be misleading — and would be a real pity — to reduce it to an oversimplified straight-line diagram.
Near the end, Comfort returns to his apologetic preaching tactics and playing with peoples fears instead of relying on actual empirical proof (so much for being scientific Comfort). He uses his tactic of are you a good person? and using the Ten Commandments. After questioning, based on God’s standards, if you will be guilty or not, Comfort brings up recent polls that a majority of Americans think Hell is real.
However, reality is not altered by popular vote. There still remains not a shred of proof of such a place like hell.
Comfort says Hell is a rightful place for people like Hitler. Comfort warns us that God also judges our thought life (greed, selflessness, pride, lust, hatred, etc.) Comfort asks if the reader is concerned about their fate and are probably trying to figure out which religion to choose. Comfort says he will explain why you should pick Christianity in the next chapter.
The problem with this line of thinking is that Comfort first sets up a scenario that traps everyone and makes nobody innocent, and then provides a method of salvation that ”’only”’ his narrow version of God can give. Basically, he is just providing the readers with snake oil.
Chapter 5: Mutant Turtles
This chapter is mostly about mutants with very little to do with turtles. The only time Comfort mentions turtles is to question where are the transitional fossils for turtles.
He claims there are none, but this is not true.
There is Odontochelys semistestacea, a toothed (unlike toothless modern turtles) proto-turtle with a plastron (belly armor) but no shell on its back (to be sure, it is possible that this represents the secondary loss of an already-evolved upper shell), but transitional fossils leading up to true turtles are still rare. This does not, of course, make those australopiths and early hominines, whales with hind legs and small heads, feathered theropods, genetics, ERVs, etc. go away. Remember, gaps are expected to be in the fossil record, but already the fossil record is very rich and transitional fossils are still being uncovered by the bush full.
Ray also briefly discusses vestigial organs, dismissing them as evidence for evolution on the grounds that they represent a loss rather than a gain of information, and because it can never be demonstrated conclusively that a vestige has no function.
However, “Vestigial” does not mean an organ is useless. A vestige is a “trace or visible sign left by something lost or vanished.”
Most of the chapter is about why mutations do not enable one “kind” to evolve into another. Ray spends a surprising number of lines and quote-mines to argue that mutations are random (this is in connection with a misunderstanding of punctuated equilibria, which Ray apparently thinks means that environmental pressures can cause a lizard to lay an egg that hatches out into a robin). That’s not how he puts it; he argues that mutations exist before the environmental conditions that select for or against them, and do not arise in response to need, but then, that’s more or less what “random mutations” means.
He offers no dissent from the view that mutations occur, that they occur frequently, and that a few of them are beneficial, and that different mutations are beneficial in different environments. So we may take Ray as conceding that mutations occur and can be, on rare occasions, beneficial.
Ray argues that mutations do not “add information.” For the sake of argument, he says even if they do, this added information cannot accumulate to produce novel organs, structures, and abilities.
Ray is not nearly so clear on what “added information” actually would be, or how one would determine or compare the information content of a gene as he is that whatever information is, mutations cannot create it. We have seen mutations give rise to new abilities. For example we’ve identified an emerging population of tetrachromatic women who can see a bit of the normally invisible ultraviolet spectrum. Another example is the CCR5-delta 32 mutation. About 10% of whites of European origin now carry it. But the incidence is only 2% in central Asia, and is completely absent among East Asians, Africans, and tribal Americans. It appears to have suddenly become relatively common among white Europeans about 700 years ago, evidently as a result of the Black Plague, indicating another example of natural selection allowing one gene dominance in a changing environment. It is harmless or neutral in every respect other than its one clearly beneficial feature. According to Science-Frontiers.com, if one inherits this gene from both parents, they will be especially resistant, if not immune to AIDS.
Mutations are degrees of variation which are usually quite subtle but cumulative, normally harmless, and occasionally advantageous. Any change in information is different information, not already present, and therefore can only be considered “new”. But of the many types of mutations known to occur, there are additions and duplications as well as deletions and the rest. So yes, genetic material can be added or taken away. But as to whether “information” has been added as opposed to lost, we can’t really tell because creationists won’t tell us what they think “information” is or how to measure it. They’ll readily state (as if it had somehow been confirmed) that it takes more “information” to make a bird than it does a dinosaur, but if you ask ’em how much more, they’ll shut right up.
Ray goes on but provides several quote mines, including one from Francisco Ayala (a strong a critic of creationism and the intelligent design movement) to make the appearance Ayala think that mutations cannot accumulate into new structures. Ray concludes that even if mutations add information, this added information can’t keep accumulating into a new structure. What use, Comfort asks (quoting Stephen Gould) would two percent of a wing be? Scientific-illiterate Ray describes a 2% wing as a tiny, useless stub sticking out of the side of a bird that provides zero help for flight.
What is 2% of a wing? One might be inclined to start with coelurosaurs, and see that 2% wing in the arm of something like the down-covered forelimb of Sinosauropteryx: in this case, that two percent would be an insulated, grasping or climbing arm. It would not work as a wing, but it would work as a forelimb suitable for a warm-blooded predator. A 20% arm would be something with more complete feathers, used for display, to look larger and more threatening or to impress potential mates, and a 50% wing (say, something like the fore- and hind limbs of Microraptor) would be useful for gliding (analogous to the “half-formed wings” of flying squirrels).
Chapter 6: Science and Atheism
Comfort repeats the fallacious fine-tuning argument, abiogenesis and evolution is impossible.
The evidence does not agree with Ray Comfort.
Ray asserts that there is no evidence to support evolution.
He may be right, if the following did not exist: transitional fossils, comparative anatomy, comparative genomics, ERVs, pseudogenes, biogeography, ontology, phylogeny, and so on and so on. Ray goes on to use the Law of Biogenesis to counter evolution, which permits Brussels sprouts and cauliflower to be bred from the same species, somehow prevents changes from accumulating enough to transgress the nebulous boundaries around “created kinds.”
Comfort quote mines Stephen J. Gould that Homo sapiens is a “glorious accident.”
Ray goes on to question the chances of evolution, that is that everything had to have happened at the right times.
This is a long debunked argument that is still favored by creationists.
The rest of the chapter consists of bringing up smart people who believed in God.
Fallacy known as argument ad populum – if all these smart people also believed the earth was flat, that does not make it so.
Ray asserts that science cannot contradict Christianity, since science arose in a Christian culture, and that faith itself cannot be a problem, since since we all have faith in something, whether God or human reason.
Lets address both parts,
1) As many scholars and historians would point out, Christianity was not responsible for the blossom of science. Science predates Christianity, back to the ancient Greeks (who were pagans).
2) Faith” in the working of your computer or your car or your logic is not the same thing as “faith” that some collection of ancient writings simply must be self-consistent and inerrant, and that any evidence to the contrary must be fake or misunderstood. Ray tries to ask us to give up faith in mere humans for faith in humans’ infallible Creator, but he must end up asking us to keep that faith in mere humans, and add to it faith in a set of ideas compiled and interpreted by more mere humans.
Chapter 7: Evolution’s Strange Dilemma
Ray begins by pointing out that humans are widely religious; the overwhelming majority of humans today and historically accept not only that they were designed but that the Designer has (or designers have) a personal interest in them. If, Ray asks, evolution is supposed to have shaped our minds to grasp and deal with reality, why is there such widespread acceptance of god? Something that atheists insist is not real and has no real evidence? If evolution has shaped our faculties for purposes — if we hunger because we need food, and food exists, and we feel thirsty because we need water and water exists, and we feel sexual desire because we need sex to reproduce (and it exists), then ought we not consider, indeed embrace, the idea that we (many of us, anyway) feel a need for God because God exists and we really need Him?
This is not much a dilemma at all, since evolutionists have proposed various explanations for religion. Religions themselves evolve, including Christianity.
Ray notes that even surviving stone-age tribes accept that murder and theft and adultery are bad. Why, he asks, are humans uniquely and (almost) universally moral animals? He argues that without a Creator, we have no basis for absolute morals, so a moral nature is further evidence for a Creator.
However, morality comes from within humanity through evolution. A moral sense is something shaped by natural selection to enable us to live in groups and cooperate for mutual benefit. How does a Creator provide a basis for absolute morality? Here is a real dilemma Ray: Euthyphro dilemma. Does God say something is evil because he says so, or does he say it is evil simply because it is evil? Plus, if the Bible does provide an absolute objective moral system, where is it? Why cant genuine Christians agree on certain issues or agree what God thinks and what he wants?
Ray ends the chapter with his classic “are you a good person?”
Wont bother trying to refute it here, just click the given link to read a detailed rebuttal.
Chapter 8: The Four Gifts
Ray begins this chapter presuming the reader believes in God and know that they will be judged. Ray then uses his parachute analogy, that is that if you were in a plane that was going down and people offered you a variety of gifts, you would reject them. However, when someone offers you a parachute, you take it and put your trust in it to save your life. He compares this parachute with faith in Jesus Christ.
This however, is an flawed argument known as Pascal’s Wager. Ray Comfort says his parachute (provided by his invisible friend) is safe and harmless, but suddenly another passenger tells you “Don’t use his parachute, it has holes in it. Use mine provided by my invisible friend.” Then a third passenger announces “My invisible friend slashed all the parachutes on board. He takes care of his chosen people, and as none of you were born into the correct lineage, it’s too bad for you.” Some people refuse parachutes and urge others to do the same, because it would interfere with the master plan of the father of their invisible friend (these are the same people who refuse medical care in favor of prayer and faith healing). The drama goes on with the rest of the passengers, until you demand to actually see proof of a doomed plane and which parachute does work. Some say you must not demand for evidence and just have faith. Regardless, you inspect the plane and the parachutes. The plane is operating just fine in every way and each parachute has holes in them big enough you can fit your head through them. Some of the parachutes terribly constrict people, harming them. The plane reaches its destination safely, but the drama continues through the terminal, security, all the way out beyond the airport. You learn from airports around the world that many people have harmed many others and themselves due to their faith in their parachute provided by their particular invisible friend.
Chapter 9: Three Wise Fools
If you were expecting this chapter to include names of humans greatest thinkers, too bad. Instead, Ray creates three skeptics just like Ray created Mr. Joe Average in the first chapter.
These three skeptics are on their way to see a test of electricity. These skeptics do not “believe” in electric power because they cannot observe it. Even when they see a switched turned and a light bulb turned on, they still do not accept it because they find some apparent errors in a biographical sketch of Thomas Edison provided by the power company, and because electricity has been used to kill animals and people. They will not make the simple test to see if electricity is real.
What Ray is doing here is saying that skeptics will not “test” Christianity by actually believing and repenting. How does he know many skeptics have already done that? It seems the only way to impress Ray Comfort is that we have to “know” God. How do we know what we experience is not just a product of our minds. Michael Harner, and anthropologist who lived among the Jivaro Indians of the Ecuadoran Amazon, described his experience with ayahuasca as follows:
“For several hours after drinking the brew, I found myself although awake, in a world literally beyond my wildest dreams. I met bird-like people, as well as a dragon-like creature who explained they were the true Gods of this world. I enlisted the services of other spirit helpers in attempting to fly through the far reaches of the Galaxy.”
There a literally hundreds or thousands of these reported events that certain drugs, seizures, stimulations, rituals, etc. all can produce feelings and connections with higher powers.
Also, about the electric company, there’s the fact that the power company makes no claims that using electricity will make you a kinder, gentler person, or that “true electricity” can never be used for bad ends, or even that its brochures are completely inerrant. If electricity can be used to murder and to execute murderers, that has no bearing whatsoever on the reality of electricity or the truth of the power company’s claims. But if Christianity does not change believers’ lives — or if it does, but there are so few true believers that they get lost in the masses of false converts — that has rather more bearing on the claims Christianity makes for itself.
Ray ends this chapter with a repeat of Pascal’s Wager, reminding us that 10 out of 10 people die and we should embrace our fear of death and accept Christ.
Ray still hasn’t demonstrated that his parachutes work and rival electric company’s don’t, or that the Bible’s threats of Hell are more credible than the Koran’s.
Chapter 10: This Day Was Different
In this chapter, Ray tries to argue that the Bible is clearly of supernatural origin, and hence further proof of God, and that the Bible is not actually necessary in order to know God and be saved.
Ray offers two main lines of evidence for the supernatural inspiration of the scriptural text, knowledge of creation (nature) and knowledge of the future (prophecies).
Ray insists, in the section of this chapter, that “the scriptures tell us that the Earth is round … not flat or square.”
But it obviously didn’t tell Josephus, or the author of Enoch, or Lactantius Firmianus, or Theophilus of Antioch, that the Earth was a sphere. Ray says science of the day taught the earth was flat, but this is demonstrably false. Ancient Greeks calculated that the earth was spherical, such as Pythagoras in the fifth century BCE. He figured out that the Earth is a sphere without divine inspiration and with no technology not available centuries earlier; even if the Bible did clearly state that the Earth was a sphere, it would not be knowledge that proved supernatural inspiration.
Ray also interprets Hebrews 11:3 as referring to atoms.
While this would not, in itself, be astonishing (the pagan philosopher Democritus had proposed atomism four centuries earlier, and it was part of the Epicurean philosophy that is mentioned in the Bible), Ray’s interpretation would imply that Christians knew by faith what Epicureans believed by human reason or speculation, which seems an odd interpretation, especially in light of the Church’s long suspicion of atomism.
As for prophecies, none of the ones presented are accurate or true. Many of them are fake/imaginary prophecies or unfulfilled prophecies There are several mundane ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled:
- Retrodiction. The “prophecy” can be written or modified after the events fulfilling it have already occurred.
- Vagueness. The prophecy can be worded in such a way that people can interpret any outcome as a fulfillment. Nostradomus’s prophecies are all of this type. Vagueness works particularly well when people are religiously motivated to believe the prophecies.
- Inevitability. The prophecy can predict something that is almost sure to happen, such as the collapse of a city. Since nothing lasts forever, the city is sure to fall someday. If it has not, it can be said that according to prophecy, it will.
- Denial. One can claim that the fulfilling events occurred even if they have not. Or, more commonly, one can forget that the prophecy was ever made.
- Self-fulfillment. A person can act deliberately to satisfy a known prophecy.
There are no prophecies in the Bible that cannot easily fit into one or more of those categories.
In conclusion, Ray argues that we all have seen the evidence of Gods existence through creation, conscience, and conversion. Ray notes the Bible is not the whole source of conversion, since the early Christians did not have a complete form of the New Testament.
Chapter 11: Alleged Mistakes in the Bible
In this chapter, Ray tries to explain away the seeming contradictions in the Bible and counter claims by non-believers why the Bible should not be trusted. He says that God put is these contradictions to “snare” non-believers.
As we will see, Ray desperately pulled this feeble excuse out of the air.
Ray says that all Christians believe Scripture is God inspired, citing 2 Timothy 3:16.
What Ray does not share with the reader is that 2 Timothy, along with many other NT books, is considered by a vast majority of critical scholars to be pseudepigraphical, that is it was not written by Paul but by a forger. That is right, forgers have made it into the word of God.
Comfort explains the creation of Adam, consisting of three parts: the boy, soul, and spirit. Ray claims atheists have a soul, but no spirit and thus cannot understand God. He compares them to fish in the ocean who do not know they are surrounded by water.
Ray ignores the vast amount of study that shows the evolution of the conscious. Ray says our soul is the part of our bodies that produces emotions, will, and conscience. Actually, our emotions are produced in the limbic system of our brains, not a trace of a supernatural immaterial being required for it to function.
Ray says that Adam died spiritually when he sinned and God removed his Spirit from Adam. And thus, all of Adam’s descendants would be spiritually dead, because according to Ray, everything produces after its own “kind” – but he never explains what kind means.
In fact, Ray Comfort uses the word “kind” to mean whatever he wants at any given time. It can mean “species” at one moment, and then it can mean Genus, or even later as Kingdom.
Here’s the proof,
Deuteronomy 25:11, 12. Ray cites this as proof brought forth by atheists to show the Bible cannot be trusted. It tells of a woman defending her husband, and if she should touch the attackers genitals then her hand must be cut off. Ray says this type of incident has not been found anywhere is Scripture. It may not have happened in ”Scripture” but actually happened in real life, otherwise there would be no point of including this rule if it did not happen. Ray says that the Bible does not ”literally” men cut off your arm. Mark 5:30 says the same, but Ray says it is not to be taken literally.
The early christian fathers would disagree. Some actually cut off their hand and demanded their subjects to do the same. Christian father Origen castrated himself and said his followers should do the same.
Next, Ray includes the story of Lot handing his own daughters to a crowd so they can rape them. Ray says the Scriptures are instructions, so he says do not offer your daughters up to a crowd.
Ray avoided the issue at hand, the fact Lot did offer his daughters, and if the Scripture is a set of instructions, then indeed the Bible promotes giving away your daughters.
Finally, Ray points out atheists objections to the food laws in Leviticus. Ray says the purpose of this was to separate the Israelites apart from their neighbors to keep the Israelites “pure.”
He provides no reference of the practices and beliefs of the pagans. Also, do you know what else was set in law to keep the Israelites pure: supernatural miscarriages (Numbers 5)
Ray admits things may seem contradictory, when taken out of context. These verses are not taken out of context, they are there for all to read. Ray settles that if such a confusion is found, he must decide to doubt or trust in God.
Of course, he chooses trust, or have blind faith in a book of contradictions.
A Nearsighted View
Comfort compares atheists to a nearsighted person looking at the Mona Lisa, that they cannot see the beauty and meaning of the whole picture. Here, he provides 12 examples of biblical contradictions presented by atheists to distrust the Bible.
Only 12? Of course, Ray is cherry-picking the simplest contradictions. People have written novels of confirmed contradictions and discrepancies in the Bible (like ”The Bible Against Itself” by Randel McCraw Helms) and websites display an entire list of contradictions.  The Bible contains hundreds of contradictions and many inconsistencies and discrepancies.
2) Proverbs 3:13;4:7-10;19:8 and 1 Corinthians 1:19-21. Ray says Proverbs speak of wisdom coming from God, whereas Corinthians compares wisdom from God and wisdom from the “foolish world.” Regardless, this is god proclaiming to destroy wisdom. Earlier in 1 Corinthians, it says preaching the cross would appear foolish to the wise (the wise God encourages in proverbs).
This does not make sense and is clearly contradictory.
3) Numbers 15:24-28 and Hebrews 10:11. Ray says that the sacrifices in Numbers cannot provide perfect atonement, whereas Hebrews tells of the sacrifice of Jesus makes believers perfect in the eyes of God.
This does not solve the problem. Atonement is atonement, and it shall be forgiven. Leviticus 6:7 further explains “”And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord: and it shall be forgiven him.”” So the sacrifice of Jesus is not entirely necessary.
4) Exodus 20:8-11;31:15-17;35:1-3 and Romans 14:5; Colossians 2:14-16
5) Matthew 5:43,44;22:39 and Matthew 10:5
8) Deuteronomy 23:1 and Matthew 19:12
11) Psalm 30:5; Jeremiah 3:12; Micah 7:18 and Jeremiah 17:4; Matthew 25:46
12) Psalm 78:69; Ecclesiastics 1:4;3:14 and Psalm 102:25; Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; Hebrews 1:10,11; 2 Peter 3:10.
What Ray does not share is that 2 Peter is unanimously considered to be pseudonymous (that is, written by a forger).
Chapter 12: Common Objections to Christianity
What about suffering – doesn’t that prove there isn’t a loving God?
Ray addresses this by telling the reader to examine the soil producing weeds.
How can you love the God when the Bible encourages slavery?
Ray says the Bible acknowledges slavery. Comfort says that the Laws of the Old Testament was not confined to slaves but to Israel, the Law for death was for blasphemers, adultery, homosexuality, rape, etc.
Finally, Ray says people obey the law when “there is a bite to it.” He says murderers get free lunch, TV, gym hours, and such for many years. Ray says no wonder there were several hundred thousand murders in America in the 1990’s.
Actually, it does more than that; Exodus 21 goes into great detail of how to treat your slave. Jesus Christ, the perfect moral savior, never denounced slavery once.
Ray goes on to argue that slaves back then were like modern day servants. He does not say what type of servant, like a housekeeper? Comfort says slave in the New Testament meant “bondservant” but does not provide any reference or scholar work about this.
The Bible says children should be stoned to death
Ray says that the law says parents of a drunk, rebellious youth had the option to take them to the elders to decide to stone them or not. Ray concludes this never happened because it is not mentioned again in Scripture.
Comfort just dances around the problem: the Bible says children should be stoned to death. This is the perfect moral system of God? If you child is caught sneaking several brews, you take him to a non-family stranger with a holy book to decide their fate? This is similar to a story that happened in Africa: a mother locked up her own daughter in a closet for nine years without food or water because her pastor told her that her child was a witch. Honestly, if none of these people were religious or superstitious, this pain and suffering could have been completely avoided. And there is the problem of death. Why kill these youths just for being drunk or rebellious? Why not set a program to get them sober? No, the God of the Bible demands death.
What kind of God would tell Joshua to kill the Canaanites – every man, woman, and child?
Ray tries to counter this with a story about his father leaving him each day to fend for himself while his father went to kill animals to provide food and shelter for them.
The problem with this is, we are not comparing God to a mortal man. God is God, and does not have to leave to make money.
Ray acknowledges that bits of the bible can portray God as a tyrant, but Ray implored the readers to think about what God has done for you (gave you life and your senses, etc).
Hitler was a Christian!
Here, Ray says that Hitler was brought up in a Roman Catholic background, but Ray says he later developed an anti-Christian worldview and believed in evolution.
That is not true, Hitler never accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution. Hitler remained a Christian creationist (Ray Comfort’s camp).
Ray cites Hitlers Table talk as proof Hitler was not a Christian. The site nobeliefs.com provides a full article refuting Hitler’s table talk
Hitler was not an anti-Christian. He supported and encourage the production of Christian churches and programs. He was clearly not an evolutionist. The only time he ever mentioned Darwin in his books or speeches is to slam Darwin and promote creationism.
“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord” (Hitler 1943, 65).
The Nazi Party in general rejected Darwinism and supported Christianity. In 1935, Die Bücherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published a list of guidelines of works to reject, including: Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel). (Die Bücherei 1935, 279)
What about Galileo – didn’t the church persecute him?
Ray says Galileo had the audacity to question what ”science” believed of the day: [[geocentrism]]. Ray says that Galileo’s scientific ”beliefs” did not contradiction scripture, but contradicted the Roman Catholic Church and science of the day.
This is a flat out lie, Ray is simply trying to rewrite history. Science did not teach the earth was flat, scripture did. Also, Galileo’s scientific discoveries were not mere beliefs, but observable fact.
The Church is full of hypocrites
Ray says hypocrites may show up in church every Sunday, but there are no hypocrites in the church of Christ’s body (what does that mean?).
Jesus Christ never existed
Ray says the entire New Testament is a historical record that confirms his existence and there is proof that a man named Jesus of Nazareth existed in the first century.
Actually, the historicity of Jesus disagrees. There is very little or no historical evidence to support Jesus. The New testament is not a historical document, it is full of flaws and written by unknown authors who never eye-witnessed Jesus.
Ray says that over 25,000 archaeological discoveries show the accuracy of the Bible.
Unfortunately, the evidence for veracity of the settings of the New Testament – and Old Testament – is so bad that scholars now question the whole model of “biblical archaeology,” which starts with the assumption that the Bible is a reliable guide for field research. There is now so much archaeological evidence against the historical accuracy of the Bible that the term “biblical archaeology” has been discarded by professional archaeologists and “Syro-Palestinian archaeology” has been suggested by some in the field as a more appropriate term. Furthermore, Homer’s Odyssey describes the travels of Odysseus throughout the Greek islands. The epic describes, in detail, many locations that existed in history. But should we take Odysseus, the Greek gods and goddesses, one-eyed giants and monsters as literal fact simply because the story depicts geographic locations accurately? Of course not.
Ray then lists several secular sources: Josephus, the Babylonian Talmud, Pliny the Younger, Tacticus, etc.
However, all of these supposed evidences have been critically examined by many scholars. None of the above evidences provide sufficient evidence for the historicity of Jesus. None of the given sources were even alive during the time of Jesus, all the historians of the time who were alive never mention Jesus once.
Chapter 13: Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Comfort passes the pen to a scientist, an engineer who makes the claim that everything must be created, because scientists discover that which exists while engineers create that which never did. He believes God is an engineer. However, engineers do not create new things from nothing, and this “rocket science” will be unable to prove it.
If the anonymous engineer makes a statement like “everything must be created” then that means that god must have a creator. if the engineer and/or Ray Comfort says “nuh-ah” then obviously not everything needs to be created.
Before allowing the scientist to make a case, Comfort argues for three “evidences for the existence of God.”
*Creation. Using a coca-cola can as an example, Ray “theorizes” the origin of the can came from billions of years ago, when there was an unexplainable massive explosion in space, and from it came a rock and on the rock was a brown bubbling pool where after millions of years, aluminum came forth and created itself a tab on the top. Millions of years later, red and white paint fell from the sky and formed the words on the coca-cola can. Ray Comfort claims that if you find something that was created, there must be a creator. He claims that a building must have a builder and a painting must have a painter, even though you cannot see, touch, smell, hear, or taste him. This to Comfort is scientific proof of a creator and does not require faith to believe in a creator. According to Ray, all you need is eyes that can see and a brain works. Ray asks himself “can we scientifically prove that a painting had a painter?” He replies if we put a dozen scientists in a room with a painting, they will all answer that it indeed had a painter. Ray includes nothing more. He then says the human body is a very complex machine and the eye is perfect so there must be a designer. He then addresses those who are not convinced by his arguments as people who put themselves on an “intellectual pedestal.”
Ray simply does not understand the word “theory,” misleading the audience. His argument is of course a logical fallacy: anything that exists, simply because it exists, must have been deliberately created by an intelligent being for an intended purpose. By his logic, does lightning have a lightning maker? His argument also includes an argument from design fallacy. We see design and beauty in snowflakes and crystals, but we also know they form under natural causes without invoking the supernatural. As Brian will point out, we can actually test if a painting had a painter and we could verify who it is and how they did it, but we cannot do so with God. And that is where Ray fails, who claimed that he would be able to prove the existence of God scientifically. Also, Ray builds an absurd straw man of the Big Bang Theory, abiogenesis, and evolution and falsely thinks that disproving them makes creation win by default. He also tries to mock the intellect and present an ad hominem towards those who don’t believe in God by implying that their eyes and brains must not be functional. He insults skeptics as putting themselves on a pedestal, basically Ray’s arguments are so feeble that they are simply comical and do not require a lot of thought to see through it, and that is why Ray attacks the intellectual and trying to prevent the audience from thinking to deeply into things.
*Conscience. According to Ray, God put within each of us conscience when God made us in his image. This separates us from the other animals since we have the ability to know right from wrong. But, according to Ray, our conscience has “lost its life on the outside” and each of us are “self-admitted blaspheming, lying, thieving, adulterers at heart” and could only be restored by the Ten Commandments. He then goes on using his old tactic of “are you a good person?” In this speech, Ray very briefly tells the audience that he may sound preachy, but the gospel is the greatest evidence for God anyone could have.
This of course is based on ignorance of science (zoology, sociology, evolution). All societal species (including humans) have a sense of compassion and community amongst their kinsmen, friends and fellows which – in many species – leads to acts of devotion, defense, and even self-sacrifice on their behalf.
*Conversion According to Ray, if you believe in God and seek him out, you will find him and you will experience Jesus. “That is the ultimate proof” -Ray Comfort.
What Comfort failed to understand was the same result can be achieved for those who seek out ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, or any deity “with their whole heart”, meaning they have already assumed these things exist without question or prior evidence that they exist in the first place.
The scientist addresses the Big Bang Theory. He argues if the Big Bang were true, basing it on his assumption that the Big Bang says everything was spinning and then separated, that all planets and galaxies should be spinning the same direction, not in different directions. He claims that this theory is ridiculous, and yet scientific people have the gal to ridicule those who believe in God.
However, Ray straw-mans the Big Bang. It does not claim that everything was spinning. The big bang is quite a different subject from the formation of solar systems. Rotations within the universe are not expected to be related to any rotation of the cosmos. Galaxies probably arose from slightly denser regions of the early universe, which coalesced and combined due to gravitational and viscous interactions. Since these early density fluctuations were apparently random, we expect galaxies to have random orientations. Solar systems within galaxies have still different origins and additional random influences on their orientations. Conservation of angular momentum doesn’t require that everything spin the same way. It requires that a change in spin in one object be compensated for by an opposite change in spin in one or more other objects. Retrograde planets are not a violation of angular momentum because other bodies in the early solar system could account for the compensating spin.
In a section, the scientists says “Despite the fact that the Bible was apparently written by mere men, so were all of my science texts.”
Here, he admits the the Bible was written by man, he does not mention God. The difference is that the science texts are written by people who test and proved their claims, unlike the authors of the Bible who relied on superstition and blind faith to make up stories. All the scientists in the past have made breakthroughs based on the scientific method, not biblical revelation.
Next, he claims that the scientific method cannot invalidate the claims made in the Bible, it is perfect because it is written by a perfect being.
Very wrong mate. The Bible is far from perfect, and thus making God imperfect (if it even existed).
The scientist says that he received a Masters of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering, and came to the conclusion that creation requires a creator. He claimed to be seeking out truth, and found it in scripture.
Apparently, we can only take this anonymous person’s word for it, but given Ray’s track record of deliberate deception, perhaps this person is just a fictional creation of Ray Comfort.
Chapter 14: Why Bother?
Ray does not repeat the “evidences” for God, he just warns the readers how important their decision of where they would spend eternity is. Ray says the Bible provides an accurate warning and reason why we all deserve hell.
As we have seen, the Bible nor Ray Comfort does not provide us with any reason at all to adopt Christianity.
Ray deals with the passage in Deuteronomy 25:11-12, which prescribes that if a wife tries to rescue her husband from someone he’s fighting by squeezing the other man’s testicles, her hand must be cut off. Ray suggests that this passage is, like Jesus’ command to pluck out our eyes if they tempt us to sin, is hyperbole, not literal prescription.
And of course on his blog, if not in this book, Ray has insisted that, e.g. biblical references to the “windows of the sky” are purely figurative. So technically, he’s suggesting that not only is our only safe course to assume that the Bible is literally accurate, but to assume that “Hell” refers to an eternal conscious existence in an eternal lake of fire, even when it might speak figuratively.
Here are the “proofs” Ray provided throughout this book
1. First Cause argument: the Universe cannot come from nothing, and hence must come from an Intelligent Creator.
If something cannot come from nothing, then where did the Intelligent Creator come from. Ignoring that Ray cannot empirically prove the Creator is his narrow version of God, if the answer to the previous question is “he is eternal” then why can’t the universe be eternal? Occam’s Razor would favor the non-created universe.
2. Design argument: no explanation exists or is possible for the mechanisms of life or the diversity and complexity of living things, except an Intelligent Designer.
Simply wrong. Natural selection is the ”only” explanation with evidence for the complexity and diversity of life. There is no evidence, however, for an Intelligent Designer. In fact, this argument can be turned on its head when you examine nature and see how ”unintelligently” designed it has.
3. Argument from General Human Experience: human beings agree that some things are right and others wrong, that human beings don’t live up to their own moral standards, and that human beings want something that can’t be found in this world.
Not all humans agree what is exactly right or wrong. Human beings do indeed live up to their moral standards, most likely they reflect that of the laws of their culture. The last bit is an absolute claim with zero proof, there can always be a single to a million human beings who don’t seek something beyond this world.
4. Argument from specific Christian experience: True Christians know God personally, and you can too if you believe.
Ray and other Christians ”do not” know anything if their God exists or not. Knowledge can be measured and demonstrated. If you cannot demonstrate it, then you do not know it. Ray provides no model or method to show how accurate or truthful Jesus was in comparison with other biblical, pagan, or mythological figures. Ray did not provide any proof or supporting evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, but it does not seem to matter to Ray. What seems to really matter is personal experience, which dictates what religion he will believe.
5. Argument from Biblical Information: The Bible contains facts about nature and about future events that was not naturally accessible to humans at the time it was written.
Simply incorrect. As already shown in this book review, his “facts’ found in the Bible are not facts at all.
6. Pascal’s Wager: Ten out of ten people die, and most of them don’t want to. Let your fear of death humble your pride so that you can believe and repent.
Pascal’s Wager is a flawed argument. If Ray is worried about the afterlife, then there theoretically there are an infinite number of deities and Ray’s chances of being right are near absolute zero. Read my blog “Tackling Pascal’s Wager” that explains why that is.
There includes a dialogue between Todd Friel and a person named Jess.
Basically Friel uses the same material as presented in this book.
Ray is glad we picked up this book and read it.
Why thank you Ray, we were overjoyed having to smell the crap you were spewing throughout every page. But Ray does not stop there, he encourages us to read the Bible and get to know God.
Ray ends this chapter with sharing his experience with Kirk Cameron filming an episode. After the filming, Ray decided to ride a bull. He held onto the bull by the horns. Ray calls himself am “intelligent, clear-thinking human being” however as we have seen throughout this book review that is certainly not true. He compares being “gored” by the bull and confronting atheists. Ray retells his motivation for spreading the gospel: Hell is real and people are going there. He encourages Christians to take the bull by the horns, confront the lost and sinned with Christian love and spread the gospel.
In conclusion: Ray Comfort is full of it.