Refutation of “Evolution: A Fairy Tale for Grownups” – A Vestigial Chapter: Evolution and Morality
Here we have come to the end of the book, where Ray Comfort moves from away from is parade of quote mines and lies about science, now he has moved onto play the Morality Card.
Let’s dive in.
A Vestigial Chapter: Evolution and Morality
Comfort begins by sharing that the magazine Time attempted to explain the mystery of evil. The article is “What Makes Us Moral?” by Jeffrey Kluger, November 20, 2007. Comfort quotes several paragraphs, but wants us to pay attention to the bit where the author (Jeffrey Kluger) mentions “the rules we know.” Kluger quotes Marc Hauser that our moral judgment is very similar from person to person, but our moral behavior is scattered. Kluger asks “where do those intuitions come from? And why are we so inconsistent about following where they lead us? Scientists can’t yet answer those questions, but that hasn’t stopped them from looking.”
Comfort cuts it there, and repeats Kluger’s latest questions and statement. Comfort asks why would evolution put conscience in a human mind? Comfort wonders how evolution could have led man to develop rules such as “Thou shall not murder, lie, and commit adultery” for survival reasons, and wonders why we do not follow them.
Why does Comfort cut it there? There are three more whole pages left, providing explanations to these questions. This is basic writing people learn in school; you begin addressing your topic and you ask certain questions before providing the reader with your material, and then you provide a conclusion based on your work. What Comfort has done here is read the end of the thesis and then dropped all interest.
Answers to questions like why we developed rules against murder and lying is explained in the next section of the article. Kluger explains the evolutionary benefits of empathy, altruism and then close to the end of the article, Kluger provides an explanation for why people do bad things like murder. It is very curious why Comfort does not mention any of this? Why bring up an article and only share the thesis of the paper and not include the core context?
Comfort says evolution brings for a moral dilemma: if society makes the rules then there are no moral absolutes. Comfort goes on about how society can therefore pass laws to justify pedophilia and genocide, but does not offer another part to the “moral dilemma.” It seems that Comfort has no other piece of the dilemma. All Comfort says is that if man makes the rules, then there are no moral absolutes and we can justify anything.
This is not an argument against the theory of evolution. Rather it is more of an argument against relativism. However, it is a rather poor argument. Comfort believes that God is the ultimate moral authority, and Comfort’s presumption that God is perfect and infallible allows him to believe that God is righteous. However, if Comfort follows the moral dictates of an unverifiable entity, then almost anything is permissible. Example, what if tomorrow, God suddenly deemed killing infants as perfectly moral. By Comfort’s reasoning, we cannot question God and we must obey. This is otherwise known as the Divine Command Theory, in which the believer is forced to obey the moral dictates of a deity, regardless if it is right or not. Comfort may object that God would never do or allow such a thing, but all one has to do is read the Old testament and see numerous examples of God commanding the Israelites to slay neighboring tribes without mercy.
Also, if Comfort argues that morality must come from a objective figure, then how can we verify the reliability of said objective figure. Comfort’s infallible God may say that it is absolutely immoral to kill children. On the other hand, religious people like Dan Lafferty who sincerely believe that God told them to kill a baby girl.
Comfort goes on to quote the Times article, where Kluger implies we are not perfect creatures, and there will be a lot of killing before we achieve full civilization.
Comfort says believers in the theory of evolution hold to it because “it offers a naturalistic explanation for this world.” Comfort them quotes Dr. Steven Pinker, who filmed PBS’s “Evolution: “the Mind’s Big Bang.”
“Biologists often say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, and most importantly, Darwin’s theory of natural selection explains the appearance of design in living things. You look at living things, and it looks as if they’ve been engineered. We’ve got a heart that pumps blood. We’ve got eyes that have a transparent lens, irises that open and close in response to the light level, and muscles that move them in and out. We’ve got ears that record vibrations of sound, and lubricated joints in our knees and elbows.
Who put them all together? Until Darwin, it would have been completely reasonable to say “there has to have been a cosmic engineer.” For the same reason that if we see a watch we know that there has to have been a watchmaker, when we seen eyeball or a heart or an elbow, there was to have been something that designed that. Darwin showed why that is not right, that you can get the appearance of engineering in the natural world without invoking a real engineer.
Darwin’s theory of natural selection explains how we find signs of engineering or design in the living world; why, whenever we look at a plant or animal, we see fantastically complicated machinery.”
Ray Comfort calls Pinker a “simpleton.” Comfort points out that Pinker notices the design in creation, and Comfort insists the logical conclusion of finding design in creation must be there has to be a creator. Pinkers response that Darwin revealed that incorrect, Comfort says that is “crazy-talk.” Comfort challenges Pinker and anyone to point to a building that did not have a builder, a painting that did not have a painter, or “anything on this entire earth that has been ‘made’ that didn’t have a maker.”
History reveals that man has battled constantly over territory and instituted a new orders and governments, and we will surely continue to do so.
Where Comfort gets the nerve to call Pinker a simpleton is puzzling, especially from someone who announced the the Introduction of this book was not an evolutionary expert.
Furthermore, it is NOT logical to assert “finding design” in nature means it was therefore created.
Equating man-made structures to nature is a false equivalence fallacy. There is no indication or reason to make that connection. Nature is capable of producing structures that look designed, but they are merely the results of natural physical laws and forces. For instance, has anyone ever seen “a bridge without a bridge maker?” Absolutely.
- Likewise, we have seen traps form on their own. Ever heard of the Venus Fly trap? It is a plant that traps flies, and we know how it evolved naturally without a creator.
- How about a motor that was made without a motor engineer? Absolutely, behold the bacterial flagellum. Despite this being the flag-ship of ID creationists, this biological motor has been shown to be reducible. The Matzke Model explains and demonstrates the steps to how the flagellum naturally evolved without a designer.
- How about artworks of lines and patterns. Take a look at these designs in sand dunes.
Look at the rock formation in Maui’s Iao Valley State Park that bears a striking resemblance to President John F. Kennedy in profile.
- The eroded mountain on Mars that under coarse-grained resolution looks like a face.
- Or the eagle rock off the 134 freeway in Southern California that overlooks the town Eaglerock.
Have we seen other human-like faces pop up naturally in nature? Sure, Christians love to cheer every time they see Jesus’ face appear of grilled cheese sandwiches. Same thing with Mother Teresa or the Virgin Mary.
Overall, ALL of these things occur naturally without invoking an intelligent designer. Since the human brain is hard-wired to detect patterns, we base nature as designed based on our experience of human artifacts. We see patterns in clouds, crystals, and snowflakes, but we already know that they all manifest naturally without a designer. We can test and prove that snowflakes, while having many geometrical patterns, form naturally in the clouds under certain conditions. We also know that evolution of living organisms can develop characteristics that give the illusion of design. The point is, all these things were made naturally without a designer. Comfort presupposes that everything around him is designed, particularly life. The issue here is that there Comfort does not distinguished between naturally made objects versus artificially made objects, rather he seems to insert they are all the same thing. This is why he compares man-made buildings with naturally living things that does not need a designer. This is going way beyond comparing apples and oranges (or perhaps bananas).
The Price of Evolution
Comfort recalls the tragedy of Robert A. Hawkins, a 19-year-old man who shot eight people at an Omaha shopping mall and then killed himself in 2008. Hawkins left a note, and Comfort points out that Hawkins was not lonely person who lacked friends, because the note said that the people he shot was the best of friends he could ever have, he just “snapped” and could not “take this meaningless existence anymore…”
Comfort argues that if evolutionary theory is true and we are the products of “chance” who came from mud for no reason, then we have no real idea where we came from, what we are doing here, or where we are going after death. Comfort points out millions of people live happily without purpose, but Comfort argues those who deny God find themselves hopeless regarding life and death.
How can Comfort claim that evolution says “we came from mud” and then say in the next sentence “we have no real idea where we came from?” Just because a theory cannot explain everything, that does not discredit it. For example, the theory of gravity does not tell us where we came from, what we are doing here, or where we are going (if at all) after death. According to Comfort’s reasoning, we should dismiss gravity altogether.
Comfort asks who said of God, “I want to know His thoughts, the rest of the detail?” Comfort answers Albert Einstein. Comfort says Einsteins name is synonymous with the word genius. Comfort says throughout Einsteins life, all he wanted to do was sin, but as he aged he became more philosophical about life. Comfort quotes Isaiah 55:8,9 for those who seek to know the “thoughts of God.”
Comfort states that since God is omniscient, God never thinks of anything, there is never a “new” thought that comes to his mind. Comfort says that if a new thought did come to God’s mind, then he would not be omniscient.
Einstein was a brilliant scientist, and was a respectable genius, but he was wrong on several things, such as determinism. Also, if Comfort wishes to name people whose name is synonymous with genius, he might as well name Stephen Hawking (a non-believer).
Does God really know everything? If so, then how can there be free will? Example: you come to a forked road and can only make a right or left turn. If God knows you are going to turn left, and you do, God also knows every little detail about you and your choices eons before you were conceived all the way to your death (and thus already knowing where you would spend eternity) how can you possibly have free will? However, if you make a right turn, and God did not know you would make that choice, then God is therefore not omniscient.
Look to the Ant
Comfort shares the story of the ant: it is hardworking and has a will to live. Then Comfort goes on to talk about insects, fish, birds, and then human beings — all of them working and trying to survive.
Comfort asks the question: if god did not create creation, then who did? Comfort says that if there was no Creator, the only other alternative is that it all “happened by chance.” Comfort asks if it is all chance, where did the material come from to bring everything in its present state of order? Comfort then brings up the Big Bang Theory, asking 1) what caused the explosion 2) questions about what the material was that exploded and 3) where did that material come from? Comfort says science has no answers, and we are only left with more questions.
Comfort says the only response given by proponents of the Big Bang theory is the question who created God? Comfort answers that God does not dwell in the dimension of time, therefore he is eternal and has no beginning nor end.
Asking who created everything is the wrong question. First of all, it is begging the question. We know that we were not “created” but for the sake of argument, if there is a creator, asking “who” it is is not the right question. Because we first have to establish what is the creator first. Hypothetically, if we ere created, for all we know, the creator could be time-travelers, universal pixies, aliens, and so on and so on.
How can god “dwell” in a timeless dimension? Comfort, and most theists, believe God is the creator of all things, including time. But if God has a mind and can perform actions, then the process of creating something requires a thought turned into an action. Such a process requires time from indifference to action. So basically, for God to create time, it requires time to process a thought to an action.
The Identity of Evolution
Comfort says that those who still believe evolution is responsible for all this, believers in the theory of evolution believe that evolution is the Creator, and therefore evolution is God. Comfort says “Darwinian believers wouldn’t put it in those words, but that’s what they believe. There can be no argument that whoever or whatever created all things is the Creator (God).”
Comfort then states that those who accept evolution have committed idolatry – the creation of a false god. Comfort says people who believe in evolution love evolution with all their mind, soul, and strength because it “gave him life and all of life’s pleasures. Attack his beliefs and he will come back at you with zeal of a religious fanatic.” Comfort says they love their god for one more reason: evolution has no moral dictates, it does not tell them how to live morally. Comfort compares this to the golden calf story in Exodus. Comfort claims evolution is the “ultimate delusion.”
The theory of evolution does not explain everything as Comfort is implying. As previously noted, Ray Comfort falsely attributes the origins of the universe and the origins of life with the theory of evolution, when in fact evolutionary theory does not comment on either of those. All evolution does it explain the diversification of life. Evolution is not a “creator” it is merely an explanation. To call evolution a creator is fallacious and ludicrous. Similarly, Cell Theory explains that all life is made of cells, but Comfort does not attempt to label Cell theory as a “Creator/God.”
Just because a theory does not explain how to properly live, that does not discredit it. Gravity, cell theory, atomic theory does not explain how to live morally.
Comfort argues that creation tells us there is a Creator, and he exists whether we believe him or not. Next, Comfort begins to preach of Judgment Day and then walks the reader down his old favorite tactic “Are you a good person?” in which he sets up a problem for everyone that only his God can fix by using the Ten Commandments. In conclusion, Comfort says the reader is guilt of breaking at least one of the Commandments. In response, Comfort then says that Jesus Christ came to earth and paid your fine, so all you have to do is repent and you can enter Heaven.
Comfort ends this chapter with a note to the reader to visit his ministries website and click on the booklet “Save Yourself Some Pain.” It is a booklet written by Ray Comfort providing 10 principles for those who are becoming Christians. The principles are as follows;
- Read the Bible daily.
- Have faith in God.
- Join the Christian war against the world, the flesh and the Devil.
- Create a fellowship with believers.
- Expect trials as a Christian, but remember God is on your side.
- Get baptized.
- Give your money to the church.
- Beware of cults, atheists and skeptics. Read Comfort’s book God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists: Proof That the Atheist Doesn’t Exist. (you can read MY REBUTTAL to this book of lies here)
Once again, Ray Comfort has not proven or established that we live in a creation, he is merely assuming and labeling it a creation. On top of that, he is asserting that the creator is his particular creator (Comfort mentioned that his “previous” concept of God was just a “figment of my imagination,” so how can we tell if Comfort’s present concept of God is also imaginary?).