Respectful Insolence

On May 5 New York City will witness what will perhaps be the most unintentionally hilarious spectacle of two fundamentalists making utter fools of themselves:

MEDIA ADVISORY, April 26 /Christian Newswire/ — After ABC ran a story in January about hundreds of atheists videotaping themselves blaspheming the Holy Spirit, best-selling author Ray Comfort contacted the network and offered to prove God’s existence, absolutely, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible or faith. He and Kirk Cameron (co-hosts of an award-winning Christian TV program) challenged the two originators of the “Blasphemy Challenge” to a debate on the existence of God. According to Comfort, he and Cameron (an ex-atheist) are qualified to debate on the subject. Comfort had not only written a book titled “God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists”, but had spoken at Yale on the subject of atheism, and been flown by American Atheists, Inc., to their 2001 annual convention to be a platform speaker.

ABC loved the idea, and will host a debate in New York City on May 5, 2007. Moderated by Martin Bashir, the debate will be streamed LIVE on their website and will also be filmed for “Nightline.”

Geez. These debates are utterly pointless. The crank will always have the advantage because he will not be constrained by little things like the facts. Cameron will be free to throw pseudoscience and misinformation faster than any skeptic can hope to bat them down.

Of course, this whole thing’s all about the evils of evolution. It’s always about the “evils” of evolution:

Cameron (“Growing Pains” sitcom and Left Behind movies) will speak on what he believes is a major catalyst for atheism: Darwinian evolution. The popular actor stated, “Evolution is unscientific. In reality, it is a blind faith that’s preached with religious zeal as the gospel truth. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was once a naïve believer in the theory. The issue of intelligent design is extremely relevant at the moment. Atheism has become very popular in universities–where it’s taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn’t be surprised when there are school shootings. Cameron will also reveal what it was that convinced him that God did exist.

“Most people equate atheism with intellectualism,” Comfort added, “but it’s actually an intellectual embarrassment. I am amazed at how many people think that God’s existence is a matter of faith. It’s not, and I will prove it at the debate – once and for all. This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists.

“But,” Comfort continued, “there is something more sinister here than a few people not believing in God. Why would so many be so bitter against Christianity in particular? Why aren’t they making videos that blaspheme Buddha or Mohammed or Ghandi? We made our own video clip and posted it on www.Hollywoodblasphemy.com to expose why.”

Watching Cameron “debate” about evolution will be about as informative as watching a Kent Hovind video. I momentarily thought about making the long drive to New York to see this thing next weekend (that is, if I could find out how to get in or if there are tickets), but then I realized that I really do have better things to do with my time.

Like picking up the dog poop in my yard.

Comments

  1. #1 JYB
    April 27, 2007

    Why would so many be so bitter against Christianity in particular? Why aren’t they making videos that blaspheme Buddha or Mohammed or Ghandi? We made our own video clip and posted it on http://www.Hollywoodblasphemy.com to expose why

    Perhaps it’s because nobody is trying to get time set aside in schools for Buddhist chants.

    Or to give equal time to reincarnation.

    I’m also a bit confused as to why he threw Gandi into there. Damn you Gandhi! Eat something already!

  2. #2 Brent McKee
    April 27, 2007

    I am amazed not simply by this idea of Christians debating atheists (although it really isn’t all Christians, simply self-appointed representatives of a minority group who think their brand of Christianity represents all Christians), it is that Kirk Cameron is one of their standard bearers. This guy had a reputation as a self righteous nut on the set of his show “Growing Pains.” He once had the actress who played his fiance fired because she appeared in Playboy. He accused the producers of putting too much sex in the show – his definition of sex included having Cameron and the woman who played his girlfriend on the show sitting on the bed in his room. He accused the producers of the show of being “pornographers” in a phone call to the president of ABC. He’s going to be hard to debate against because he steadfastly refuses to let facts or logic get in his way.

  3. #3 Godless McHeathenpants
    April 27, 2007

    Sweet Baby Jeebus…Who is on the atheist/evolution side, Skreech?

    Why don’t the right wing nuts who like to tell actors to “Shut up and sing” when they advocate liberal positions tell Mr. Seaver to go do another crappy 3rd tier rapture movie.

    I’m getting a headache…I wonder if Rush has some extra Oxys hanging around….

  4. #4 Bartholomew Cubbins
    April 27, 2007

    I wonder what Jesus has to say about his 80′s fashion sense?

  5. #5 PlanetaryGear
    April 27, 2007

    while I haven’t been real close to religion as an adult, as I child I recall that having faith was an important part of the whole belief structure. Where’s free will in a universe with a proven God? Isn’t the whole point that you have to choose to believe? If God can reach into the universe and “prove” that he exists then that sort of removes the need for faith doesn’t it? I dont get it.

  6. #6 Nobrainer
    April 27, 2007

    Cameron comes of as being really stupid, and incapable of understanding, um, anything.

    Atheism has become very popular in universities–where it’s taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn’t be surprised when there are school shootings.

    What about the school shootings at high schools? Certainly that can’t be a problem of university brainwashing. Certainly it wasn’t that the VT shooter was crazy, he was just in a pro-atheist environment.

    The article goes on to list 4 countries (UK, France, Sweden, and Japan) where rates of non-believers are quite high. However, gun deaths per 100,000 in those countries are much, much lower.

    And on another note, the “average atheist is in fact not the well-educated, but young single males with low education and low income!”

    It certainly appears that Cameron couldn’t be more wrong.

  7. #7 Handyman
    April 27, 2007

    ” I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists”

    Does this mean that Ray is going to whip out his banana on national TV?

  8. #8 Cain
    April 27, 2007

    I agree, Planetary Gear. The whole point is that you’re supposed to have faith, that is, not require any proof of God’s existence. This is why I don’t get the IDers or the moron Kirk Cameron or the people who find an image of the Virgin Mary in a pancake: if they’re constantly searching for the physical presence of God on earth, doesn’t that mean they lack faith?

  9. #9 Robster, FCD
    April 27, 2007

    Proof of God?

    Write it up and pub it in Science!

    heh.

  10. #10 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 27, 2007

    videos that blaspheme Buddha…,
    That would be pretty difficult to do. When the Taliban blew up the Afghan Buddhas they might have been attempting something like that but since the transitory nature of all created things is THE central teaching of Buddhist cosmology and psychology they were actually confirming his teaching by blowing them up. It might have been one of the most Buddhist acts ever misunderstood by those who haven’t studied the Tipikata.

    Nothing outside of the claims that religion makes about the physical universe is capible of being confirmed or disproved by reason or science. There has to be a physical component or the tools and methods of science and reason are not able to address them. Religion, of course, has no place, at all, within the narrow confines of science since those ideas are not a part of what science studies.

  11. #11 Drekab
    April 27, 2007

    I don’t think the uproar of the exploding Buddha statues was about disrespect, I think it was more about the destruction of important (and awesome) historical artifacts. Those statues belong in a museum!!!! /Indy

  12. #12 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 27, 2007

    Drekab, don’t get me wrong, I wish they hadn’t done it. But it is entirely supportive of the Buddhist view of things for them to have been destroyed and by pointing out that it was an act that confirmed Buddhism on the basis of bigotry and ignorance is about the only sweetness likely to be found in it. The same is done constantly here by people who think they’re attacking some idea (almost always based on an absurd characterization of it) or other when they aren’t doing anything of the sort.

  13. #13 clone3g
    April 27, 2007

    “This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists.

    The average atheist enjoys a good joke almost as much as scientific proof.

  14. #14 mark
    April 27, 2007

    ABC could make this a really entertaining and educational show. All they would have to do is, every time one of the Creationists told a fib or misrepresented evolutionists, or–well, all those things they do–have someone from above, off camera, dump a slop bucket on him. See? Television can be a great teaching medium!

  15. #15 Scholar
    April 27, 2007

    Like they always say, dogs are a computer’s best friend.

  16. #16 Scholar
    April 27, 2007

    “Write it up and pub it in Science!”

    Uh, what about peer review? That’s gonna be tough, unless Muhammed is back from his ride

  17. #17 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 27, 2007

    I momentarily thought about making the long drive to New York to see this thing next weekend (that is, if I could find out how to get in or if there are tickets), but then I realized that I really do have better things to do with my time.

    Like picking up the dog poop in my yard.

    I wouldn’t drive up there but I’ll sure as hell catch it on Nightline purely for the laughs and maybe an off chance to see some banana action.

  18. #18 quork
    April 27, 2007

    This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists.

    Here’s an example of the level of proof we can expect from these two clowns:
    The Atheists’ Worst Nightmare: The Banana

  19. #19 dzd
    April 27, 2007

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Yet another chance for people to repeat stuff that’s already been on the Index of Creationist Claims for years.

  20. #20 Coin
    April 27, 2007

    The only thing that concerns me is about this is, who is representing the atheist “side”? The makers of the Blasphemy Challenge? Who are these guys? Are they likely to be good representatives for atheism/rationalism, or capable to immediately poke holes in whatever left-field lunacy Cameron et al come up with?

    That’s not a “scare quote question”, I’m sincerely asking. I don’t know anything about these “rational response squad” people except that they successfully started an internet fad. Speaking from personal experience, that doesn’t take a lot of intellectual skill. I guess it doesn’t really matter much, though– it may be all they have to do is come across as less crazy than Cameron/Comfort and that’s potentially a win…

    I do like the blood drive thing on their website.

  21. #21 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 27, 2007

    Coin, as my dear friend Bill is always saying, members of put down minorities don’t just have to be better, they have to be several times better. And they aren’t allowed to make mistakes. PR for an unpopular minority group has to be classy, smart and always on its toes or their best efforts will be turned against them. Self-indulgence by any member will be latched onto by the unfriendly media and turned into a weapon to be used against the group. Pride is one thing, arrogance another and the arrogance is just such a weapon.

  22. #22 Preston
    April 27, 2007

    In defense of the Banana video… that was a domesticated banana. So it was, in fact, intelligently designed and is irrefutable proof of banana farmers.

  23. #23 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 27, 2007

    How interesting, planetary gear, my post this morning was an answer to an atheist who attcked me for making a defense of free will against biological determinists and, especially, those who read the pop version of them and hold that “neuroscience has proven that free will doesn’t exist,”. Too bad I didn’t get to the beginning of this thread later. Free will is held to exist in the majority of western religion, the Calvinists and a few others not generally included.

  24. #24 Ick of the East
    April 27, 2007

    The whole point is that you’re supposed to have faith, that is, not require any proof of God’s existence.

    That’s just something that people with no proof always say.

    If they had any proof you can bet your sweet ass they would be happy to let everybody know about it, no matter how detrimental it would be to faith.
    .

  25. #25 Maronan
    April 27, 2007

    Admittedly, the banana argument is a very good one. Bananas are proof of God; how could evolution produce a fruit that is perfectly designed to be used as a natural dildo?

  26. #26 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 28, 2007

    ick of the East, you ever hear the story of little Bertie Russell when his brother started teaching him Geometry. He wanted to know why he should accept the definitions and other givens, his brother said that they couldn’t go on unless he did. Every single person accepts something without “proof”. No one functions only on the basis of things that have been “proven” to them, a lot of times the “faith” is in the honesty of other people and the assumption that their assumed proofs have been rigorously tested. Ok, what’s the “proof” that the items in the Bill of Rights are vaild? Would you want them to have to be proven before you enjoyed them? I doubt it.

  27. #27 sophia8
    April 29, 2007

    ck of the East, you ever hear the story of little Bertie Russell when his brother started teaching him Geometry. He wanted to know why he should accept the definitions and other givens, his brother said that they couldn’t go on unless he did. Every single person accepts something without “proof”.
    I don’t get the point of that story. Learning geometry – or any other type of maths – is all about learning and checking the definitions and proofs. To prove anything in geometry, all you need is a pencil, some paper and a few simple measuring and drawing tools. No faith needed.

  28. #28 The Science Pundit
    April 29, 2007

    Does this mean that Ray is going to whip out his banana on national TV?

    That’s the rumor.

    I momentarily thought about making the long drive to New York to see this thing next weekend (that is, if I could find out how to get in or if there are tickets), but then I realized that I really do have better things to do with my time.

    Like picking up the dog poop in my yard.

    I was going to suggest that you hire David Mills to come do that, but if there are tickets, he’ll probably be there.

    In defense of the Banana video… that was a domesticated banana. So it was, in fact, intelligently designed and is irrefutable proof of banana farmers.

    And if you take the wider view and deny man’s special place in the Universe (I know, I know …), then banana farmers are just a part of nature, which brings us back to natural selection.

  29. #29 olvlzl, no ism, no ist
    April 29, 2007

    sophai8, the point is that the basic materials of geometry can’t be proven. You did know that didn’t you? I wasn’t the one who started demanding proof, I was just pointing out that not a single person, no, not even the most pretentious positivists and allegedly rigorous skeptics, who doesn’t constantly in their lives depend on their faith in something. And if you like so many others don’t like the word “faith” used this way you can go look up “belief” in a thesaurus. Tell me why it isn’t a valid use of the word.

    So, can you prove the validity of the Bill of Rights?

  30. #30 noself
    May 1, 2007

    Is this the fallacy of equivocation though? The word faith is used here in two highly different context and arguably different epistemological ways.

    Faith in the religious context is accepting a proposition on little or no evidence as true. My acceptance of methodological naturalism in science on the other hand is taken to be valid on the basis that it actually works i.e. useful results, predictions etc.

    Thus the validity (and here I presume you aren’t actually thinking of the distinction that is made between valid and [T]rue) of the Bill of Rights is that it works to secure the social contract, or it has survive the ages or whatever. You’re effectively asking that it be demonstrated to be true (and not “valid”), but why does it need to be so? I can very happily accept it as contingent valid in a pluralistic society while accepting that a group of theocrats might prefer something else.

    For something to be valid, it simply needs to be internally consistent (hence logic and hence I think geometry) but obviously it can’t “prove” itself per se. It does not necessarily mean that it is necessarily right (in the hard sense of the word).

    Perhaps you are attacking instead the metaphysics of grundnorm, the first irreducible norm so which all else flows but in so defined, it itself has no ground on which to be supported by and you’ll find yourself in good company. But accepting the basis of logic (or geometry) is not metaphysical in the same way having faith in the supernatural is.

  31. noself, I’m kind of surprised that someone who could get that far with the simple fact that “faith” and “belief” are synonymous (checked it out in every single English language dictionary I could find, including some which made my point even stronger than I put it) could fail to notice that I stated that I wasn’t the one asking for proof.

    The existence of God, The validity of the Bill of Rights, which issue is most likely to impinge on your life if someone demands absolute proof of them? I’m not getting involved with the thought and language puzzles, all of them seem to be designed to avoid having to deal with a fact of the language on no more of a basis than the maintainance of an arrogant dismissial of beliefs, faith, that you don’t like.

  32. #32 noself
    May 1, 2007

    Eh? That’s way too simplistic a dismissal which is what you appear to be accusing me of. Hand waving does not an argument make.

    Recall that your earlier comment about Bertrand Russel (and the axioms of geometry) was essentially a critique that we can’t distinguish between faith in god and faith in any other axiomatic system (like geometry or logic). But as there is a conceptual epistemological distinction to be made (how do we accept something or know it is true) and an important one at that.

    It’s not an arrogant dismissal so much as a principled one when I draw a distinction between the different acceptance I have of “faith” in god and “faith” (whatever that means) in the Bill of Rights. It’s not mere word play because there are very practical implications. I don’t accept that the (aspects of the) Bill of Rights is in fact self evident or can be based on nothing more than a social contract and the acceptance of the majority of the populace. I don’t believe there are in fact any Natural Rights beyond those we choose to recognize. As such, I’m more than aware of how tenuous our “rights” actually are.

    By way of example, I’m not a US Citizen, my rights under my country’s Constitution is much more severely limited especially given that our judiciary exercises massive restraint. And since the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is not self-executing under our laws, it’s just words on a piece of paper as far as our courts is concerned and as far as protecting rights that I would other have.

    So once again, I am not simply dismissing faith and beliefs I don’t like but accepting and dismissing them on different grounds.

    Besides, weren’t you essentially playing the language game by trying to equate faith and belief, truth and validity and thereby create a form of false equivalence? There are distinctions drawn between them for a reason, the very fact our bring up a thesaurus kind of proves my point that they aren’t the same word. Synonyms don’t always have the same meaning especially in the popular context much less when it has a technical meaning. My point was “faith” in Science (or the scientific method) is not equivalent to “faith” in God/Zeus or the supernatural because we approach them differently conceptually.

    I accept one and dismiss the other on different grounds, that’s all.

  33. #33 noself
    May 1, 2007

    noself, I would love to engage you in this discussion but I’m kind of pressed. On my own blog today there are several posts on issues relating to these things. I will look in there tonight to see if you would like to continue. If you look you will, I hope, see that my considerations of these issues isn’t superficial or dishonest. olvlzl.blogspot.com

  34. #34 Dayana
    May 11, 2007

    It is really sad to see how humanity has become so ignorant every decade. People just do not understand that we are nothing without God. God has always existed and He always will. He is the Alpha and the Omega and whoever does not believe in him is condemn for the eternity, because whoever does not have him is empty from the inside out. I just pray for He to have mercy on all those who dont believe in him and i just hope that when you realize that He Is God, is not too late. And how stupid is that when tragedies occur then is all of you who say and ask yourself in the deepest of your heart where is God and why he let this happend and why dont you ask yourself this… why you push him away from you?
    GoD will never condemn you. He loves you so much that he gave His only son for us because we are lost and we are nothing with out him. he knows every deepest thing that is inside of you, he knows everything and nothing can ever be hidden from his prescence. this is not about religion, or christianity or nothing, this is about you, personaly with your heavenly Father. just open your heart and let himself prove to you the He really exists.

  35. #35 Voice O'Reason
    May 11, 2007

    this is not about religion, or christianity or nothing, this is about you, personaly with your heavenly Father.

    Yes of course:

    Heavenly Father = “not about religion”

    And:

    “GoD will never condemn you” = “whoever does not believe in him is condemn for the eternity”

    Therefore:

    The pain in my head = in no way related to trying to make sense of this.

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