Ray Comfort has a new site, Pull the plug on atheism. It’s a series of short pages which consist mainly of plugs for some bad books he is peddling, with a few paragraphs in which he announces a few of his misconceptions about atheism, with the air of one who has trounced every objection. It really is as bad as his pathetic blog.
For instance, the first thing he does is define what he means by atheist.
An atheist is someone who believes that nothing made everything.
Then he goes on and on with fallacious analogies: “Imagine if I said my latest book came from nothing.” Imagine if I say that I don’t believe a builder build my house.” It’s quite sad.
His analogies are foolish. We know how houses and books are made, so he’s peddling a counterfactual claim. We don’t know all the processes that went into the appearance of the universe — and that “we” includes Ray Comfort — so it is an open question. I’m quite sure it wasn’t his imaginary Christian god, since there is no reason to consider the accounts of his faith to be accurate.
He’s also relying on trickery with the language. When we say “made”, it implies an active event by an agent, so what he is doing is setting up a linguistic conflict between a word that implies agency and an event that scientists are saying was not necessarily caused. The conflict isn’t real, but is only a consequence of a limitation of language and the way our brains work.
And of course, he doesn’t bother with this problem: who made god? I can guess how he’d respond: there was no “who”, and god wasn’t “made”. At which time we do a little judo move and point out that the universe wasn’t “made” by a “who”, either.
He also continues to harp on a very silly argument, the claim that evolution is impossible because both sexes need to evolve simultaneously.
If any species came into existence without a mature female present (with complimentary female components), that one male would have remained alone and in time died. The species could not have survived without a female. Why did hundreds of thousands of animals, fish, reptiles and birds (over millions of years) evolve a female partner (that coincidentally matured at just the right time) with each species?
Curiously, he seems to think that a species is defined by the first male of the kind that appears, and females have to follow along. Weird. Sexist much?
Of course, it’s no problem at all. Species do not poof into existence as individuals without parents, siblings, cousins, or other distant relatives. Populations evolve — populations consisting of both sexes. If the population of the state of Minnesota got on board their rocketships and migrated en masse to underground colonies on the moon, and then had no further contact with the rest of humanity for a hundred thousand years, the two populations would diverge by drift and selection into different species. The population in each location would be continually interbreeding; at no point (except in the isolation mechanism) would there be a sudden transition where one group found itself consisting solely of one reproductively isolated male or female, waiting for a member of the other sex to pop into existence and give them something fun to do. Nor would anyone be able to look back and say precisely when their biology became incompatible — it would be fuzzy shifts among large numbers of people at all times.
But that’s Ray: deluded and confused and ignorant, but still plugging away obstinately with the certainty of tightly closed eyes.