ReligionSkepticism

Don’t Diss Darwin!

Does Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species need a special introduction?

It’s a question humans have been asking for time out of mind . . . I mean, for about two or three months. Because that’s when creationist and originator of the intelligently designed banana canon, Ray Comfort, introduced the idea. And he did so with no small measure of his own special brand of mustachioed, self-satisfied arrogance.

On Thursday, November 19, a few days before the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s classic work, Comfort plans to distribute free copies of “Origin” at colleges and universities across the U.S. and (on the 24th) in Canada.

These free copies include a special introduction by Comfort, which claims, among other things, that evolution is scientifically false and that Darwin was a misogynist racist whose ideas inspired Hitler. (BTW, I heard he settled on the misogynist racist angle because he thought saying Darwin raped dolphins and ate kittens for breakfast was a little too far-fetched.)

Talk about spoiling an anniversary!

But do not despair, folks. There is some good news in all of this.

To put Comfort’s claims in perspective — and to aid scientists, teachers, students, and other concerned citizens in protesting Comfort’s distortions — the National Center for Science Education has created a special website chock-full of advice, analysis, background information, videos, and more.

You can click on http://www.dontdissdarwin.com/ to see some of the tools the NCSE is providing, including:

  • The NCSE Safety Bookmark — A tongue-in-cheek tool for separating the Comfort introduction from the rest of the book.
  • “Why Ray Comfort is Wrong” — A flyer detailing Comfort’s wacky take on science, history, and theology.
  • A “Public Service Announcement” video.
  • Posters and signs you can get printed for Comfort’s event.
  • A detailed backgrounder on the Comfort introduction, pointing out the flaws, distortions, misinterpretations, and other problems.
  • Websites, books, journals and other science resources devoted to evolution.
  • Links to Dr. Eugenie Scott’s debate with Comfort on U.S. News & World Report’s web site.
  • A list of the colleges and universities that Comfort claims to be targeting.

Check out the website, and forward the link around to all your chums. When bad information is in circulation, the least we can do is circulate sources for good information.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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16 Comments

  1. I’m at one of the colleges where these are getting passed out. I plan on picking one up, as well as a new box of red pens. Y’know, just to correct the errors.

    I think the book will look like it’s bleeding when I’m done.

  2. dpaul wrote “Can we distribute Bibles with a “special introduction” inserted before Genesis?”

    I’m thinkin’ that a good tactic would be to print out and distribute any of the nice lists of “Errors and Contradictions in the Bible” and/or Cruelty in the Bible and/or Immorality in the Bible, etc. – http://www.google.com/search?q=errors+biblehttp://www.google.com/search?q=cruelty+biblehttp://www.google.com/Top/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Opposing_Views/Christianity/Bible/

  3. Kudos to Eugenie Scott for being willing to plow through Comfort’s idiocy and actually pen a reply. I love that he defines an atheist as “someone who believes nothing created everything” and yet subsequently claims that we move the goal posts by redefining atheism. WTF?

  4. @guest1999: I’m thinkin’ that a good tactic would be to print out and distribute any of the nice lists of “Errors and Contradictions in the Bible” and/or Cruelty in the Bible and/or Immorality in the Bible, etc. –

    YES! I got into a little head butting session with a coworker the other day (although I was trying to be really level headed and calm while talking to her) because she was going on and on about how Islam is a horrible religion and she believes in the bible and it doesn’t teach all of those HORRIBLE things Islam does.

    I really REALLY had to bite my tongue.

    I wonder what she would have thought if I told her that Christianity and Islam were related :-P

    Funny how people can’t seem to link the Knights Templar with Al Quida.

  5. I’m becoming very skeptical that this book will ever come out. He’s getting a lot of publicity over it, and if he didn’t know before that people would just cut out the intro, he does now. Why spend money making books when he can get the press for free?

  6. My beloved institute seems to be one of the targets. I wonder who would dare distribute this. Trash. Pure trash. I say, keep the Origins part and use the introduction for fire. It gets cold in the winter.

  7. Ray is such an asinine little tool.
    Did anyone catch his little slam on pg. 9 of his intro? When he’s talking about ink falling on paper and forming words, he used the string “fgsn&k cn1clxc dumbh cckvkduh vstupidm ncncx” as an example (bold mine). Cute, Ray, cute. I wonder if he was trying to be self-referential?

  8. Can’t wait to pick one up at U of FLA! Can you say Collectors’ Edition! I hope every skeptic, scientist and reason supporter goes out and picks up several. Keep these dangerous instruments out of the hands of babes.

  9. In another blog, someone had looked at an advance copy and found that a few of the most important chapters were missing. No amount of bookmarks or red ink can make up for that. :-(

    I wonder if they kept the chapter numbers, or re-numbered the other chapters to hide what they had done.

  10. @pciszek: As I understand it, the first print run had 4 chapters missing. The second print run restored the chapters, but left out some other things.

    By the way, if anyone manages to land an extra copy of this thing, I’d be willing to take it off your hands.

  11. He’s moved the distribution date. They’re being passed out today. I’ve already gotten a copy.

    It looks like the missing chapters are there in this version, but I plan on going through that side-by-side with a full version of Origin, and seeing if they are re-worded, abridged, whathaveyou.

    I’m trying to see if I can pick up multiple copies, but asking directly didn’t work. It’s really pathetic. There’s just one guy, with a stack of books and a backpack, attempting to hand them out to students as we walk past. I was expecting a much larger front.

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