Why Ray Comfort’s “Evolution vs. God” Isn’t Actually That Helpful

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Recently, Ray Comfort released a documentary titled “Evolution vs. God: Shaking the Foundations of Faith.” Comfort, an ardent proponent of young earth creationism (YEC), which promotes biblical literalism concerning Genesis 1–3, created the video in hopes of instilling doubt in the minds of the general public about the trustworthiness of evolution.

Presumably, the hope behind such a documentary would seek to bolster the trustworthiness of scripture for evangelism purposes. Having viewed it a few times, there is no doubt in my mind that Comfort is well-intentioned; however, I believe this video is not actually that helpful to the greater Science v. Faith public dialogue.

To be sure, Evolution vs. God will most likely not turn many heads. A quick scan across the internet reveals that it has already become the laughing stock of the non-theist community – a moot point, of course. Yet it is the other audience viewing the video, the Christians, who may well receive a false hope that Comfort’s documentary is an extremely effective tool for the gospel.

Why? Because Evolution vs. God just isn’t really that helpful whether you’re a YEC, intelligent design proponent, theistic evolutionist, or any other flavor of theistic creationism. It is unhelpful because it is poorly executed and falsely advertised as having accomplished something it has not.

GOTCHA JOURNALISM

So what’s the big deal? Why isn’t this video helpful? Two words: gotcha journalism. Unfortunately, Comfort’s video is a classic example of it.

Throughout the entire video, Comfort interviews students and university professors about their belief in evolution. He repeatedly commits that most notorious of philosophical fallacies, appeal to authority, by supposedly stumping evolutionary experts in their own fields of research.

The unspoken message comes across very clear – since studied evolutionists cannot provide observable evidence for evolution, it must be false. However, it should be observed that the authority Comfort appeals to isn’t the best pool to draw from. Throughout the video, he speaks with 26 students (presumably undergraduates) while only speaking with 4 professional academics. Not to offend, but this may not be the best sample of evolutionists to draw conclusions from.

Not only this, but there were many students who weren’t even biology majors. Some were geology, chemistry, bio-chemistry, environment science, and physics majors. Stumping a geology major in evolution does not disprove the theory, just as stumping a criminal justice major in theology doesn’t disprove the existence of God.

(There was just something cringeworthy about watching Comfort question geology and physics majors about evolution, recording their confused reactions, and heralding it as a victory for creationism.)

Furthermore, when questioning his interviewees about evolution, Comfort devotes a substantially smaller amount of attention to professors or academics compared to students.  Obviously, students will not formulate the same calibre of responses that professors or academics will, and Comfort is well aware of this.

All this leads to a documentary full of gotcha journalism. It comes across as tacky, misleading and, frankly, ineffective. So, after watching a documentary laden with gotcha journalism, as Christians we should honestly ask the question, “How is this helpful for Jesus?”

BACK TO WHAT MATTERS

In my opinion, Comfort needs to get back to what matters – the gospel. Of course, he presents a version at the end of the documentary, but gets to the gospel only after wading through a thicket of loaded questions and, presumably, highly edited responses. (After all, we cannot know for sure the extent or persuasiveness to which the interviewees answered Comfort’s questions.)

What Comfort is doing through Evolution vs. God is mirroring the same boorish tactics used by New Atheists in order to instill doubt in the minds of Christians. We complain about the ornery antagonism from the likes of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, but when it is done in reverse do we cheer? When Comfort corners an undergraduate geology major about the massive implications and issues surrounding evolution, do we not see the correlation of Harris broad stroking Christians are backwards, unthinking fools?

Comfort does apologetics evangelism an injustice with this documentary while heralding it as having shaken the foundations of faith in evolution. The formula we should engage in does not start with “debunking” evolution. What matters in sharing the gospel isn’t trying to “disprove” evolution outright.  Sharing the gospel is about getting straight to the point – starting at Jesus – and working your way outwards from there.

Watch “Evolution vs. God” here.

3 thoughts on “Why Ray Comfort’s “Evolution vs. God” Isn’t Actually That Helpful

    1. I liked Expelled because it focused more on the fact that proponents of ID are typically pushed aside in favor of a classic Darwinian explanation for origins. There was no ‘gotcha journalism’ in Expelled, neither did Ben Stein herald it as having shaken the faith of evolutionists.

  1. Kyle, thanks for your comment on Evolution vs. God. As a physician, and scientist, long regimented in the scientific method, I appreciate your even handed analysis of this particular work by Ray Comfort. I truly appreciate what Ray Comfort is trying to do. For me, there is a middle ground, and that is the position of intelligent design. The story of creation and evolution can be harmonized by recognizing that not only is God the author of all creation, but that He is also a God of order, law, and method. As a physician and scientist, and a mortal, I cannot wrap my head around a universe that merely came into existence by mere accident or coincidence, arbitrary happenings, random in its execution, and lacking fundamental laws that govern the behavior of atoms, molecules, cells and organisms; it flies in the face of logic and violates the fundamental laws of science.

    The second law of thermodynamics, as I vaguely recall it, predicts that the Universe is always moving toward a state of greater entropy (disorganization). Yet we see, through the eyes of evolution, a steady march of higher and higher organization, of greater sophistication and more complex life. This violates the second law of thermodynamics, a fundamental premise of scientific thought. Without the Guiding Force, this evolution toward higher sophistication violates the premise on which it is founded. This contrdicts the law of entropy and so, argues strongly for the influence of Intelligent Design.

    I believe in a God of mercy, of Grace, and of Love; and I also believe He is a God of Laws, Order, Design and Plan. I see the wonders of science as the proof of a God who has ordered and designed our Universe not arbitrarily or in chaos, but systematically, and which responds to the laws of nature which He Himself has authored. He is not a “black box” God, but a God of infinite complexity, design and purpose. He has every worked out every detail of matter, energy, and existence, and distilled them into a formula that exists in perfect harmony with all that He has ordained.

    My studies of science, and the way in which our Universe follows His laws of order stand to me as a proof of His magnificent wisdom, intelligence and control of all that is. Science, in my view, is not the antithesis of God, it is His signature. I believe that God ordered our Universe according to a set of both moral and scientific laws, neither of which were intended for exception. I praise God for the science that allows us to accomplish healing in His name. Science is not the erasure of God, it is the expression of His mighty brilliance. Without His authorship of the laws of nature, the entire Universe would collapse into nothingness.

    John Van Derwood MD

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