Evolution vs. God

Evolution vs. God

Ray Comfort has recently put out several provocative, informative and entertaining half hour videos.  His latest called Evolution vs. God asks some top evolutionists to offer evidence for their view (included in this production is P.Z. Myers, one of the more aggressive proponents of macro-evolution).  Their responses may surprise you!

It is certainly true that God could exist and macro-evolution also be true.  However, this film exposes the difficulty macro-evolutionists often have offering evidence for their view without assuming what they are trying to prove.  It seems to me that they have a lot faith.  Maybe given more time they could make a better case, but they certainly don’t do so in this film (and in nothing I’ve read either).

You can watch the trailer and download the complete production right now here (over 247,000 trailer views and 6,000 downloads in about a week).  For those of you that can wait, it will be available on You Tube on August 7.  However, downloading it helps pay for production costs for this and future videos.  Check it out.  I think you’ll find it enlightening and entertaining!

20 replies
    • Frank Turek says:

      Thanks for this Stephen. This example is actually from a previous short film, not “Evolution vs. God.” I sent this to Ray and said that while this edit did not change his overall point in the film, you should not change particulars of the question in the final edit. We must all be as accurate as possible. Ray assured me that such editing was not used in “Evolution vs. God” and even sent me a response from one of the evolutionary biologists interviewed (Dr. Peter Nonacs) on this evolution blog http://bit.ly/185BiF9. Nonacs said that he expects his claims would not be taken out of context and that they would be an accurate reflection of his views. Not sure if this means he’s seen the final cut or not. I’d like to know his thoughts if so. Please let me know if you find them.

      Blessings,

      Frank

      Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        Interesting, Frank. Don’t know about Dr Nonacs, but PZ Myers said this about the film:

        “Comfort came to me asking for the evidence for evolution. The way it went is that he would a) ask for evidence, b) I would give him an example (like the research on sticklebacks or bacteria), c) Comfort would raise an irrelevant objection (they’re still fish! They’re still bacteria!), and d) I would explain why his objection was invalid, and how his expectations of the nature of the evidence were wrong. Somehow, though, in the movie (d) always ended up on the cutting room floor, so that he could announce in all of his promotional materials and in the movie itself that I was unable to provide any evidence for evolution.”

        “That last bit is a lie. That’s not what respectable video producers do. An honest presentation of our interview would say that PZ Myers presented evidence for evolution, but in Ray Comfort’s opinion, it was not adequate… not, “all these scientists were unable to present evidence for evolution!””

        Reply
        • Frank Turek says:

          There’s no question that you cannot cover a complicated topic such as macroevolution in 30 minute film. I’m sure much was left on the cutting room floor. But I would like to see from Dr. Myers why he thinks Comfort’s objection is invalid. Why does he think that the extrapolation from micro to macro (from bacteria to something else) is legitimate (especially given cyclical nature of micro evolution, known genetic barriers, the increase in genetic information required for new body plans, and the problem of irreducible complexity)? What evidence does he have for the extrapolation? Please post any links you think are persuasive.

          Thanks.

          Reply
          • Stephen B says:

            Frank, you’re missing the point. Imagine it was a film about evidence for God. I interviewed you, Geisler, WL Craig etc. You gave initial arguments – certainly not meant to be all-encompassing (quite rightly you take time to present many arguments, in sequence, in IDHEFTBAA). I then present an objection or two, which you then deal with at length.

            But the my film comes out, and you replies are all cut out, and it’s the same story for your fellow apologists. You can perhaps understand that – I’ve a POV, it’s my film. But surely you’d see it as dishonest if in the film, I say in voice over after I’ve made my objections to your initial argument – “None of the apologists could answer my objection” – simply because I didn’t consider the answers convincing.

            Do you see no difference between saying: “He continued with answers, but they didn’t convince me”, and claiming “He had no answer to that”?

            Sorry if that avoids your question – there are plenty of threads here already discussing the issues you discuss – I’m trying to focus on the problems with Comfort’s film-making ethics.

          • Luke says:

            Dr. Turek,

            All of the question you ask here actually illustrate one of the problems Stephen is talking about.

            Do you think that these are questions to which you believe Dr. Myers has provided no answer? Or do you find those answers lacking and are asking for better ones?

            Luke

      • Peter Nonacs says:

        For those interested in accuracy, below is my entire quote, which I made before seeing the final film. I have seen it now and I think my prediction turned out to be quite accurate. Most of my “on camera” time is spent talking about blaspheming. What that has to do with the validity of evolution, maybe only Ray understands. Every substantive discussion I have had with Ray has been either “lost” or ended up on the cutting room floor. This is really a shame. I think both sides of the evolution debate would greatly enjoy seeing the entire give and take between us. Much more so than the 2 second cameos you see in the film. In person, Ray is actually more interesting and effective than the character he play in his films. I don’t know why he doesn’t trust his audience to see a real conversation rather than resorting to editing tricks. (Oh, and the imagination quote… that’s from Einstein, which Gail attributed but Ray conveniently left out of the film. Most of us only wish we had Einstein’s imagination! It’s a complement, not an insult.)

        Best wishes to all,

        Peter Nonacs

        ********************

        “Ray is a charming fellow and I greatly enjoy
        interacting with him. I do not expect that my words will be edited out of
        context or that I’ll find myself somehow saying on camera that “All of
        evolutionary biology is a hoax perpetuated in order to justify atheism.” In
        short, I expect that everything in the DVD will be an accurate reflection of my
        words.

        Having said that, however, I do expect to see very
        selective editing, where my every stammer and momentary silence in response to
        a “profound” question from Ray will be there. I will have about 15 seconds of
        airtime to answer his, “Give me one piece of evidence for evolution!” All in
        all, Ray interviewed me for about 10 minutes. As I recall, most of that was
        spent talking about how poorly humans are anatomically designed to be upright
        animals. This, of course, supports both Natural Selection and the
        Binge-drinking, semi-intelligent designer theories of evolution. We also spent
        some time on the poorly designed vertebrate eye, which places the nerves
        carrying the signals in front of the photoreceptors (in comparison to the squid
        eye, which does it in the right order). Ray’s take, of course, is that all
        anatomical imperfections are degenerations that happened after being kicked out
        of Eden. But I could see, where after I get my 15 seconds, an incredulous
        voice-over will chime in, “Human and squid eyes are different, that’s it?”

        This leads to the question of why do I agree to
        participate in Ray’s projects, when it is clearly to make evolutionary biology
        look ridiculous and downright evil? The answer, in my opinion, is that the
        alternative is worse. When evolutionary biologists fail to engage with the
        Comforts of the world it gives them the great talking point of, “We have the
        truth, and evolutionary biologists are afraid of us because the obvious
        fallacies of their beliefs will be revealed.” We may think that Richard Dawkins
        has it right to not waste time talking to fools and liars, but others see him
        as an arrogant prick who knows he will be found out in a real debate. If I
        thought that my refusing to be interviewed would sink these projects, then yes,
        I would also refuse like Dawkins. But that’s naïve – Ray is going to make his
        film anyway. Would it be better if he did ambush interviews, where scientists
        are on camera refusing to talk and demanding that he get out? Those scenes, for
        sure, would be in the movies!

        Ray sells and distributes his products mainly to
        his audience of true believers. Nothing I say (even if given an unedited hour
        of exposition) will convince them of the validity of evolutionary biology. My
        participation or lack thereof, will have no effect on these people. However, I
        hope there is a sliver of the audience that is still open to inquiry. What I
        try to get across in all my chats with Ray is several points:

        1. Evolutionary biologists are not scary and we do not just yell at people
        we disagree with. It can be fun to talk to an evolutionary biologist. We’re
        nice!

        2. Evolutionary biologists have thought deeply about their questions. We are
        not reflexive atheists looking for any flimsy reason to deny the existence of
        god.

        3. There is a very strong scientific case that supports what evolutionary
        biologists believe. If you have any doubts – take a course, read a book, check
        it out!

        Not to say that Ray’s
        editing will likely make it easy to succeed with 1-3, but if there is a chance
        that I get through, it’s worth the shot. In my opinion, Ray always monumentally
        overplays his hand. He comes through as clearly biased and manipulative in his
        approach. His view of God is quite frightening and extremely illogical at its
        core (E.g., thinking about having sex with someone who is not your spouse will
        put you in hell right next to Hitler for eternity). My students were there and
        listened to the ‘interview’. He also gave us a copy of “Genius”, that they
        watched during a break in the class. 100% of them found him absurd and
        unbelievable. In total, he scored 0 converts and, rather than raising any real
        controversy about evolution, he damaged the Creationist viewpoint even further
        in their minds (if that is possible). Similarly, what I hope for is that anyone
        still searching for answers in one of Ray’s pieces will be put off enough by
        him to at least be willing to check out the ‘other’ side! And not be scared to
        approach me or any other evolutionary biologist.”

        Reply
        • Stephen B says:

          Interesting stuff, Doctor Nonacs, thanks for taking the time to give us that insight.

          I don’t know why anyone who genuinely wanted to know what biologists think about any particular subject would go about finding out by watching a film like this. Why not go straight to source?

          Reply
  1. Luke says:

    Dr. Turek,

    I have a general question about ID. I honestly have no idea what the answer to this is, so much so that I would be afraid to even guess. I’d be grateful if you can provide some insight.

    This question actually came to mind when watching the comments of Dr. Kennedy and her comment about needing imagination to see evolution.

    What it did make me think of was the reactions that people have when watching chimpanzees at the zoo. I am sure that this is not the whole scope of reactions, but I have witnessed two main ideas. One is of people who marvel and cannot get over how human the chimps seem. It seems as though these people can imagine the chimps as a distant cousin. Others seem to see them much like they do the other animals, they are interesting and wonderful, just like the giraffe and elephant and otter. Furthermore I have witnessed conversations with people who have the latter reaction and they seem almost insulted by the suggestion that the chimpanzee could be a distant relative.

    In short, it seems that while some of us almost viscerally feel bonded with the chimp, other feel viscerally repulsed by an proposed bond. (This is just my feeling; perhaps I’m completely wrong about all of this!)

    What this all made me wonder was about ID and the age of the earth and the progression of evolution.

    I tried to do a bit of internet research about some of this. I learned that Of Pandas and People does not take a position on the age of the earth. It seems that followers of ID carry with them both old earth and new earth ideologies.

    With the new earth subset, I can certainly see the disconnect between humans and chimps.

    With the old earth though, this becomes more muddled.

    So my first question is: of ID proponents, what percentage would you estimate adhere to the new earth model, and what percentage adheres to the old earth model?

    My second question is more personal about your beliefs, but you are welcome to answer more generally as well (but I’ll ask in a more personal way, if only because the questions are easier to form this way).

    You firmly believe in an old earth. Do you believe that animals appeared the way that evolution states that they do (though not how they got their DNA). In other words, if you read about the evolution of the horse and the fossils involved, do you think something like: yeah, that’s how it happened. Of course the new genetic information was inserted by G-d, but the story is right. or is it something different?

    As far as some of those species between the Eohippus and the horse, do you believe that those were gradually born slightly different in the evolutionary way (again with G-d providing the genes), or when something new enough to be considered a new species appeared, did G-d just place the entire organism on the earth (probably in adult form)?

    Now to return to chimps and humans. I would assume you see the process in a similar way as you see horses (which is why I asked about that first), but perhaps it’s different.

    What do you think of fossils like Australopithecus? I am especially curious in regards to human creation in G-d’s image. Is Australopithecus extremely close to G-d’s image, or do you not even take that to mean anything physical whatsoever, but more of a spiritual image?

    Since you don’t take a super literal meaning of Genesis (e.g. you believe in an old earth), do you believe in an adult creation of Adam, then Eve, or do you think that’s just a metaphor for the natural plus G-d providing the information process I ask about above.

    I would be very appreciative of any insight you have on this — truly. I usually try to be very specific in my questions, but here I’m just looking for a general narrative for something I just don’t know much about. If you think it’s easier to skip some of my questions in favor of a general narrative, please do so.

    One last question. I assume you at times have conversations with new earth believers. Do you ever try to present them with the scientific evidence which convinced you that the universe is in fact quite old? How do you typically deal with their objections? (If you wish to not discuss that, I totally understand. I would be curious though, if you’re up for it.)

    Thanks so much for your time,

    Luke

    Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        It’s a shame when you take the time to write such well-thought out questions. Still, I’m sure a fair amount of people enjoy reading them, even if few provide actual answers.

        Reply
  2. Toby says:

    Frank, you demean yourself by aligning yourself with the likes of Ray Comfort and people like Hugh Ross. They may be on your side, but they are the worst of your ranks.

    Reply
  3. Ken S says:

    I’m not the Ken that Asked for examples but after watching Mr Comfort’s video, I’m left with the same questions. As I understand it, Mr Comfort was asking for evidence that a fish became a man and if the evidence exists, I didn’t see it provided.

    Mr Nonacs, you remind me of a very dear friend we lost to cancer recently that was also a professor. You seem to have a real zest for life and seem very sincere in your beliefs. In the video, you stated that man was still a fish. Wouldn’t it reasonable to assume that some transformational evidence would exist that a fish turned into a man over a period of time? Wouldn’t we have discovered fossils that proved this transformation? In simple terms, a fish with arms and legs or something along those lines would prove your point wouldn’t it?
    It’s obvious to me, that was the point of Mr. Comforts questions and I don’t see anything dishonest in them. Forgive my lack of education but if all life on earth started out as some sort of micro organism and evolved into the higher forms of life that exist today, why is it we have not located any transitional proof?

    Thanks
    Ken

    Reply
      • Gib says:

        The fool says in his heart there is no God. And it seems that when man starts to limit an infinite God, to less than what he has already revealed to us through his word he descends into the abyss. Of his foolishness.
        I am one who has read extensively regarding the arguments for an old earth. I do not have any problem that God in a literal
        6day period consisting of 24hours created the heavens and the earth. If you want to argue amongst yourselves go ahead but you are beginning to sound A lot like
        The Pharisees
        Instead of taking Jehovah
        At his word as the Word did manifest itself in the flesh, right before their blind eyes, and dwelt amongst them.
        You sirs are limiting God and attempting to wrap your feeble minds around something your finite minds cannot comprehend. Why? Because these things are spiritually discerned by those who are spiritual. Get your head out of it, I am not saying don’t think… BUT as Job declared
        After God. (schooled) him on All that the Almighty has done in creation
        The limitless God of creation,
        Job repented in dust and ashe.

        Reply
  4. Sam says:

    I have to comment here:

    “It is certainly true that God could exist and macro-evolution also be true.”

    Not unless you’re going to attack God’s character by saying there was death, suffering, and the curse before the Fall. You attack God by saying He’s a liar and that He thinks those things are “very good,” which Old Earth Creationism does as well, for we find evidences of diseases, animals eating each other, and other effects of the curse after the Fall in the rock layers which are supposed to be before the Fall, says OECs, I believe.

    https://answersingenesis.org/theory-of-evolution/millions-of-years/

    “Maybe given more time they could make a better case, but they certainly don’t do so in this film (and in nothing I’ve read either).”

    No, they couldn’t. Evolution is scientifically impossible. Not just highly unlikely, impossible.

    https://answersingenesis.org/evidence-against-evolution/

    Thank you for your time.

    Reply

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