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Sunday, June 29, 2008

No, The Banana *Is* Proof

I thought I would have to make a post today about things my fundamentalist father had told me while growing up and becoming a man which convinced him of the truth of the Bible. Thankfully for you, my readers, Ray Comfort has made a monkey out of himself with his latest post today.

In my inaugural post, I made the following remark on why I am doing this blog:
Sometimes he makes arguments which sound very nice to the average reader. When he talks about atheists not having absolute knowledge of God, someone needs to be there without absolute knowledge of Bigfoot. When he says that God controls the rain and fires ripping through the gay-marrying California, someone needs to be there to point out that God also controls the rain and lightning flooding the non-gay-marrying Midwest. And every time Ray holds up a banana, someone needs to be there to hold up a coconut.

This blog is my personal coconut.
Where does this banana-coconut thing come from? Here is a (humorized) one-minute segment of Ray Comfort presenting his banana argument:

This is, of course, a fallacious argument from design. This one is asinine as he makes the argument that the banana:

  1. Is shaped for human hand
  2. Has non-slip surface
  3. Has outward indicators of inward content:
    Green — too early
    Yellow — just right
    Black — too late
  4. Has a tab for removal of wrapper
  5. Is perforated on wrapper
  6. Bio-degradable wrapper
  7. Is shaped for human mouth
  8. Has a point at top for ease of entry
  9. Is pleasing to taste buds
  10. Is curved towards the face to make eating process easy
You can check out the Iron Chariots article debunking this ridiculous argument. When I first heard the argument, my first thought was: If the banana proves God, then the coconut must disprove God. I remember my first time trying to eat a coconut; I had no idea how it was done. I must have spent fifteen minutes banging on it and trying all sorts of things until I found out that you must: drive a screwdriver into the one soft spot in it to drain the liquid, wrap it up in a towel (to prevent damage and losing parts of it), whack it with a hammer or the thick end of a butcher's knife, whack it many times around its circumference, then use some sort of tool to separate the meat from the shell.

But anyway, Ray made a post on the argument he conceded two years ago by remarking that:
Thanks to Youtube I realize that I will have to say this over and over. Many times I have compared a banana to a coke can (with its tab at the top, etc.) using something called "parody." This is arguably a humorous way of making a point. Atheists removed the coke can and said that I believe that the banana is proof that God exists. In doing so they did a good job and making a monkey out of me.
A "parody"? What exactly is a parody that it must be surrounded in quotes? "Parody" means a humorous way of making a point? Nice try Ray, but I happen to have a dictionary at my disposal.
parody (v): to imitate (a composition, author, etc.) for purposes of ridicule or satire.
That's another entry for the Dictionary of DisComfort. What Ray was actually doing with the coke can and banana was called "analogy":
analogy (n): Logic. a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects.
Indeed, what Ray has done is taken William Paley's watchmaker argument and substituted it with another false analogy. Just as his watchmaker argument has been debunked, as has Ray's banana argument been debunked. The difference is, though, that Ray's version has even more wrong with it, which is why he conceded the argument when being interviewed on it by an atheist:
Alleee : I'm just saying that, that there are very few plants, and we argue - with some environmentalists a lot who don't believe in bioengineered food, because all, because most of the food that we eat of course is farmed, and is done through horticulture, and we've engineered these - these fruits and vegetables to be more tasty to us. So actually, the banana seems to be not, not made by God at this point, it's more like um... what, what came first, the banana or the hand ? [laugh] You know ? Man took the banana and made it better for man...

Ray Comfort : Okay, you've got that one. You can have the banana.
While Ray's latest post is entitled that the banana isn't proof, I must disagree. It is indeed proof; proof of his dishonesty. He makes no mention of why he conceded the argument or that he even conceded it. In fact, he continues to make the argument at the end of the post, merely omitting bananas:
The banana isn’t proof that God exists--the whole of creation proves that there’s a Creator. This includes apples, oranges, pears, peaches, apricots, grapes and other succulent fruits that God has placed into our hands. They didn’t come from a big bang. That is mindless. They came from the creative genius of a benevolent and holy God, who also gave you life itself, and eyes to look at that which He has so kindly lavished upon you.
Either he never learns, is foolish, or is dishonest. We can chalk this up as at least another example of dishonesty, as he stands with egg on his face.

What's very humorous about the post, though, is the cartoon that accompanies it:
Hi there, I'm an atheist!
It's my mission in life-
To edit everything Ray Comfort writes,
So I can make him look like an idiot.
Hmm... doesn't this sound like someone we know...
Hi there, I'm Ray Comfort!
It's my mission in life-
To edit everything Einstein writes,
So I can make him look like an idiot.
After all, an idiot is what he makes Einstein look like by claiming he takes the fables of the Bible as inerrant, wise, and divine.

(Edit 6-29-08)
I forgot to make this point here until I made it in a comment to the post. I always try to point out when Ray makes claims to pull out his absolute knowledge shtick, so I thought I'd copy it from my comment to here:
Also, you say that atheists clipped out the coke can portion, but how do you know that? It could have been a fellow Christian who simply spotted a bad argument. As you have posted before: To say that an atheist did it you have to have absolute knowledge. To make such a claim means that you are omniscient. But you aren't. Only God is, right?

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