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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ray Comfort is an Animal

And so am I. It is time for yet another basic science lesson for Ray Comfort in response to Ignorant Knuckle-draggers (an aptly titled post).

A lesson in scientific definitions
The dictionary says that an animal is "any such living thing other than a human being."
This seems deliberately dishonest. He posts this in response to flinging dust saying that if he denies that humans are animals, he needs to take a basic science course. In response, he posts a lay definition from the dictionary, apparently from How many times have we heard Ray and others characterize evolution as "just a theory"? If we were to try to explain that he needs to take a basic science class to understand that a theory is not some educated guess or conjecture, he would probably come back with:
The dictionary says that a theory is a "guess or conjecture. "
Skipping over the scientific entries and failing to consult a scientific definition (or encyclopedia). He's done this for "animal." The definition he gave from the dictionary was the second entry for animal at The first:
any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli: some classification schemes also include protozoa and certain other single-celled eukaryotes that have motility and animallike nutritional modes.
Humans are the Homo sapiens species, of the Homo genus, of the Hominidae family, of the Primates order, of the Mammalia class, of the Chordata phylum, of the Animalia kingdom. Since we are in the Animalia kingdom, that makes us, by definition, animals. I didn't have that memorized (as I'm not a biologist), but having taken basic life science when I was around the age of 11-12, I knew that's how we were classed. So, by searching around for a few key terms and "middle school," I got the results aimed at middle school students. The knowledge is that basic.

And another science lesson for you, Ray. It's not the baby-eating "evolutionists" who classed humans as animals or even of the Primates order. Humans were classed as animals over a hundred years before Origin of Species by the taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus in Systema Naturae. Linnaeus, a Christian, believed he was classifying "God's creation" as opposed to evolutionary lines. And no, Ray, taxonomy is not the science of taxes, it's the science of classification, something children learn in the sixth grade where I lived in Oklahoma.

I can't believe it! That means man is "simply an animal."
Besides botching animal classification, he moves on to a morals approach:
If evolution is true, then man is simply an animal.
And even if evolution is false (ha), man would still be an animal because it is not evolution which defines humans as animals. Ray is arguing from personal incredulity: "I just can't believe that, because that would mean..." Just because humans evolved from lower forms of animals makes us no less significant. The fact that I used to be a substance which was just moments before formed by a sperm and an ovum makes me no less significant. Origins do not define the person. Personal incredulity in this regard is ridiculous, when arguing against science. "I just can't believe Earth is among a star with seven other planets, among a pool of 10^22 stars, in a galaxy among 100 billion galaxies. It just makes us so insignificant." Well, your personal incredulity has no bearing on what is factual.

The animals of the Bible.
That means he is free to embark on his sexual prowls, because it is nothing but a basic instinct to do so. [...] To him, evolution is a license to act like an animal, and he does.
That and the law. And upbringing. And society. It seems, though, the men are your Book were restrained by nothing more than basic instinct, and that was far before humans were classified as animals. They repeatedly murdered, raped, and enslaved. I believe I'm an animal descended from lower forms of animals, and I have yet to murder, rape, or enslave anyone. Seems I'm already doing better than the godly men of the Old Testament. The men of the Old Testament and the God of the Old Testament were both animals, in every sense of the word. They murdered hundreds of thousands, sparing only the virgin women so that they can enslave them and rape them. Is that the sort of basic instinct, the sort of sexuals prowls that you say evolution gives them a license to commit? Apparently, you have evolution confused with your Bible and God, who gave men the license to commit such despicable acts.

Justifying "immoral" acts
If man is an animal he can even justify homosexual and bestiality, because “other” animals do it.
I have never understood, even when I believed the immoral homophobia the Bible teaches, how you get from homosexuality to bestiality. Why? Because they both cover sexuality to which you do not subscribe? I don't subscribe to any religion, including Christianity and Satanism, so, by your fallacious slippery slope argument, Christianity leads to Satanism? Or, better phrased, if you believe in Christianity, there's nothing to stop you from practicing Satanism, because it's another religion.

If man believes in the Bible, he can justify murder, rape, misogyny, racism, and slavery, because he can simply cite the chapter and verse.

1 comment:

Ben Lowery said...

Mr. Comfort’s argument appears to be that because a dictionary definition says humans are not animals that therefore evolution cannot be true as it implies humans are animals. This is clear equivocation and very poor argumentation.

However, had he left aside his use of the dictionary (which is almost always a mistake in philosophical discussions) he makes a stronger point, which you have ignored in your response. The point is that when human beings express outrage that other human beings act in animal ways, e.g. killing those who are weak around them, they tacitly assume that human beings are not animals and are to be treated as moral agents. This is a fair point and one that you seem to ignore.

Equally even if your objections that the Bible does not provide an adequate moral framework are correct this does not imply that evolution does provide this framework.