Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Banana man's" actual mistake

Ray Comfort is often called the "banana man" because of an infamous video in the Way of the Master series where he presents "the atheist's nightmare", the banana, which he claims has been perfectly designed for humans and therefore is a perfect example of an intelligent creator. This is actually not the first time he has presented that exact claim, as there are earlier videos of him doing that (as well as other things, such as claiming the same from apples.)

The problem with this argument is that he assumes that the modern banana has existed from the beginning of time. He probably had a kindergarten-level understanding of the banana tree, and imagined apes eating (modern) bananas even thousands of years ago in tropical islands. In actuality the modern banana did not exist a few hundreds of years ago. It's the product of selective cultivation (which started, ironically enough, with a random mutation in a wild banana tree species that suddenly produced an edible, sweet banana type very similar to what it has been refined to be today) that happened a couple of hundred years ago or so. Its ancestor is a wild banana tree whose fruit is very different from the modern banana in shape and color, stock-full of seeds and almost inedible without cooking. Moreover, the modern banana tree cannot reproduce on its own and wouldn't survive without human intervention.

Quite unusually, Ray Comfort actually retracted is argument and admitted his mistake.

However, he didn't actually learn anything because that was not the most fundamental mistake in this whole debacle, and he did not understand that. The core point was not that he just had a bad argument. His worst mistake, which he clearly showed with this argument, is that he presented it after doing exactly zero research on the subject. And that's the problem and the core point that he did not understand, nor doesn't understand to this day (because he keeps doing that exact thing over and over.)

A simple internet search with something like "history of the banana" would have quickly revealed this critical information. Even if the internet was not as readily available back in the day when he first presented this argument, libraries have existed. Schools, professors and experts have existed. A few phonecalls would have sufficed to clear up any misunderstandings. But no, that's not his style, nor is it the style of so many other Christian apologists. He just comes up with an idea, does no research whatsoever to corroborate its accuracy, and then proudly presents it.

And he keeps doing that very mistake over and over, to this day. Very recent videos show him presenting arguments which he has clearly done zero research to verify, and which are as bad as his banana argument.

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