An interesting and anticipated discussion between prominent youTube atheist Thunderf00t and professional apologist Ray Comfort appeared on youTube a few days ago. Thunderf00t is responsible for the “Why do People Laugh at Creationists” series while Comfort is a co-host of the show “The Way of the Master” and is the man responsible for the infamous banana argument. Many on youTube were quite excited when Thunderf00t announced that Comfort had agreed to meet with him and film the discussion.
Here is the first part. You can find the remainder of it on Thunderf00t’s channel.
The conversation meanders through a number of topics ranging from evidence for evolution, the source of morality and even as far as specific biblical passages. As a result, it lacks the focus many hoped it would have but, nonetheless, it is still worth while watching if you have been following these sorts of debates.
In the few days that the video has been available it has generated a lot of discussion. It’s even brought VenomFangX out from under his melodramatic rock with a video response offering his typical unimaginative, illogical and simplistic analysis. This is almost fitting, since VFX’s style of thinking is much like Comforts.
Like all apologists, throughout the discussion Comfort continually moves the goal post. Whenever Thunderf00t provides a good natural explanation for a phenomena, such as how snow is made, Comfort would simply move the goal stating that his God created the process Thunderf00t just described. Unfortunately, Thundetf00t didn’t press Comfort enough when he did this, much to my disappointment.
The contrast between the questions posed by the two debaters and depth of their respective answers was also telling to me. Comfort tended to frame things in simple black and white terms, offering definitive answers that essentially boiled down to “God did it”. When asked for evidence of any kind the response was inevitably some variant on “because the bible says so”. Such answers are deeply unsatisfying to anyone interested in truly understanding what is knowable about the world and Thunderf00t didn’t seem to be satisfied by such simplicities.
Throughout, Thunderf00t looked to what we know from scientific progress over the years, allowing for much more sophisticated answers with a deeper insight into underlying causes. When asked if murder was immoral he not only stated that is was but also offered an explanation as to why we find it immoral. He is addressing not only the question of what fits into our moral framework but why our framework is shaped the way it presently it is.
When pressed back to the “origin of the universe” Thunderf00t first pointed out that the question contains the underlying assumption that there was in fact a beginning, a point completely lost on Comfort. Thunderf00t then continued by pointing out that it what happened prior to the big bang was currently unknown by scientific standards. At first this may sound like a cop out but it isn’t. It is simply accepting that there are limits to our present scientific understanding and an unwillingness to compromise our understanding by invoking unsubstantiated claims to fill the gaps.
Over the years I have come to realize that, if one values correctness, simple answers are difficult to come by. When they are obtainable, they usually require years of study and contemplation. The discussion between Comfort and Thunderf00t reflects the thinking of two different kinds of thinkers. One who has accepted a simple answer without verification and one who seeks out simple answers but not at the expense of correctness. I will leave it to you do decide who’s who and which is the better approach.