Behaving Badly

I’ve been following this saga, and while I would ordinarily be the last to defend Ray Comfort, I do have a few things to say.

1) Yes, there was a minor and childish internet conspiracy on an atheist website to rate down Comfort’s book. Such childish conspiracies often happen when a book is published from a controversial author or on a controversial subject. But, if you wonder what others see to dislike in the “new” or the “militant” atheism, this is representative, in its own small way.

A side note on that – I think that Amazon should have some sort of small test to at least make it difficult for a non-reader to review a book. Perhaps three words on three pages to show that you at least have it in your possession. Or a multiple choice quiz on the content. Nothing too imposing, of course.

Anyway, I understand why Comfort and his compatriots are put off by this bad behavior. Kneecapping contentious dullard is still kneecapping – and it should be refrained from.

2) Another gripe I have is with Myers’ characterization of Comfort as “stupid”. It’s not that I think Comfort is smart. I haven’t had a lot of contact with him. Certainly his abject failure to understand why his central anti-evolution and anti-atheism theses fail doesn’t speak well of his analytical ability. Certainly after years of having the worst of his errors explained to him, he continues to repeat them. He’s not an intellectual giant. On the other hand, he’s a human being and I fail to see what purpose it serves to publicly call him “stupid”. I don’t see that it serves any purpose in this context except to strengthen the animosity. So, I disapprove of that.

I’m sure you can search the archives of this blog and find cases where I’ve said something intemperate about some of the characters whose careers are made out of saying dumb things to gullible people in order to advance a counter-productive agenda. In other words, I’ve done what I complain about from Myers. I grok him. But I still think it’s something that in cooler moments we should apologize for and try to avoid.

Someone like Comfort exists to be tweaked. I won’t deny that. But save that tweaking for someone who has the patience to do it with good humor and in a non-alienating way… I say.

P.S. Myer’s criticisms of Comfort’s claims are of course accurate. I think they’re also unnecessary – no one could take him seriously outside of WorldNetDaily’s devoted readership – and they aren’t going to listen to facts, anyway.

P.P.S. Comfort himself behaves rather badly, too – taking a very arrogant tone in presenting his very adolescent arguments. Certainly it can be said that bad behavior toward him is simple reciprocation.. I just don’t think you should reciprocate that kind of behavior.

P.P.P.S. This type of bad behavior is also deplorable. And funny when you get caught.

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