Let’s start with some background information about Revelation TV.
Revelation TV is a Christian channel broadcasting in the UK on the Sky platform which has an interesting history ofinvolvement. On a number of occasions the channel was in breach of Ofcom rules with regard to their views on homosexuality, Islam and abortion. In order to escape Ofcom’s ‘censorship’ Revelation TV is now has a Spanish broadcasting licence which seemingly allows it to disseminate its prejudices without the hindrance of being fair and even-handed. Most of Revelation TV’s output is centred around creationism, end times prophecies and readings from the bible and the Daily Mail.
Howard Conder is one of the founders of the station and one of the main presenters. He hosts one of the channels flagship programmes, the Q & A show, most nights of the week. This usually features an interview with a guest on a topic dear to the heart of the presenter, end times, biblical prophecy, and quite frequently, creationism. On the 18th July 2013 the guest was Ray Comfort.
At this point it’s worth pointing out that Howard Conder’s interviewing style is mostly about feeding lines to his guests. They are generally given an easy ride. On matters of science, Howard Conder is a self-confessed ignoramus. Some years ago, he interviewed Richard Dawkins. The YouTube video is here. It is 58 minutes long but it is worth watching because Conder is so excruciatingly inept. Unfortunately, Conder learned nothing from the encounter.
The ‘interview’ with Ray Comfort followed its predictable course, with Comfort being given free rein to give an extended sales pitch for his DVD.
Ray Comfort started off by saying that he had interviewed four evolutionary scientists who ‘could not back up evolution with any scientific evidence’. He then went on to say that ‘evolution is responsible for so many of the vices we see’ and that the movie ‘debunks evolution in sixteen minutes’. We then see an excerpt from the movie, with Comfort interviewing students and challenging them to give him evidence that evolution has taken place. Most of them give the impression of being totally overwhelmed by the experience but some make a reasonable attempt to answer the question. Darwin’s Finches feature in their replies but when that is mentioned Comfort plays his trump card. Birds are still birds, evolution is about changes in kinds! Speciation doesn’t count as evolution. One of the rules of the game is that Ray Comfort gets to decide what the rules of the game are.
Creationists often talk about ‘kinds’ without ever defining what they mean. No-one apart from creationists use that term.
The next excerpt features three of the four scientists interviewed by Comfort, PZ Myers, Craig Stanford and Gail E Kennedy. They are given the same treatment as the students with Comfort rejecting their answers out of hand. There is no debate, no discussion and no exchange of ideas. PZ Myers has blogged about his experience and has accused Ray Comfort of selective editing. In the Revelation TV programme Comfort denies this charge and claims that the interview was edited with integrity. He also said he would not be releasing the unedited interviews. Craig Stanford tweeted, ‘Ray Comfort’s new creationism video does the most un-Christian thing; uses misleading editing to take an immoral and frankly sleazy low road’.
Howard Conder then gives Ray Comfort the opportunity to reel off the familiar list of creationist tropes, all received uncritically by the host and, I suspect, most of the audience.
The missing link is still missing.
Everyone has an inbuilt, innate knowledge of god.
Evolution gets rid of moral accountability.
Evolutionists believe that nothing created everything.
There is observable evidence that god exists.
Inevitably, Richard Dawkins gets several mentions. According to Ray Comfort, Dawkins has ‘opened up the golden door to the delirious pleasures of sin’. Talking of delirious pleasures, the interview then moves on to discuss Christian fundamentalists second favourite topic – other people’s sex lives.
Howard Conder mentions that the Queen has recently given her royal assent to the same-sex marriage bill in England and Wales. Ray Comfort is shocked that our Queen (?) should do such a thing. He has no doubt that she came under pressure from other members of the royal family who ‘don’t have a standard of righteousness’. We can add Constitutional Monarchy to the ever-growing list of things that Ray Comfort doesn’t understand.
Howard Conder points out that the teaching of evolution is now being extended to the primary curriculum. Ray Comfort is appalled. Bizarrely the Queen gets the blame for that as well – she has compromised again.
The programme ends with yet another swipe at a great British institution. Howard defends the one-sided approach of the programme by informing us that the BBC spends billions of pounds promoting evolution and that Richard Attenborough is largely to blame. Yes, that’s right, Richard Attenborough. Howard must have been thinking of Jurassic Park.
At that point the programme ended.
The sub-title of Evolution Vs God is ‘Shaking The Foundations Of Faith’. It is Ray Comforts claim that evolution is based on faith, not science. I’d guess that the scientific foundations of evolutionary theory will remain unshaken.
Links to my other blog posts about Revelation TV