Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Will Richard Dawkins Debate Ray "Banana Man" Comfort?

Here is a very humorous exchange Richard Dawkins posted on his forum:

I have just had the following email exchange with a journalist, who seems to be acting as some kind of intermediary on behalf of the Banana Man:

I'm trying to reach Prof. Dawkins for a response to a challenge from author Ray Comfort toProf. Dawkins to a debate, with a $10,000 reward to Mr. Dawkins, win, loseor draw. Would I be able to reach you?This is an excerpt from the report: Comfort added, "I will donate $10,000 to him, or give it to any children'scharity he names. All I ask is that he goes into a studio and gives me 20 minutes on why there is no God and why evolution is scientific. Then I willgive 20 minutes on how we can know God exists and why evolution is nothing more than an unsubstantiated and unscientific fairy tale for grownups. Thenwe both will have 10 minutes to respond." Sadly, I have found that even evolution's most staunch believers are afraid to debate, because they know that their case for atheism and evolution is less than extremely weak," Comfort said. "I would be delighted (and honored) if Mr. Dawkins has the courage to debate me, but I'm not holding my breath."

I replied
I'm not aware of having had any communication from Mr Comfort, whom I know only as the Banana Man (you won't believe what you see if youtake a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z-OLG0KyR4 -- no it's not a MontyPython sketch, he really means it).$10,000 is less than the typical fee that I am ordinarily offered for lecturing to a serious audience (I often don't accept it, especially in the case of a student audience, because I am a dedicated teacher). It is not, therefore, a worthwhile inducement for me to travel all theway across the Atlantic to debate with an ignorant fool. You can tell him that if he donates $100,000 to the Richard Dawkins Foundation forReason and Science (it's a charitable donation, tax deductible) I'll do it. A further condition is that it will be filmed by Josh Timonen for my website, RichardDawkins.net, and distributed by Josh as a DVD, if he thinks it is funny enough. To this end, it would be nice if Mr Comfort would reprise the ever popular Banana Sketch.
Richard Dawkins

The journalist replied
Sir, Thank you for your response. And please understand I'm only a reporterin the middle, but Mr. Comfort has suggested the possibility of raising theoffer to $20,000. Your reaction?

And I replied to this:-

Thank you, yes, I appreciate that you are only a reporter in the middle.$20,000 is closer to the fees that I am customarily offered. However, I am not in this for the money. My interest is in getting the Banana Man to PART with $100,000 of his money so that that money will NOT be available for buying animatronic dinosaurs with saddles, or other similar nonsense. The fact that he would be making a substantial donation to a charity dedicated to Reason and Science adds to the humour of the situation. Talking of humour, by the way, did you look at the great Banana video? It beats the Peanut Butter video for laughs, but only by a short head:
Richard Dawkins

No comments: