Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort And Bananas

—– Originally Posted on my old blog: 1/26/2008 —–

This video has been around for a while, but it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on You Tube. In this video, which is an excerpt from their evangelical ministry TV program, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, who are both born-again christians, explain how the banana “proves” that god created the world, as it is.

It really does not matter which side of the evolution/creationist argument you are on, this is pure, unadulterated comedy, for their lack of effort in checking their statements for factual errors and the homo erotic undertones when Ray is handling and talking about the banana.

While I believe that watching the video should speak for itself enough, I would like to point out a few of the points that stuck out the most in my mind.

The most obvious thing that comes out right away is that in this video is that here you have two creationist christians, who as a group have used the straw man argument that man has evolved from monkeys in many debates, using a banana to “disprove” evolution. This is roughly the same absurdity as using the movement of the planets in the night sky to “prove” that the earth is the center of the universe.

The next obvious logical fallacy we can point to is that if god made the banana to be the “perfect food” in that it is perfectly “designed” for people to eat, why would it not contain all nutrients that we need in our diet to maintain a healthy life, or why would other foods which do contain those nutrients be as well “designed” for our ease of use as well. This quote from a blog posting about a related topic seems to do a good job of pointing out the absurdity of this argument:

If a banana is a perfect example of God’s handiwork because of it’s convenience to humans, then what the hell is a pineapple? Ever try to harvest and eat one? Ouch! And a pomegranate? What a pain in the neck. What was God thinking when he “designed” kumquats? A joke? You can maim yourself trying to get into a coconut. Why doesn’t that have a “tab” too? What exactly is the point of an artichoke? A huge pile of litter for a few bites that you have to scrape off with your lower teeth.

The next point to make is about the banana, as we know of them in the western world, being created by god. As many people with an understanding of biology can attest there is a well known history of how we got what we know of as bananas. From a National Geographic article on some of the potential threats to bananas:

The domestic banana that we know and love is an asexual clone, one that results from the sedate, artificial act of vegetative propagation…
How the banana has got away without sex for so many thousands of years owes much to the hand of man. Although wild bananas do pollinate their flowers—having the botanical equivalent of sex—their fruit is packed full of peppercorn-hard seeds, making them inedible…
The soft, yellow flesh of the edible varieties is the result of a mutation many thousands of years ago that rendered the fruits of these plants sterile…
There is, in fact, nothing very natural about the banana…

Another article that does a good job describing the history of the banana is from a Washington and Lee University student:

The banana originated from seed bearing relatives in south-east Asia and the Pacific. The wild relatives were inedible, however a cross between two produced a sterile plant that has developed or been shaped into the varieties of edible banana and plantain growing today.

So then we can see that wild bananas, “as God intended them”, have seeds and are inedible. With even a minimal amount of research before they aired their program they could have avoided such an obviously flawed argument. As a poster on another blog on this video said:

Just like every ‘good’ piece of evidence against evolution, after a little research it ends up being exactly the opposite. Mutation and the hand of man had a huge part in crafting that banana he’s holding … oooh, the irony.

—– Updated: 7/5/2008 —–

I recently came across another blog that goes into this topic, and had a few great points to make that I felt were quite useful to add to this discussion. Many of the points below are already covered in my original post, but in a slightly different manner, and I believe they add some more humor to an already ridiculous subject.

First of all, is a mention of a discussion on the topic by one of my favorite podcasts, The Skeptics Guide To The Universe. As regular listeners of the SGU might expect, Rebecca giggles a lot, and makes many dick jokes, Perry dismisses them out of hand, and Steve tries to be boring, I mean scientific; the boringness comes naturally I guess.

The next thing from this other blog is a quick 2 minute video that I had not come across the first time I wrote this post, but it does a great job of ripping apart a number of the “points” Comfort tries to make.

The next video is a bit longer, but as the blog I found it on says:

It brings up the obvious question: If the banana is the atheist’s nightmare because it is so human-friendly, than what about the pineapple (no tab to open like the banana, no “green is bad, yellow is good, black is too late” because pineapples have all these colors at once, and they do not “fit nicely in the hand”. What about the potato that is toxic if not cooked sufficiently? What about onions? You really could go on and on.

Again to quote this blog:

My quick thoughts on this whole argument from design from banana is that he starts off showing his ignorance of the history of the banana- it’s actually a man-made product over the last 5000-8000 years. His argument also shows the fallacy of inconsistency which is simply- if you’re going to use the argument of the banana as proof of god’s design, you must also use the criteria for evidence to other fruits and vegetables around the earth as well. In doing so he actually proves himself wrong (according to his own criteria).

About Jeff Randall

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
This entry was posted in Humor, Religion, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort And Bananas

  1. Pingback: Kirk Cameron And Bananas | Rodibidably

  2. Sarah says:

    Love it. Wow, I mean wow….I think I’m supposed to be speechless.. funny thing is when I started watching this I thought it was an argument against gay sex! The way he was cupping it saying how nicely it fits in his hand… (I thought that meant the pepe is perfectly suited for the vajay) and then he starts to put it in his mouth saying how “nicely it fits,” I thought “okaaay, is this an argument that oral sex is good because it is natural?” I was confused, then I figured out his claim quickly enough. Loved the 2nd video with the commentary. Also you provided great commentary of your own and supporting quotes. Thumbs up!

    • Jeff Randall says:

      Thanks for the kind words…

      It’s amazing, no matter how many times I see the original video it seems to make me laugh (and cry a bit at the stupidity) just as hard. The only difference is that the first time I thought perhaps it had been meant as a joke.

      And you’re certainly right about the blow-job imagery. It’s next to impossible to NOT think of oral sex while watching that video…

  3. Locke says:

    As a believer, I still find this video (and the response video regarding “wild bananas”) hilarious. Good post.

    Plus one can always count on YouTube comments to be just as hilarious as the videos themselves, if not moreso.

    • Jeff Randall says:

      It makes you wonder who his audience is.

      I’ve never met anybody who considered the “banana argument” to be valid, and yet he sells countless books, has a TV show, millions of people listen to him, etc… Who are these people who don’t see through his charade and realize that he has no clue?

  4. Locke says:

    The video is from “The Way of the Master”, a video series designed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with nonbelievers without fear of ridicule or confrontation.

    The audience is basically evangelical Christians who accept the main premise (namely, that Christ is the only way to God and that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be shared). Therefore, everything else is automatically-accepted as fact.

    I do believe that it is important to think critically and to be somewhat of a healthy skeptic before jumping into anything, whether is a store-bought warranty from Best Buy, a personal belief system (agnosticism/atheism included), or an e-mail from Nigerian prince who just needs your PIN number to make you rich.

    Shifting gears, have you ever seen Religulous? It’s a great movie by Bill Maher, one of my heroes. He also uses a clip from the same series.

    If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to watch it. If you have, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

  5. Jeff Randall says:

    The video is from “The Way of the Master”, a video series designed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with nonbelievers without fear of ridicule or confrontation.

    The problem is, that with content like this, it’s hard NOT to ridicule them. Even a most BASIC google search would have shown them the information about how the wild banana is inedible and that mankind genetically altered it over many generations to be what it is today.

    The audience is basically evangelical Christians who accept the main premise (namely, that Christ is the only way to God and that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be shared). Therefore, everything else is automatically-accepted as fact.

    Do these viewers not understand that even if the premise of jesus being real, divine, etc were true, that it does not automatically make everything that Comfort says true. Case in point, this video. Whether jesus is the son of god or not, this video is absurd in it’s claims. Even if Comfort were right about his religious beliefs, that does not mean that he also has knowledge of biology, evolution, genetics, etc…

    I do believe that it is important to think critically and to be somewhat of a healthy skeptic before jumping into anything, whether is a store-bought warranty from Best Buy, a personal belief system (agnosticism/atheism included), or an e-mail from Nigerian prince who just needs your PIN number to make you rich.

    I agree 100%. Not sure I could have said it better myself.
    I respect a christian who’s considered all of the evidence, much more than I’d respect an atheist who’s never thought about it. I’d still consider the christian to be wrong in their conclusions, but at least I’d respect the effort in thinking about such an important issue.

    Shifting gears, have you ever seen Religulous? It’s a great movie by Bill Maher, one of my heroes. He also uses a clip from the same series.

    If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to watch it. If you have, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

    Yeah, It’s a GREAT movie, for the most part.

    I loved how he handled the interviews, essentially allowing those he interviewed to get their chance to explain their views, and allowing them to make fools of themselves.

    However I did have one big issue with the movie.
    While I agree with the points that he made throughout the film (prior to the final speech), that religion, religious claims, and religious beliefs are ridiculous when looked at rationally.
    And I agreed with the ending, where he makes the case that religion has the potential to cause great harm to the world.

    But to me the change between a mostly lighthearted comedic look at religion, to the doom and gloom scenarios, came out of nowhere. It was as if he did not know how to end his comedy he was making, and decided at the last minute to do an “after school special” type of thing about the dangers of religion.

    Both points are valid. But there was just no connection between them, at least in how the movie was presented…

  6. Len kloth says:

    Fundamentalist elicit an extremely narrow definition of “science,” (redefining it for themselves) that allows them to summarily dismiss evolutionary theory as non-science. Their definition is the popular image of scientists performing repeatable experiments in a controlled lab setting. (While this is how some scientists work,) their definition disqualifies the well-established fields of astronomy, archaeology, paleontology, geology, epidemiology, climatology, linguistics, and as said before-forensics, and a WHOLE HOST of other historical sciences, including history itself. In short, fundies believe that any statement about the past is no better than a guess, makes no allowance for methodological or evidentiary considerations that might render one “guess” better than another. This is ignorance.
    Creationism is religion. And their disdain for historical science is matched by gross misrepresentation of the scientific method. This dismissive attitude might be apt if evolution was “just a hypothesis,” but in fact a theory is much stronger than a hypothesis, Dental theory, gravity theory, etc, etc etc, and requires more in the way of “disproof”-falsification. One wonders why fundies don’t protest juries who convict based on forensics, or protests the theory of gravitation, germ theory of disease, atomic theory of matter; this clearly shows disdain for ALL OF SCIENCE AND SCIENTIST WHICH THEY CALL ‘EVOLUTIONEST.’ Fundamentalism is indeed a prescription for anti-education, and this willful ignorance is why people mock Hovind, Ham, and Cameron, as they have clearly earned it.

  7. Jeff Randall says:

    Fundamentalist elicit an extremely narrow definition of “science,” (redefining it for themselves) that allows them to summarily dismiss evolutionary theory as non-science.

    Many (such as those at the Discovery Institute) try to do that. The other tactic they use is to try to broaden the definition of science to include their own religious beliefs under the umbrella of prestige that science has rightfully gained.
    However, some also attempt to just dismiss and disparage science as not being a valid way to gain knowledge.

    Their definition is the popular image of scientists performing repeatable experiments in a controlled lab setting. (While this is how some scientists work,)

    I’ve actually had somebody ask me if I can evolve a chimp in a test tube. I thought they were joking and laughed it off, until they kept pressing the point. It took forever to explain to them that not all science uses test tubes and how evidence for things like evolution is observed.

    their definition disqualifies the well-established fields of astronomy, archaeology, paleontology, geology, epidemiology, climatology, linguistics, and as said before-forensics, and a WHOLE HOST of other historical sciences, including history itself. In short, fundies believe that any statement about the past is no better than a guess, makes no allowance for methodological or evidentiary considerations that might render one “guess” better than another.

    Typically they only have a problem when the findings of science contradict their holy book. When somebody makes a claim that confirms (or at first glance seems to confirm) the bible they seem to love science and all it can teach us.

    This is ignorance.

    It’s actually worse than that. It’s WILLFUL ignorance.

    Creationism is religion.

    Yes it is, and any attempts to re-brand it as science by giving it a different name and changing the language to sound more scientific are just pathetic, and in potentially dangerous (if they are successful).

    And their disdain for historical science is matched by gross misrepresentation of the scientific method. This dismissive attitude might be apt if evolution was “just a hypothesis,” but in fact a theory is much stronger than a hypothesis, Dental theory, gravity theory, etc, etc etc, and requires more in the way of “disproof”-falsification.

    But even if the Theory of Evolution is wrong, it does NOT mean that therefor creationism is true. They seem to want to push the idea into the public mind that it’s one or the other, and anything they say that casts questions about evolution is evidence of biblical creationism.

    One wonders why fundies don’t protest juries who convict based on forensics, or protests the theory of gravitation, germ theory of disease, atomic theory of matter; this clearly shows disdain for ALL OF SCIENCE AND SCIENTIST WHICH THEY CALL ‘EVOLUTIONEST.’

    Asking them to remain consistent is a lost cause. They can’t even remain consistent about their own holy book and what should be followed and what can be ignored.

    Fundamentalism is indeed a prescription for anti-education, and this willful ignorance is why people mock Hovind, Ham, and Cameron, as they have clearly earned it.

    Yes they have…

  8. James Williams says:

    Ray Comfort claims on his blog that the banana bit is a joke that fell flat in the video. He links to a youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDPoEgvEvBE showing him delivering the banana bit at a conference where the audience is laughing and it’s obviously a joke.

    Although he claims in the introduction that the conference was in 2001, which was before the Way of the Master series was filmed. If that where so, then his explanation that it was a joke that fell flat would be plausible. The problem for me is that there is no way we can tell if the conference really was in 2001 or a later date after the Way of the Master banana argument had already become a huge joke that even he must recognize.

    • Jeff Randall says:

      You are correct that he NOW claims that it was meant as a joke. HOWEVER, he used it to try to make a “point” in at least one debate, which seems odd if it was originally intended as a joke. Well odd, or a lie…

      I’ll let others decide for themselves…

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  10. Len Kloth says:

    The ‘scientific’ position does not preclude knowledge that derives from the study of what scripture, or belief in it implies, but the scientist must consider that if such a phenomenon from the Bible can be scientifically examined and explained naturally, it, then, by definition, it ceases to be supernatural-that is, in my opinion what fundies fear most of all as their theological rigidness demands a denial of true science. True faith in the Bible or the Gospel, as I see it, does not negate science, or the other way around. What creationists propose is something highly idiosyncratic, anti science to the core.

    On a personal note, and I am religious, involved in my Church, and believe in God. trying, or more like straining to prove your religious beliefs through empirical evidence is absurd, if not sacrilegious. If God is who He says He is, He doesn’t need us to twist and contort scientific data,. Whats most important is faith. Therefore, He’s not going to allow Himself to be proven by contrived scientific methodologies, scaffolding constantly invented by creationists, and easily torn down by real scientists.

  11. Jeff Randall says:

    The ‘scientific’ position does not preclude knowledge that derives from the study of what scripture, or belief in it implies,

    True… However even a cursory glance at most holy texts will tell a scientist that it should not be used as the base of scientific knowledge. The bible, torah, koran, etc are all filled with claims that are historically and scientifically inaccurate.

    but the scientist must consider that if such a phenomenon from the Bible can be scientifically examined and explained naturally, it, then, by definition, it ceases to be supernatural

    It’s similar to the saying “you know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proven to work… medicine”…

    -that is, in my opinion what fundies fear most of all as their theological rigidness demands a denial of true science. True faith in the Bible or the Gospel, as I see it, does not negate science, or the other way around.

    Well history and science contradict many claims made in the bible (and other holy texts). Which leads those who want it to be inerrant to view science as “the enemy”.

    What creationists propose is something highly idiosyncratic, anti science to the core.

    Agreed…

    On a personal note, and I am religious, involved in my Church, and believe in God. trying, or more like straining to prove your religious beliefs through empirical evidence is absurd, if not sacrilegious. If God is who He says He is, He doesn’t need us to twist and contort scientific data,.

    Some of us have a hard time taking things on faith. We prefer to base our views on evidence.

    Whats most important is faith. Therefore, He’s not going to allow Himself to be proven by contrived scientific methodologies, scaffolding constantly invented by creationists, and easily torn down by real scientists.

    If god wants to be known (and if you believe the bible it’s pretty clear that god does), then why wouldn’t god allow incontrovertible evidence to come to light?

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  13. Collin says:

    This is so Monty Python! This isn’t supposed to be taken seriously, is it?
    Is it?

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