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Release: Secular Student Alliance Spooks Ray Comfort

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For Immediate Release
Contact: August Brunsman - (614) 441-9588 - august[AT]secularstudents[DOT]org

November 18, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio - In a move that avoids the counter-protests organized by the Secular Student Alliance and other organizations, Ray Comfort and the Living Waters Ministry covertly began their Origin Into Schools project today, November 18th, instead of the previously announced November 19th. Altered copies of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, which contain a introduction which misrepresents the theory of evolution, were distributed on college campuses today. The Secular Student Alliance has been mobilizing groups on college campuses to respond with a positive, science-based campaign but took Comfort at his word that the distribution would occur on the 19th.

"We're sorry that Mr. Comfort felt he had to mislead everyone just to avoid the counter-efforts of our campus groups," said August Brunsman, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance. "Apparently he thought his deception would only work if nobody was around to tell the truth." Counter-efforts were planned at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, the University of Virginia, UNC Chapel Hill, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, San Diego State University, University of South Florida, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, University of New Brunswick, and elsewhere.

The altered version of On the Origin of Species distributed by Living Waters Ministry contains a 50-page introduction written by Comfort attempting to cast doubt on Darwin's theory of evolution and connect Darwin to Hitler. The books feature Comfort's section in a much larger font than Darwin's section. Comfort's section is rife with illustrations, but the single illustration in the original Origin of Species has not been reproduced.

In an attempt to prevent the ministry from tricking college students, the Secular Student Alliance national office assisted affiliated college groups to schedule protests, host speakers, write letters to the editor, show films, and distribute the original version of Darwin's 150-year old masterpiece. Their plans will go forward despite Comfort's sudden, unexplained change of dates. The Secular Student Alliance has collected resources to counter Living Waters' efforts at http://www.secularstudents.org/originintoschools.

"The best way to defeat misinformation is with education," said Brunsman. "We would have loved to have a peaceful exchange of ideas with the ministry, but we'll settle for having the last word in students' minds."

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The Secular Student Alliance is an educational nonprofit that supports a network of over 180 campus groups which promote the ideals of scientific rationality, secularism, democracy, and human-based ethics. Learn more at http://www.secularstudents.org.

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