UPDATED Born-again Christians have been handing out an edited version of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species" with a new introduction dissing evolution.
The cunning plan is that rational people will read the book and be converted away from thinking that the world is round and get back to thinking about myths which were penned by Jewish priests trying to keep their culture alive while in Babylonian captivity.
The "150th Anniversary Edition" of the text is part of a national campaign to encourage the use of mythology as science in schools. It is being organised by Ray Comfort, an evangelical minister and television host and can be supported by sending all your cash to his personal bank account.
So far, around 1,000 copies of the bowdlerized book have been handed out on campus at Washington University in St Louis.
The new introduction is supposed to present counter-arguments to evidence of evolution. However in the absence of counter-arguments it swiftly degenerates into name calling. It draws lines between Darwin and Hitler and claims Darwin was a misogynist. Let's not forget that Paul of Tarsus, who founded Christianity, was a role model for female emancipation.
People who distributed the books admitted that they were not there to foster any intellectual debate. They were there to indoctrinate people into following their religion. When asked why they didn't hand out Bibles they said it was probably better that they gave something that people were going to read.
Christian Beaulé, a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience, said it was clearly penned by someone who was not used to science or how scientists think and the conclusions were about as logical as... anything else that comes out of Fundamentalist religion.
We wonder if Ray Comfort is in any way related to Dr Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex. We rather suspect that he isn't.
And if you're a fan of unintelligent web design, why not mouse on over to Ray's site here and marvel at the gratuitous use of flash and really annoying use of sound?
UPDATE: The 50 page introduction, originally available for free download from Comfort's website, has now mysteriously vanished. What can it all mean?