This post is by Jesse Galef
Ray Comfort, shown here attempting
to prove God’s existence
You won’t hear me say this often, but Ray Comfort seems to have been smarter than I thought – in a devious way. About a month ago, we found out that Ray Comfort was polluting the waters of scientific integrity by releasing a copy of “The Origins of Species” with his own 50-page forward criticizing evolution. He decided to give these tainted copies away to college students. That’s not the reason I’m considering revising my opinion of the man; I already knew about that particulars stunt.
As it turns out, he’s gaming the Amazon.com system is such a dastardly way that I must stand and applaud. It was brought to my attention (ok, found this youtube video in Blair Scott’s facebook) that because Ray Comfort’s version of the book has the same name as the other versions, all reviews are lumped together. It’s obvious to us because we’re looking for it, but many people wont’ pay close attention and won’t know what’s going on. There’s a huge disparity in reviewers’ ratings – here are the ratings as I type this up:
If you click on a review that gave the book 5 stars, you find out that the reviewer was responding to a normal version of “The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition (Paperback)”.
The 1-star reviews mention the fact that 50 pages of the book are creationist nonsense. If you click on them, you find out that they were responding to the Ray Comfort version of “The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition (Paperback)”.
But both sets of ratings and reviews are apparent in both books! Ray’s drivel is being boosted by the positive reviews of The Origin of Species. That’s wrong and offensive. But it’s just as bad that the (rightly) negative reviews of creationist propaganda are lowering the overall rating of other versions.
For the record, I don’t really think that Ray Comfort is intelligent enough to have designed this sc heme – it was probably just a beneficial accident.
[UPDATE] Amazon.com fixed the problem! The Ray Comfort version is now called “Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition [ABRIDGED] (Paperback)”. I’m concerned that this trick will work in the future if the text isn’t adbridged. Anyone want to add a forward to the Bible?