(Photo: CJStudio/Carol Scott)
A penny for your “thorts?”
Bestselling atheist author Richard Dawkins may eventually give his thoughts on the controversial anti-abortion “180” film produced by evangelist Ray Comfort. But in the meantime, the British biologist posted a video mocking the pro-life advocate for an alleged misspelling on a personally signed cover of the DVD copy given to him.
After Dawkins recently spoke at the University of Miami, he was given the “180” DVD with a message on it from Comfort.
A family who knew they were going to be attending the lecture by Dawkins asked Comfort if he would like them to forward a copy of the film to the author of The God Delusion.
Although they have never debated each other face-to-face, Dawkins and Comfort have a somewhat public battle of words with each other through blog posts and individual TV appearances.
In Dawkins' 50-second YouTube video, he describes being approached by a young boy with the DVD. He tells viewers that he was surprised to learn that the cover had a note from Comfort.
“I looked at it and was rather astonished to read the message on it. It was a very charming dedication to me ... and I’ll show it,” says Dawkins as he moves the DVD close to the camera. “He would like to hear my ‘thorts’ [about the film] ... T-H-O-R-T-S on this,” he spells out with a seemingly gentle smile as the short video ends.
In response to Dawkins’ chide of Comfort, the Living Waters ministry founder said the atheist activist once called him an “idiot” during a CNN interview and therefore, it was not a surprise.
“It’s very petty, but it reveals that I’m an annoying little bug in his bowl of soup,” Comfort told The Christian Post. “That’s unfortunate, because I deeply care about him and I care where he spends eternity.”
Comfort said that Dawkins may be upset with him because he has often forwarded the “evolutionary biologist” copies of his books that poke holes in Dawkins’ humanist and atheistic theories.
“It seems that he couldn’t refute ‘180,’ so he came back with what he wrongly assumed was a spelling mistake,” Comfort said. “I’m a writer, so I have used shortened words for expediency for years - words like ‘thru’ instead of ‘through.’”
The slang word “thorts” is used by some people instead of the word “thoughts” in texting and tweeting, although it is not clear whether it is used more commonly by any particular group.
"Whether the learned professor likes it or not, the English language is evolving and some of us old fossils need to evolve with it. Texting is changing the way we spell. I'm delighted that I was able to catch the wave of social media, a wave it seems Mr. Dawkins missed," Comfort said.
Comfort sees a positive outcome in Dawkins' reference on video to his personal note on the DVD cover.
“In his attempt at mockery, he has not only made himself look old-fashioned, but he has promoted '180' throughout the atheist world,” Comfort explained. “The 'pope' of atheism waved my movie from his balcony. You can't buy such publicity. I'm grateful that he's helping others around the world to watch the video and hear the Gospel."
The Christian Post did not immediately receive a reply after requesting an interview with Dawkins through his foundation offices in the U.S. and the U.K.
Comfort has been confronted recently on other fronts for “180.” A Jewish advocacy group, called the Anti-Defamation League, voiced opposition to the film for Comfort’s use of World War II archive video and questions posed to people on the street that include comparing the Nazi-led Holocaust with abortions performed in the United States.
Additionally, billboard companies in Southern California have turned down his requests to put up signs promoting the film. Comfort says that in at least one case, Jewish company owners prejudiced against the video may be the reason for the refusal.
The documentary, which was released in late September, has been viewed more than 1.7 million times at 180Movie.com and YouTube. On Oct. 25, about 200,000 DVD copies of the film were passed out to students at more than 100 universities throughout the U.S., Canada and New Zealand.