Creationists to Give Out 1M Copies of Darwin's 'Origin'

One million more copies of a special pro-Intelligent Design edition of On the Origin of Species will be given away to college students, Ray Comfort announced.

The announcement by the Living Waters ministry founder was made Tuesday - the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.

"It's our aim to get this edition into the hands of students in every university in the United States, then Europe, and then the rest of the world," Comfort said in a statement.

Comfort and 1,200 other Christians already distributed more than 100,000 copies of the special edition at some of the country's top universities last week. The giveaway, however, has been met with an angry backlash from atheists who have denounced Comfort for "altering" another person's book.

The ministry leader, who co-hosts "The Way of the Master" television series with actor Kirk Cameron, has stressed that the books they're handing out are reproductions of Darwin's work, with no alterations. It just features an alternative introduction, which includes a rebuttal to evolution and links the theory of evolution to Hitler and racism.

"The exchange of ideas is healthy," he said.

Comfort has reported threats of "unilateral resistance," book burnings, and protests with students ripping out the introduction to the special edition. But the evangelist says he's determined to continue giving away the books and offering people two points of view on the origin of man.

Amid the verbal disputes, Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine – a quarterly journal that examines a wide variety of social, scientific, and pseudoscientific controversies – argues on the anniversary day that religion and evolution can live side by side.

In a CNN column, Shermer contends, "[I]t should not matter how God created life, whether it was through a miraculous spoken word or through the natural forces of the universe that He created. The grandeur of God's works commands awe regardless of what processes He used."

"Believers should embrace science, especially evolutionary theory, for what it has done to reveal the magnificence of the divinity in a depth never dreamed by our ancient ancestors."

But for many theologians, it's impossible to reconcile evolution and Christianity.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has noted that the theory of evolution "suggests that natural selection is indeed the mechanism and that it is entirely natural and in no case supernatural."

"There is no way for God to intervene in the process and for it to remain natural," he pointed out.

"God was not merely fashioning the creation of what was already pre-existent, nor was He merely working with a process in order to guide it in some generalized way, nor was He waiting to see how it would turn out," Mohler argued earlier this year. "As Genesis indicates, He created the world in order that the world might be the theater of His glory for the demonstration of the Gospel of Christ and He created human beings as the only beings made in His image, as His covenant partner,"

The 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species has been marked with celebrations throughout the year among fans of Darwin who consider his 1859 publication one of the most important books and ideas in the history of humanity. Creationists have also marked the anniversary with conferences refuting Darwin's theory.