Doctored Darwin books at U contained plagiarized passages

Categories: Civil Society

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University of Tennessee professor Stan Guffey is considering legal action against Ray Comfort, the evangelist who has spearheaded a nationwide drive to distribute free copies of his doctored version of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of the Species" on college campuses, including at the University of Minnesota. Comfort, who denies evolutionary biology, published his own edition of Darwin's treatise so he could annotate it with fundamentalist Christian criticism. But it turns out that Comfort's introduction apparently contains whole passages from Guffney's biography of Darwin -- without citing Guffney. And here's a twist: Guffney is an ardent opponent of Comfort.

"I am party to a scam," Guffney tells Metropulse. "The introduction begins with a nice, sweet little biography, then degenerates into intellectually lame, lazy distortions, selective reading of the literature, picking and choosing of facts, and misreadings of the historical record." He says Comfort "gently moves folks into the notion that they don't want to read what comes after the introduction. He just wants his 50 pages read, 47 of which are anti-intellectual, dishonest drivel, the first three of which are pretty good because I wrote them."

Hat tip here to University of Minnesota biologist PZ Meyers, who writes on his Pharyngula blog, "The one glitch, it seems to me, is that Comfort purportedly made no profit from his effort, and Guffey lost no income from use of an essay he gave away, so I'm not sure what kind of recompense he could get for the theft."


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