Creationists hand out Darwin’s book with a twist

Students received free editions of “The Origin of the Species” that featured an introduction explaining creationism.

Creationists hand out Darwin’s book with a twist

Katherine Lymn

Many University of Minnesota students jumped at the chance for a free copy of Charles DarwinâÄôs âÄúOn The Origins of SpeciesâÄù being handed out on Pleasant Street Thursday. But they were met with a surprise when they opened to this editionâÄôs introduction. The books, 1,000 of which were distributed on campus Thursday, feature a 50-page âÄúspecial introductionâÄù written by evangelical Christian Ray Comfort. The introduction cites the Bible as well as works by Darwin himself and argues for creationism before the book turns to the unadulterated Darwin text. First-year Clare Simonis was one recipient of the book, which was published 150 years ago this month. âÄúIt is kind of deceiving,âÄù Simons said of the creationism introduction. However, she said she has seen other groups on campus try to get students to take a handout by misleading them. Four families paid for the special edition of the book and stood outside Eddy and Wulling Halls Thursday distributing it. The books cost $4.99 individually, but can be sold for as low as $0.99 if bought in bulk. Quotes prompting the investigation of both sides of an argument line the first page of the book where one would normally expect to see excerpts from positive book reviews. One man, David, who refused to give his last name, was a supervisor for the group and said they had been distributing the books to students from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. that morning and 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. âÄúWe wanted to break [the times] up to get different types of students,âÄù David said. The group planned to return at 6 p.m. âÄî if any books were left to distribute. David said student reception has been âÄú98 percentâÄù positive, and the majority of students have been âÄúvery polite.âÄù First-year Cassie Annis, a Christian, said she thought the handout was a smart idea. âÄúI think itâÄôs good to have âĦ both [viewpoints] there,âÄù she said. The University is one of more than 90 campuses being targeted this November through âÄúThe Origins into Schools Project,âÄù said Liz Ebert, an employee of Living Waters, an evangelism resource and training company founded by Comfort. Ebert said the company chose to focus on distribution at colleges because most are not private property, so books can be handed out without breaking any laws. She said campuses feature the âÄúfuture generation,âÄù so âÄúthere is a great impact to be made.âÄù