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Free books used as tools to fight evolution

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Hundreds of college students were surprised on Wednesday when they were handed free copies of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" as they walked across campus. But they were perhaps even more surprised when they opened the book and discovered that it contained a 50-page foreword by a Christian minister who questions the validity of Darwin's theories.

About 17,000 such books are reported to have been given away by 1,200 volunteers at 100 US universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. On some campuses, such as Missouri State, students were among the volunteers enlisted to help with the giveaway.

The book, advertised as a new edition of the 150th anniversary of the 1859 publication of Darwin's book, was put together by Ray Comfort, a Christian evangelical minister who espouses creationism and argues that Americans need to be made to understand that evolution is only a theory. The massive giveaway of Comfort's edition of Darwin's book is part of his "Origin into Schools" project.

College students who received the books had mixed reactions. At Emory University, freshman June Lee told the Emory student newspaper that the book was “false advertisement,” because it includes a preface with a creationism-based introduction that urges readers to “have faith in God,” “read the Bible daily and obey what you read” and “pass [the book] on to someone you care about.”

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