"You're not supposed to be here today. We are not ready!" That was the reaction of one atheist at UCLA when we showed up on the 18th to give away 2,000 books. He was right. We originally intended to give the copies of On the Origin of Species out on the 19th, but because of the threats of book burnings, of "unilateral resistance," and the many threats to tear out the Introduction, we changed our strategy. We are so glad we made this move. Atheists had planned to disguise themselves as students and collect multiple copies themselves to stop students getting the books.
One atheist wrote: "I wish people would stop ragging on him distributing the books early. It's a good strategic move to try to pre-empt our events, themselves intended to oppose his. It's a purely political thing and in his position I'd likely have done much the same thing. It's pretty similar to a route being changed or a meeting set earlier than scheduled in order to foil a protest -- it's a legitimate tactic, no matter how frustrating."
The Yale Daily News said, "The book-giving event was originally scheduled for Thursday, effectively ruining the plans of the SSA to counter the creationists' event with their own, more satirical, on-campus event."
The Secular Student Association went to some expense with colorful bookmarks with a picture of a banana on them. I offered to pay their printing bill, but as yet haven't heard back from them.
But for a few copies being destroyed and one atheist managing to collect 22 copies for himself, everything went very smoothly. All we wanted to do was peacefully pass out the books and it was wildly successful.
A team in England also passed out 1,000 copies to Oxford University students. Richard Dawkins has told students to rip out the Introduction, that they are cousins of bananas, that nothing created everything, and that anyone who didn't believe as he did, was "wicked." So we went to his home university to let students know that they are not cousins of bananas, that God created them, and that they are free to believe anything they wish. We also sent him a very nice gift basket along with his own copy of the book, and yes . . . I had a banana put into the basket. But we didn't say who the gift basket was from. We will leave him to formulate his own theory as to its origin.
We are working on a documentary of the Origin into Schools project, and will give you progress reports.
We are so grateful to the nearly 2,000 Christians that cared enough about the lost, to help us get the gospel into the hands of 171,000 people (minus 22). Please know that this is just the beginning.