Pharyngula

Scott Adams wanks again!

Scott Adams makes his argument against atheism. Let’s just say that Adams makes McGrath look like a brilliant, nuanced genius by comparison. All he’s got is the cartoonist’s version of Pascal’s Wager, and his own profound misconceptions about what atheists are.

In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity — the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.

Ummm, he forgot to capitalize True Atheist™.

Atheists do not claim 100% certainty. We prefer to point to the lack of evidence for religion, which makes their certainty look ridiculous, and argue instead that we have reasonable grounds to doubt claims of talking snakes, stationary suns, and resurrected rabbis. His premise that atheism is all about perfect certainty is false, making the rest of his argument irrelevant, but the rest of his argument is so stupid that we’ll include it for its entertainment value.

Let me put this in perspective. You might be willing to accept a 10% risk of going skiing and getting hurt, but you wouldn’t accept a 10% risk of a nuclear war. The larger the potential problem, the less risk you are willing to tolerate.

An eternity in Hell is the largest penalty there could ever be. So while you might not worry about a .00000000001% chance of ending up in Hell, you can’t deny the math. .00000000001% of eternity is a lot longer than your entire mortal life. Infinitely longer.

Ah, the Argument from Imaginary Improbabilities. That’s a dangerous game to play, because any fool can invent them, including me.

Maybe God is perverse, and if you believe in him in the absence of any credible evidence, he’s going to shout “You got punk’d!” when you show up at the Pearly Gates, toss you into Hell, and all the atheists get ushered into Heaven to join the ranks of celestial wise-asses who get to mock all the faith-heads forever. There’s a minute chance that if you aren’t an atheist, you’ll go to hell.

Maybe I’m God. If you don’t worship me and tithe to me, I’ll send you to PZ’s Hell when you die. You should worry, because every torment in my Hell is a million times worse than the torments in the Christian Hell — every magma smoothie is a thousand degrees hotter than theirs, to every poke with a pitchfork we add an anal reaming with a hook-suckered tentacle, every hill up which you must push boulders is 15° steeper, every lake of vomit contains twice as many chunks. Obviously, the potential problem is much greater in my Hell than your pedestrian Christian Hell, therefore you should believe in Me. Donate now, or suffer.

Or maybe you could just realize that an assortment of imaginary probabilities, no matter how dire, are entirely incoherent, contradictory, arbitrary, and unresolvable, and therefore negligible. You don’t have to be 100% certain to be able to dismiss the rantings of bearded prophets as lacking grounds for concern. We usually develop an intellectual discriminatory filter that allows us to screen out the silly threats from the real ones; religion is a massive perforation in that sensible screen that encourages people to ignore evidence and accept Imaginary Improbabilities as Inarguable Inevitabilities. Rejecting it should be regarded as an important issue of self-defense.

But then, we have churchly institutions that make gullibility a sacrament and worship the holy gaps in our rationality, and urge their believers to widen and deepen their credulity to let the invisible imaginary beings in. We also have a fair number of people, like certain cartoonists, who are simply not smart enough to grasp simple ideas, even if they are uncontaminated by the preachings of a church.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    August 7, 2007

    I still believe in Dogbert, but I’m beginning to doubt the existence of Scott Adams.

    Of course, I can’t be 100% certain.

  2. #2 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    Am I going to have to do another Image Dogtoring?

  3. #3 Matt Penfold
    August 7, 2007

    Scott Adams once upon a time used to have a brain. The early Dilbert’s were amusing and showed an understanding of corporate life.

    The latter day Adams clearly has suffered some kind of brain damage.

  4. #4 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    August 7, 2007

    Scott Adams would be eaten alive by anyone with a mental capacity over 100. Too bad, too.. Dilbert is absolutely hilarious. In print, of course.

  5. #5 Christian Burnham
    August 7, 2007

    I find it interesting that both left and right wingers use modern versions of Pascal’s wager.

    The right warn us that ignoring terrorism could lead to enormous dangers, whereas the left claim that we have to act now on global-warming even though there are still large uncertainties on how bad it will be or how much we can do about it.

    Being left-wing I tend to agree with the latter- but I’m not convinced that I’m not making the same mistake as the right, or the religious. Just because a potential threat could be enormous does not by itself justify spending billions to counter it.

  6. #6 tony
    August 7, 2007

    Dilbert is funny — because the ideas are coming from so many ‘corporate’ sources…. Adams merely ‘dilberts’ them for publication…. and in agreement with an earlier post – he’s now no longer ‘in’ corporate life so has lost the necessary filter for evaluating those ideas realistically! Some are good. Some are bad. In general, though, even the bad ones are still funny-ish.

    Dilbert apart, though, Adams *is* the pointy-haired-boss of anti-atheist sentiment.

  7. #7 windy
    August 7, 2007

    An eternity in Hell is the largest penalty there could ever be.

    How about an eternity with Scott Adams? That might tip the scales for betting the opposite of whatever he is betting.

  8. #8 tony
    August 7, 2007

    oops…sorry… for all the… ellipses!

  9. #9 Janine
    August 7, 2007

    So let me get this straight, a True Atheist would need to have a godlike mental capacity to truly know that god does not exist. Shit, if that is the case, what use does the The Atheist need of the scientific process. The The Atheist knows all. No need to test any theory.

    With this, I will state that no scientist is an atheist. PZ, the gig is up. Please state if you are a scientist or a True Atheist. You cannot be both.

  10. #10 ChrisD
    August 7, 2007

    I need to be infallible to know anything with 100% certainty? Tell me this is a joke. Otherwise you might as well, again, lump god into the category of the celestial teapot, flying spaghetti monster and the invisible pink unicorn.

    Another thing about knowing with certainty is that you place your bets on the measure of doubt you have about the matter. I’m 99.9..% sure that gravity will hold for the very near future and will remain so even longer. Should I place bets on that infinitesimal oddity of everyone suddenly falling up?

  11. #11 aiabx
    August 7, 2007

    Hell is a thousand commenters arguing about the meaning of “atheism”.

  12. #12 Matt Penfold
    August 7, 2007

    Christian Burnham,

    I am not sure that those who oppose Bush’s policies on terrorism are denying terrorism is not a problem. I think it is far more likely they think the solutions Bush proposes will not work. With regards climate change, there is still a substantial number who deny it is happening, or argue that even if it is: 1) it is not down to human activity and 2) it does not matter anyway. In addition evidence from Europe shows that reducing CO2 emissions does not seem to be as costly as some claim. The UK will meet its Kyoto targets and the UK economy seems to be doing pretty well.

    So the difference between the right on global warming and the left on terrorism seems to be that the right deny global warming is happening whereas the left admit there is a problem posed by terrorism but think the proposed methods of dealing with it will not work.

  13. #13 Sonja
    August 7, 2007

    PZ did a great job going after the absurdities in Adams’ dribble.

    But wait for it… The Scott Adams drones will be here in a minute to point out how we just don’t see the great irony, sarcasm, and wit of it all.

    Sorry drones, but, as an atheist, I won’t believe there is irony, sarcasm and wit in Adams’ posting unless there is at least some shred of evidence that it exists.

  14. #14 Don
    August 7, 2007

    Adams has clearly never read Pratchett.

    “We’re going to show you what we think of Mr. Clever Dick in these parts.”

  15. #15 Brian W.
    August 7, 2007

    Scott Adams also once wrote about how we should have an atheist president. And while i was searching trying to find that article i came across this one that he just wrote.

    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/08/poster-child-fo.html

    I don’t know what the hell he’s thinking or doing.

  16. #16 Warren
    August 7, 2007

    PZ’s Hell: We Do It Better?

  17. #17 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    You’re dead on, Sonja.

    The big problem Adams misses with satire and so forth: There has to be a grain of truth in order for it to be funny. All he’s doing is borrowing some generic fundie propaganda.

  18. #18 TW
    August 7, 2007

    Here’s another example of where atheism goes astray. It’s totally pointless to get sucked into arguments about the probability of god’s existence. Whether god exists in some tangible form or not isn’t the problem. The problem is religion. The problem is the claim to specific knowledge about the unknowable in order to exert political influence in the real world. (And I confess to paraphrasing Hitchens there.)

    While it’s true that theism is the root generator of religion, it’s a fight that can’t be won because there is no proof either way. But it’s easy to attack the knowledge claims of religion, simply by demanding proof for the -specific- claims it makes. So I’m not interested in atheism and prefer to call it what it really is – Anti-Religionism.

    Add a red R after the red A and you get ARrrrrr….Pirates!

  19. #19 John Marley
    August 7, 2007

    Pascal’s Wager is a joke.

    Anyone can just make up some crap and use Pascal’s Wager to defend it:

    On the night of the harvest moon, Trogdor will come and burninate anyone who does not leave a penny outside their front door as tribute.

    Now apply Pascal’s Wager:

    Cost of believing if false – the trivial effort of leaving a penny outside your front door. You don’t even lose the penny.

    Cost of not believing if true – painful death by burnination.

    I’m sure someone is going to say that Pascal’s Wager doesn’t apply, because I just made this up, and Trogdor is well known to be fictional. Atheists, however, feel the same way about hell and God.

  20. #20 David Dorward
    August 7, 2007

    I suspect Adams is a professional troll (ditto John C Dvorak). He just churns out garbage he knows will get a rise from people who promptly link to him in anger, sending visitors his way, and generating advertising revenue.

    It is a relatively clever business model for people who went to Catbert’s school of ethics.

  21. #21 Mark Nutter
    August 7, 2007

    Have you seen his follow-up post on Pascal’s Wager? Where he reveals that Islam, and not Christianity, is more likely to be the winning wager, on the grounds that they’re going to nuke us as soon as they get the bomb, and God is most likely on the side of the winners?

  22. #22 Jsn
    August 7, 2007

    Any bets that Adams was raised as a Catholic?

  23. #23 gonzoknife
    August 7, 2007

    Adams’s silliness is compounded by limiting “God” to the obvious Christian god with hell and brimstone. By the same logic, I should be just as worried about karmic reincarnation among other things.

    I guess I’m screwed for killing all those ants yesterday with bug spray. Oh well, better luck next life.

  24. #24 John Danley
    August 7, 2007

    He forgot to add another 0. so it is actually .000000000001%.

    http://thestubborncurmudgeon.blogspot.com

  25. #25 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    Have you seen his follow-up post on Pascal’s Wager? Where he reveals that Islam, and not Christianity, is more likely to be the winning wager, on the grounds that they’re going to nuke us as soon as they get the bomb, and God is most likely on the side of the winners?

    *Hurk!*

  26. #26 Burt Humburg
    August 7, 2007

    PZ pokes fun at Adams’ construction of false probabilities, but it probably won’t have much traction with faith-minded people. I prefer to imbue doubt in the following fashion:

    Faith can certainly move mountains; people can remain abstinent of drinking, perform great physical feats against the odds, etc. if they think they can do something. On the other hand, faith can very easily be misplaced. Pick your favorite example: the kid who hides from the fire in his closet instead of making egress; the parishoners of a pastor selling bonds that turn out to be him laundering money for drug cartels; or the believers that the US simply does not torture people or that GWB is a very good president.

    I think the time is fast approaching when believers need to recognize that they will be held accountable for their beliefs. Believing that Christ died and was raised from the dead is innocuous; believing that Christ died, was raised from the dead, and for this reason you have to deny homosexuals the right to marry (or insert your favorite fundie feverish action issue here that no decent person with ethics could advocate, absent their training in bronze-age mystics passing stories down from the specific oral tradition of the tribes of Abraham), etc. Simply slap a label “God” on something and you’ve got instant support: the Iraq war is God’s will and therefore Christians should support it.

    My hope is that, with the recent distaste faith is engendering, maybe Christians will start to rethink cherished beliefs and to recognize that the Neuremberg defense wasn’t all that convincing after WWII; it would be a very unjust God (unless it was PZ after all; all hail PZ!) that would suddenly think “I was just following orders” to be a credible defense for anything as clearly immoral as denying marriage benefits to same-sex couples on the basis of a particular bronze-age philosophy.

    Faith moves mountains, but misplaced faith kills and engenders immoral behavior. Christianity has enough sheep; now we need skeptics.

    BCH

  27. #27 Bob L
    August 7, 2007

    Isn’t the same argument used for the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Even if the chance is remote, would you take a pass on the .0000001% chance that you could spend eternity with a beer volano and stripper factory.

    Adam’s problem is he is not over the top enough.

  28. #28 Andrew Wade
    August 7, 2007

    Just because a potential threat could be enormous does not by itself justify spending billions to counter it.

    Quite true. But in my experience the “left-wing” argues mostly from the likely consequences of global warming, not the extreme scenarios. Now, they may not be doing a full risk/benefit analysis, but the arguments (mostly) aren’t as silly as Pascal’s wager.

  29. #29 Burt Humburg
    August 7, 2007

    Sorry. Meant to bring it back to the topic at hand…

    This is why Pascal’s Wager is bullcrap. As stated above by others, any proposition could be set up to be defended using the logic of Pascal’s Wager, but what isn’t being adequately enumerated is the risk of the proposition at hand. Believing in God, yes, is innocuous, but believing in a God via a religion that trains its followers to devalue reason is a recipe for destruction for everyone.

    Adams is wrong; atheists have it more right with this issue, clearly.

    BCH

  30. #30 gg
    August 7, 2007

    It’s sad to see Adams sink to such silly arguments. I used to love his strip, and he used to use it to mock the sort of arguments he now makes happily.

    Christian Burnham wrote: “I find it interesting that both left and right wingers use modern versions of Pascal’s wager.”

    I don’t really think the two cases of rightie terrorism and leftie global warming are so readily comparable.

    A true ‘application’ of Pascal’s wager employs ‘infinitely’ bad (or good) consequences of an event to offset the fact that it is vanishingly likely to happen or, worse, has no evidence it could happen at all. The right wing are doing this, because they offset the extremely low probability of nuclear terrorism (there’s no evidence anyone is close to using nukes in terror) by using the horrible consequences of it – ergo, we must invade Iraq (don’t ask why!).

    While the end result of global warming is not completely understood, there is scientific consensus that it is happening, and that the effects will be negative. In other words, the bad consequences are not extremely unlikely, and most climate scientists would probably call them likely at this point. The real question in global warming, and one most serious policymakers are addressing, is how do we take reasonable steps at reasonable cost to offset the worst possible consequences.

    There are, of course, a number of people who employ Pascal’s wager in global warming for their own purposes (e.g. The Day After Tomorrow). But it isn’t the default policy of the ‘global warmers’, whereas Pascal’s wager is administration policy.

  31. #31 Dan
    August 7, 2007

    I can say with 100% certainty that Dilbert was printed in my morning paper today.

    Eat it, Scott Adams!

  32. #32 Dave S.
    August 7, 2007

    In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity — the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.

    So……since humans can’t be 100% certain about anything, true theists (who I assume are human) can’t be 100% certain God exists?

  33. #33 Dallas Reader
    August 7, 2007

    Yesterday my newest issue of Vanity Fair arrived in the mail. Though I dislike Christopher Hitchens, I did read his article on the interactions he has had with believers as he has travelled the country debating them and promoting his book against religion. The most interesting part was that in at least one venue in the deep south, he got the feeling that the atheists in attendance were surprised at how many fellow atheists they had in their community.

    The recent flood of books is allowing a lot of us to “come out of the woodwork” so to speak.

  34. #34 gg
    August 7, 2007

    BCH wrote: “Believing in God, yes, is innocuous, but believing in a God via a religion that trains its followers to devalue reason is a recipe for destruction for everyone.”

    That’s another interesting point about Pascal’s wager. It is a bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand, keeping your eye on the infinite consequences/punishments of disbelief so that you don’t think about the real-world benefits of such disbelief, e.g. you’ll be able to clean your house on a Sunday, you can use that tithing money to put your kids through college and you won’t be such a credulous moron.

    Really, it’s no different than what religion has been doing from the dawn of conscious thought. Pascal just gave it a name.

  35. #35 DinoBoy
    August 7, 2007

    Yep he’s a troll all right. He admitted to it once. I think it was around the first time he blogged about evolution. Someone responded to that with a comment that what Adams was doing was called trolling. Adams’ response to that: “There’s a word for it? Cool.”

    Anyway I can’t comment anything better than Prof Myers, Zeno, or Sonja. Well done and thank you all. I read both Pharyngula and Dilblog everyday. Adams writes books for money but the blog for free so what the heck, I read it. When it’s funny, great! When it’s not funny but at least makes me think, still good. But most often when it’s neither like the Atheism post in question I just shrug and head back to Pharyngula because this one NEVER let’s me down : )

  36. #36 wÒÓ?
    August 7, 2007
  37. #37 wÒÓ?
    August 7, 2007
  38. #38 Glenn
    August 7, 2007

    I like jhuger’s response to Pascal’s wager. My updated rejoinder is to ask, when you get one of those spam messages threatening your life, do you pay the $20K, or do you ignore it?

  39. #39 rutty
    August 7, 2007

    Scott Adams wanks again!

    You make it sound like wanking is a bad thing

  40. #40 Reginald Selkirk
    August 7, 2007

    This is why Pascal’s Wager is bullcrap.

    Pascal’s Wager is bullcrap for a great many reasons, this is just one. Another criticism is that it the Christian God existed, he would likely only reward sincere belief, not someone playing Passcal’s roulette.

  41. #41 Cyrus
    August 7, 2007

    10:

    I need to be infallible to know anything with 100% certainty? Tell me this is a joke.

    32:

    So……since humans can’t be 100% certain about anything, true theists (who I assume are human) can’t be 100% certain God exists?

    Yeah, I noticed the same thing. His argument applies equally well against total, complete certainty in anything, be it God or the statement that there is a Crush can on my desk. “In order to be certain that [foo], you have to possess a godlike mental capacity — the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true [believer in foo], you have to believe you are [...] God.” Ergo, no one should ever use universal quantifiers when talking about the real world. Either that, or it’s a totally banal observation about the imprecision of the concepts of belief and certainty in casual English. I don’t really understand what this has to do with atheism specifically, though.

  42. #42 Reginald Selkirk
    August 7, 2007

    Adams: And it’s too hard to explain that agnosticism is the only intellectually defensible position.

    It sure is hard. That’s because it’s wrong.

  43. #43 Aaron
    August 7, 2007

    Have you seen his follow-up post on Pascal’s Wager? Where he reveals that Islam, and not Christianity, is more likely to be the winning wager, on the grounds that they’re going to nuke us as soon as they get the bomb, and God is most likely on the side of the winners?

    Not if Tom Tancredo has anything to say about it!

  44. #44 C. L. Hanson
    August 7, 2007

    You guys have probably already seen this since it was listed in the latest COTG, but Greta Christina wrote an interesting essay about trying to reason based on threats of infinitely bad punishment: here.

  45. #45 Rey Fox
    August 7, 2007

    Adams: And it’s too hard to explain that agnosticism is the only intellectually defensible position.

    Really? I’ll state Adams’ position for him: “We really can’t know for sure, because if anyone states a position on it one way or another, they must be some kind of asshole.”

  46. #46 H. Humbert
    August 7, 2007

    Adams claims that he calls himself an atheist because “it’s too hard to explain Spinoza’s version of god.” This is after he provides Pascal’s Wager as a valid reason for believing in god. Should someone explain to Adams that there is no threat of hell with Spinoza’s god?

  47. #47 Brian W.
    August 7, 2007

    “A human can’t be 100% certain about anything.”

    I’m not 100% certain that’s true

  48. #48 Caledonian
    August 7, 2007

    Yep he’s a troll all right. He admitted to it once. I think it was around the first time he blogged about evolution. Someone responded to that with a comment that what Adams was doing was called trolling. Adams’ response to that: “There’s a word for it? Cool.”

    By definition, that is precisely what Adams is NOT doing.

    Morons.

  49. #49 JVC
    August 7, 2007

    I saw a couple of amusing replies, my favourite being from Conrad

    Dear Scott,

    Please send me a signed original copy of any Dilbert comic strip. If you do, I promise you eternity on a lovely Carribean cruise with everything you could ever ask for. If you don’t, I condemn you to spend eternity in small cubicle being whipped by a pitch-fork carrying PHB.

    Sure, you might not believe that I can carry through with these promises, but think about the magnitude of what’s at stake here – can you really afford to take that chance?

  50. #50 Greta Christina
    August 7, 2007

    My very, very favorite critique of this Pascal’s Wager crap came from South Park. There’s a scene at the gates of hell, where all the newly dead souls who are going to hell are lining up and being welcomed by one of Satan’s minions. And almost EVERYBODY who’s newly dead is there. They’re all bitterly complaining that they shouldn’t be going to hell: they were good people and faithfully followed the tenets of their assorted religions, and why aren’t they going to heaven?

    And the minion, treating it like a game show, says, “No, I’m sorry, you all had the incorrect answer. The correct answer was: Mormons.”

  51. #51 grendelkhan
    August 7, 2007

    Has anyone asked Scott Adams what the relative payoff would have to be to get him to respond to a Nigerian 419 scammer? After all, if the payoff is big enough and the initial cost low enough, he’d have to be some kind of fool not to take the offer, since there’s a miniscule chance I could really be the deposed prince who needs a quick cash infusion.

    So, what do I have to offer him by email to score five bucks? Lunchtime’s coming up, and that sandwich isn’t going to buy itself.

  52. #52 richard
    August 7, 2007

    It was so nice and quiet with Johnny Hart dead and gone…

  53. #53 scote
    August 7, 2007

    In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity — the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.

    Is Adams being deliberately ironic? If there is one group of people who are 100% (10,000% certainty for the innumerate ones) it is Christian fundamentalists. Does Adams realize that he is accusing “True Believers” of thinking they are god?

    Anyway, Pascal’s Wager is the argument from imaginary probabilities. He, for no apparent reason, postulated the possibility of the God of Christianity existing being 50/50. Well, with those odds of course one should believe in God. He forgot to separately weigh the odds the odds that the Christian beliefs about god, the existence of hell and heaven and how to get into the later, as PZ has noted.

    The big problem with Pascal’s Wager is that it is a universal argument for gullibility. One need only posit the possibility of a high pay off with a low cost to enter. The lottery? Check. Ex Nigerian warlord’s wife wants to pay me $1,000,000? Yup. Valhalla? Gotta try for that…

    Pascal not only deliberately ignored all the other low probability possibilities besides the existence of the Christian God, he also ignored the “cost.” He argued that belief was free. But the Church says belief is not enough. They expected you to tithe and hold to their dogma. And that that belief could cut you off from a mutually exclusive propositions.

    Pascal is just another example of a great man with his reason removed when it came to religion.

  54. #54 The Naturalist
    August 7, 2007

    Which hell, which god? Its that simple. Atheism is grounded in naturalism, just like science; while theists advocate supernatural ideas (memes).
    Can they provide some way of telling us which of their ideas are true and which are false? To the theist, they think they are discussing profound, life-changing ideas; while to an atheist, its just one more meme out of millions. That is why it is so hard to communicate. Theists just don’t get it that we think their profound ideas are nothing but mind-viruses.

  55. #55 MarcusA
    August 7, 2007

    I’m not 100% certain that Scott Adams isn’t a supporter of terrorism. Perhaps we should lock him up in Guantanamo Bay.

  56. #56 CP
    August 7, 2007

    I just commented over at DilBlog; I wanted to share my thoughts here since I figure that this audience might be more receptive. Here’s what I wrote:

    The argument about the number of decimal places on certainty misses an important point. Atheism (which I define as the rejection of faith-based approaches to life, and please no one pull out a dictionary unless they’re willing to go toe to toe over words like “liberal” in dictionaries vs. current usage) is not a strictly epistemological position, but also a decision about how to approach life.

    And how is it that the rationalist, atheist person approaches life? I like this passage from Ayn Rand’s For the New Intellectual. I am not a subscriber to everything the woman wrote, but I think this is germane and cogent:

    Do not say that you’re afraid to trust your mind because you know so little. Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little you do know? Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. Redeem your mind from the hock-shops of authority. Accept the fact that you are not omniscient, but playing a zombie will not give you omniscience–that your mind is fallible but becoming mindless will not make you infallible–that an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error.

  57. #57 Dave S.
    August 7, 2007

    Adams: And it’s too hard to explain that agnosticism is the only intellectually defensible position.

    But the agnostic can’t be 100% certain that he can’t be 100% certain. He’s in no better a position than the theist or atheist in this respect. It seems he has to accept both theism and atheism, which might be even worse.

  58. #58 Callandor
    August 7, 2007

    “An eternity in Hell is the largest penalty there could ever be.”

    Uh, what about an eternity in heaven? Spending the rest of existence praising some being — I’d consider that a hell of a penalty.

    Though I definitely don’t want to go to Myers hell, either….

  59. #59 tsg
    August 7, 2007

    A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable.

    In other words, “nothing is provable therefore any fool belief is as valid as any other.”

    You can’t prove grass is green, so there’s nothing wrong with me believing it’s pink with orange polka-dots.

  60. #60 TW
    August 7, 2007

    I find agnosticism to be very easy. I don’t respect any of the gods of the ‘revealed’ religions, but there -might- be some grain of accuracy to the Spinoza/Einstein concept of an intelligence at work in the universe. As an architect by training, and as a mammal evolved to recognize useful patterns, I tend toward thinking there is an underlying pattern at work. But if I should learn in my lifetime that there isn’t, then that’s okay too. It doesn’t have that big an effect either way.

  61. #61 Will Von Wizzlepig
    August 7, 2007

    Come on PZ, you’re the scientist here, he’s the HUMORIST.

    Who is expected to be a source of truth, and who isn’t?

    I could see good-hearted fun poking, but you’re either purposely shit-stirring for the sake of more comments, or you’re not being rational.

    He’s handing out tools for thought to some, and just making others mad on purpose to keep the commenty discussion going.

    Smart people like you are supposed to see this kind of behavior for what it is- not college level education, but one of those coffee-table amusements made out of twisted nails or wooden blocks. You’re either amused by those for the few minutes it takes to figure them out, or you’re not.

    No need to get too upset about them, though.

  62. #62 Blake Stacey, OM
    August 7, 2007

    Scott Adams said,

    Our brains aren’t that reliable.

    Damn. I’m not often tempted to yell, “I know you are but what am I!” This is one of those times.

  63. #63 Redf
    August 7, 2007

    Nothing can ever be 100% certain, becuase we learn everything. There is no absolute answer to anything. If we knew the answer to everything the true answer our minds would not be able to comprehend it. There is a 1/infinity chance of thier being a twin of you in the universe somewhere. Space is infinite so there is 1 out of infinity chance that you have a twin, it is not 0 out of infinity but 1 out of infinity. These are just examples of that anything can happen.

  64. #64 Stanton
    August 7, 2007

    Von Wizziepig, do realize there is a difference between humor and navel-contemplation like wanking.

  65. #65 dwarf zebu
    August 7, 2007

    “An eternity in Hell is the largest penalty there could ever be.”

    Uh, what about an eternity in heaven? Spending the rest of existence praising some being — I’d consider that a hell of a penalty.

    Though I definitely don’t want to go to Myers hell, either….

    Me too, neither. BTW, what’s Myers heaven like? I have more varied interests than just strippers and beer…

  66. #66 Pablo
    August 7, 2007

    My favorite refute of PW comes from Homer Simpson: “What if we picked the wrong God? Then everyweek, the real God gets madder and madder.”

    OTOH, I was pleased to see the number of responses that tore him to shreds.

  67. #67 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    It’s not Image Dogtoring, but it’s a rant.

    So, how exactly is Adams being funny?

  68. #68 Steve_C
    August 7, 2007

    Redf.

    So what? Should I have stayed a virgin before marriage… just in case?

    Fuck that.

    Sure there’s a 1 in infinity chance there’s a god. SO. The odds are, I’m more likely to get run over by a bus or get lucky with Anne Hathaway, than there’s a god.

    I’ll take my chances with the real world rather than the deluded “what if?” crowd.

  69. #69 Mike Nilsen
    August 7, 2007

    Hell is worse than nuclear war? Can any amount of suffering by an individual approach the mass-murder horror of a nuclear war?!?! Get over yourself, Scott!

  70. #70 Stanton
    August 7, 2007

    Get over yourself, Scott!

    Not even Superman could leap that high.

  71. #71 Sonja
    August 7, 2007

    Very nice, Bronze Dog. “The wager is essentially an appeal to selfishness over truth, logic, and evidence.”

    My favorite question to ask the missionaries that would confront people walking across the U of M campus was, “would you believe this if your belief meant an eternity in Hell?”

    In other words, take away the selfish motivation altogether — do you actually think this stuff is true? Or are you believing out of fear of punishment/promise of reward?

    Pascal’s Wager is just a case for intellectual dishonesty.

  72. #72 Austin Cline
    August 7, 2007

    In case anyone is interested, I have all the fans of Great Scott over here responding to what I posted a couple of days ago about his claims:

    http://atheism.about.com/b/a/259315.htm

    Some insist that he’s making a reasonable argument and defend that. Others insist that he’s just joking and none of it should be taken seriously. None of them appear to be reading what the other is saying. Their contradictions, twists, and turns are very amusing to observe.

  73. #73 NYCatheist
    August 7, 2007

    Scott is another militant/fundamentalist agnostic. ;-)

    Oh, and uh PZ, where’s the donate link? You had me at “every lake of vomit contains twice as many chunks.”

  74. #74 Moggie
    August 7, 2007

    I couldn’t just choose to believe in a god without evidence, simply because I thought it expedient to do so. My mind doesn’t work that way. If I accepted Pascal’s wager, I wouldn’t be a Christian: I’d be an atheist in church. It’s an argument in favour of dishonesty and abject fear. How is that a good thing?

  75. #75 Rey Fox
    August 7, 2007

    Austin: Sounds like a description of the last time the Dildoid hoardes descended on here en masse. Of course none of them read what the others say. That would require reading. And of course they will use the joke defense, even though as far as I can tell, the Adams post was neither funny nor MEANT TO BE FUNNY. Same ol’ sameol.

  76. #76 George
    August 7, 2007

    It doesn’t surprise me that Scott Adams would tend to support irrational beliefs. At the end of his book “The Dilbert Future,” he has a (as far as I can tell) serious chapter on his belief in “affirmations,” or the ability to influence the world by writing down a phrase daily. See here: http://www.insolitology.com/rloddities/dilbert.htm

    So, I guess he’s a kook.

  77. #77 Eisnel
    August 7, 2007

    I love Tony’s comment: “Adams *is* the pointy-haired-boss of anti-atheist sentiment.”

    I don’t think that Adams was making some clever joke that we don’t get. But I do agree with David, DinoBoy and Caledonian that Adams is a troll… although I don’t know if he realizes it (is it possible to be an accidental troll?)

  78. #78 Zephyrus
    August 7, 2007

    Ummm… in case you haven’t noticed, the Dilbert Blog is more of a comedic blog than you make it out to be. Although we are getting quite a laugh over there that so many atheist bloggers are getting so riled up about a post that was so obviously meant to rile people.

  79. #79 gg
    August 7, 2007

    #62: “BTW, what’s Myers heaven like?”

    It’s only a guess, but if PZ believed in such things as a heaven, I think it would go… something… like this…

    Myers heaven

  80. #80 forsen
    August 7, 2007

    The world would be a poorer place without the PHB and Catbert, evil Human Resources director. This is not the first time Adams is saying some grossly stupid stuff outside of that frame, though.

  81. #81 Sastra
    August 7, 2007

    The only atheists I’ve met who claim that “100% certainty” are those using analytical arguments against specific definitions. “If God X is defined as A .. AND God X is also defined as ~A, then God X contains an internal contradiction, and it is therefore logically impossible that God X exists.” If sound, then there is nothing wrong with atheism with 100% certainty — as an analytical matter, not an empirical one (which is what you have when you have to go out and look around and make inferences from evidence).

    Of course, the premises are usually attacked, and God X has a nifty habit of turning into God X-1, but I think this is the only real example one might encounter of the “True Atheist” — and the case wouldn’t fail under the “have to know everything in the universe” criticism.

    Adams’ argument is full of it. If he’s only pretending to believe it to make people jump and holler, it’s interesting that he’s decided to poke at a despised minority. Perhaps his next post will be on how “real black folk wish they were slaves again, because they’d be better off.” Aw, c’mon — can’t you guys take a joke? It’s satire.

  82. #82 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    Ummm… in case you haven’t noticed, the Dilbert Blog is more of a comedic blog than you make it out to be.

    That’s what they said about Dane Cook. I fail to see the humor, and I fail to see how getting “riled up” means anything.

    “Look at them! They care about stuff! It’s so hilariously funny that people can actually be passionate! Let’s make some racial epithets next and watch some more people get riled up because riling up people is funny!”

  83. #83 Tatarize
    August 7, 2007

    Well, I’m sold. Screw this, I’m taking the gamble.

    All I need to do is pick a one in a million deity without any evidence at all. Well, that’s done.

    Now all I need to do is feign belief well enough to trick this God. On top of having needed to choose the right deity.

    The idea that Norman Borlaug who received a Nobel Prize for saving the lives of a billion people is going to burn forever for failing to take a one in a million stab in the dark without any evidence at all and then fail to pay proper lip-service even if he managed to hit the Heaven Lottery.

    Any deity this argument applies to is evil. Honestly, E-V-I-L… You might as well take the Atheist’s Wager. Do good, then if there’s a evil God everybody is still screwed. If there is a good God then you go to heaven, if there is no God then doing good is its own reward.

  84. #84 Rey Fox
    August 7, 2007

    Zeyphyrus: Please point out the joke in Adams’ post. I can’t find it.

  85. #85 Pareto
    August 7, 2007

    You’re not a “philosotainer”, Scott, you’re an idiot.

  86. #86 PZ Myers
    August 7, 2007

    It is guaranteed that if you criticize Scott Adams for saying something stupid, he and others will come along to complain that he is “just joking”. He thinks he has discovered a get-out-of-jail-free card for stupidity, but it isn’t — what it actually means is that if ever he were to say something serious, we wouldn’t believe him then, either.

  87. #87 Jason Brooks
    August 7, 2007

    Well I think that it was a good point on the whole GOD made everything appear out of thin air and there is no scientific reason for life it just magically appeared. I also enjoyed how well put it was how lots of people in the world look to fairies and blue unicorns and spaghetti monsters to save us. In all and all if GOD is real then more power to him but I’ll tell you what with all that power he still hasn’t lifted any one out of a hole or a well that has all been man power and scientific man made tools evidence of showing how man is more godlike than the gods we say we should worship so in turn we are all defeated by our own minds for how strong the mind is. Catch you on the flipside.

    ~J~

  88. #88 Tom Smith
    August 7, 2007

    PZ’s hell: hotter, harder (to bear), and longer

  89. #89 richard
    August 7, 2007

    I seem to recall a bit of writing in one of the Dilbert books about affirmations, and how Scott was a firm believer in writing things down a couple hundred times, willing the Universe to Give him things.

    I have a feeling he’ll be pimping The Secret soon.

  90. #90 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    Oddly enough, in God’s Debris, he made an entirely different, more reasonable stance on the affirmations thing: If you aren’t willing to take the time to do it, chances are you aren’t committed enough to work for it. If you can rigorously do affirmations every day, there’s some chance you’re the sort of person who’ll do what’s necessary to get the job done: You’re not a *complete* lazy ass.

    It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder about the possibility of ghost writing more and more.

  91. #91 Bob L
    August 7, 2007

    I have a feeling he’ll be pimping The Secret soon.

    (snort) What will he call it “Dilberetics”? Him and L Ron Hubbert.

    If he was up to something like that marginalizing atheists would make sense. We are the ones who will point out the obvious BS in is his scam to his suckers.

  92. #92 Kagehi
    August 7, 2007

    Been reading some articles on teens that suggest that the problem they have isn’t that they *fail* to consider consequence, but that, if anything, they think even harder about them, stack them up against the benefits, then completely over exaggerate the benefits. In other words, they are doing the same thing Pascal’s Wager relies on. If there is a 50/50 chance you are wrong, then obviously the benefits of picking the “right” answer is 5,000,000% better than sticking with the wrong one. It doesn’t get any better if you add in the possibility that its the wrong god, or anything else. Lets say that its 50/50 that god exists, 50/50 that its the Christian god and 50/50 that he would accept blind obedience, based on fear, instead of real belief. To adults, that is a 12.5% chance you are going to be right. To a teenager, or most believers apparently, that may as well be 125%… Ironically, its *not being emotional enough* about the consequences that you are wrong that is the problem for some of them. For others, its lotto theory. I might lose, but man, if I won!!

    Point being, the more possible “errors” that could happen, which you introduce”, the less likely it becomes for you to get the right answer in the first place, but the most some fools will take that as a reason to throw themselves, whole body, into one specific set of silly assumptions, in the hope they win. Its that last reel on the slot though. The ones that’s marked with three symbols, “You get back what you put in” – 90% odds, “You win!” – 0->2% odds, and “You lose everything.” – 8-10% odds, that is the key. And it doesn’t matter how many times the bonus symbol appears on all the other reels, if the last one turns out to not even have a “Your win” on it at all, you’re screwed anyway, not matter how much time and money you put into playing. Best bet, is not to play and keep your time and money. That is the *rational* bet. Both the purely logical one, which can argue for infinite consequences, and the pure emotional, “I have gun to my head, so I must pull the handle.”, methods fail to provide a rational conclusion.

    Interestingly, and going a bit off topic, this is why we may be wrong about sex ed too. Giving someone who overemphasizes reward over consequence unlimited information won’t do a damn thing, unless it also triggers a clear emotional response. The, “Just say no”/abstinence, campaigns go for *pure* emotion, while providing no information, and fail because they rely *entirely* on the children they scared into obeying *remaining ignorant*, and not figuring out that much of what they where told to scare them was, in fact, lies. Ironically, one suggestion is to, “provide them with alternatives”. Seems like one Surgeon General tried that, and was fired for it though…

  93. #93 gg
    August 7, 2007

    #77: “Ummm… in case you haven’t noticed, the Dilbert Blog is more of a comedic blog than you make it out to be. ”

    This is the same argument that Rush Limbaugh makes when someone finds a glaring error he can’t hide from or makes a statement so offensive that he can’t shrug it off. “Heck, I’m only a comedian.” Lots of people take that “comedian’s” rants as gospel truth. Considering how dangerous and inflaming religion and its ugly child creation can be, why are you surprised that people get upset by a public figure spreading false and logically fallacious arguments about them?

  94. #94 notthedroids
    August 7, 2007

    “Ummm… in case you haven’t noticed, the Dilbert Blog is more of a comedic blog than you make it out to be. Although we are getting quite a laugh over there that so many atheist bloggers are getting so riled up about a post that was so obviously meant to rile people.”

    Are there actually people in the world who still find Dilbert funny?

  95. #95 Sivi Volk
    August 7, 2007

    Don #14:

    I was thinking the same thing.

  96. #96 Steve P.
    August 7, 2007

    Wow, I gotta say, up to now I hadn’t heard anything bad about Adams, so I was pretty impartial about the guy going into this. Now I see he’s quite a dick. Good to know, since these sorts of things always help with purchase decisions.

  97. #97 Jon
    August 7, 2007

    Magma smoothies… LMAO!

  98. #98 Frances
    August 7, 2007

    So, suppose there -is- a god. There you have it: God had a week off before the new project started, nothing much to do, the missus had the rags, let’s create us a universe, you know, just for shits and giggles.

    The universe is -a big- place. There’s room for all sorts of sports. In that universe a species awakens that has the intellectual capacity to ask itself who would be mental enough to make such a big place and then not have enough coat hangers.

    Apparently god, who made the joint, cares about your opinion of him. Think about that for a second. god can do anything, or at least that’s what it appears like to the mental midgets who fop around on a non-descript dirtball somewhere in a galactic soup stain in the dust between the stars. A few of the critters on the dirt ball have this notion that you might exist. God cares about their opinion of him. What’s that saying about his mental make up? He -made- you, you’re as much to him as a supernova means to its host galaxy. A few of the meatbags claim that they know god’s mind. god falls down laughing and keeps doing that for a few aeons.

    God cares about our opinion of him. In fact, he cares so much of our opinion of him that he keeps track of -everything- anyone [who has the mental capacity to believe there could be someone like him] ever does, simultaneously [!] and when they die, he presents them with the tab. God has a plan with that tab: he has created a place where all those who have not been following the program are going to. It is a place called Hell, and it’s the absolute dismallest joint you could ever imagine. It’s worse, if you can imagine that, than Wal-Mart after they’ve run out of the big ticket promo item of the week.
    You get there by sinning, god’s very own special discount program for the ethically challenged. This is not just any program, this is a punishment for crimes which the casual onlooker might deem arbitrary. Nonetheless, the place is there. And guess what, this one is a doozy. Suppose you have sinned, you end up in hell. This is punishment beyond compare. You receive the absolute worst imaginable punishment and it lasts for abso-fucking-lutely EVER. This pain does not go away. It doesn’t matter that you were only on the dirtball for about 100 cycles on the merry-go-round [if you were lucky [?] to live that long] or whether you only got 18 years or so. If you sinned, and the game is stacked against you, meatbags, you will spend the rest of all time, or that which passes for it, experiencing the worst possible punishment, and you don’t get time off for weekends or good behavior.

    There you go. That’s god for you. Don’t screw with god, because you’re going to be paying for it for a very long time.

    Actually, what is that saying about god? It’s saying something about the meatbags and about god: the biggest superiority complex in the known universe: humanity, meets the biggest inferiority complex in the known universe: god. God is so unsure about himself that he has to mete out punishment on a stupendous scale. Humanity quits when the criminal kicks the bucket, but that is just where god is starting.

    Who can possibly believe in a view of the world where -a- god would care enough what -you- think of him to punish you, and this for all eternity in the most severe way he can come up with? This is not divine punishment, this is a pathology on a truly cosmic scale. God has personality problems. God needs help and a lot of it, for a long time. This is going to cost something to sort out.

    Atheists are scorned for displaying ‘certainty’ about god, while believers [some of them] are not only sure on the level that Scott Adams deems divine, that a) they know for a fact that god exists, b) they know what he will do and why he will do it, c) you’re going to hell if you doubt it.
    Follows the old argument: atheists would be prepared to believe if the existance of god was demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt, while believers believe without a single shred of hard evidence that will hold up against scientific scrutiny [and scientific scrutiny is -emphatically not- intelligent design, or the religous fad-du-jour].

    Leaves one conclusion: apparently Scott Adams is afraid of hell. And not in a small way. Leaves one question: what did Scott Adams do to be so afraid of the punishment he seems convinced is coming his way?

    The universe seems to hobble along just fine without a god. I don’t want there to be a god for a very practical reason: they never seem to have a great deal of fun. I distrust that. If you’re powerful enough to create an entire universe, but you couldn’t [or didn't want to] make it a great, fun place to be in, you’re not invited to dinner. You’re a nasty piece of work and I don’t want to know you.

  99. #99 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 7, 2007

    Scott Adams, formerly known as humorist, now known as the comedian with the unreliable brain.

    Ummm… in case you haven’t noticed, the Dilbert Blog is more of a comedic blog than you make it out to be.

    Oh, come on, don’t destroy our having fun with Scott Adams! To explain a joke or declare a humorist is a very boring and self-defeating thing to do.

    But tell us, are we supposed to read Adam’s on the off chance that he will relieve us from the purgatory of a normal day by his wit and humor? I’m sure that proposal has a specific name…

    Redf:

    Space is infinite so there is 1 out of infinity chance that you have a twin, it is not 0 out of infinity but 1 out of infinity. These are just examples of that anything can happen.

    Not exactly. We know of some stuff that really can’t happen. We also know the exact possibility for twins.

    What we don’t know is the generic finite possibility for the regular stuff in a possible multiverse. So I wouldn’t wager on it. :-P

  100. #100 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 7, 2007

    Scott Adams, formerly known as humorist, now known as the comedian with the unreliable brain.

    Ummm… in case you haven’t noticed, the Dilbert Blog is more of a comedic blog than you make it out to be.

    Oh, come on, don’t destroy our having fun with Scott Adams! To explain a joke or declare a humorist is a very boring and self-defeating thing to do.

    But tell us, are we supposed to read Adam’s on the off chance that he will relieve us from the purgatory of a normal day by his wit and humor? I’m sure that proposal has a specific name…

    Redf:

    Space is infinite so there is 1 out of infinity chance that you have a twin, it is not 0 out of infinity but 1 out of infinity. These are just examples of that anything can happen.

    Not exactly. We know of some stuff that really can’t happen. We also know the exact possibility for twins.

    What we don’t know is the generic finite possibility for the regular stuff in a possible multiverse. So I wouldn’t wager on it. :-P

  101. #101 Will Von Wizzlepig
    August 7, 2007

    I really feel like this is a sad situation, if PZ is truly irked at Scott and not just pretending.

    How does one become a scientist? Some are born with that inclination, yes. Some end up realizing it’s where they want to be. But the rest of the world has looked into it and felt it is over their head.

    So logic, critical thinking, self-doubt and the scientific method are beyond the reach of most people. They may be calm, rational, thoughtful people, but the only way they find themselves learning about themselves or any of that science stuff is when a lesson is stuck in their heads disguised as entertainment.

    If reading Scott’s odd rants do NOT make you stop and think because of their irrationality, the lesson is lost on you, but it is still there for someone. A trained scientist does not need these lessons, and apparently can’t recognize their value to a layman.

    Question your own beliefs, question your reality, test your facts, figure out if what you took for granted as true actually is or not so true or reliable… what of this isn’t part of the path to higher thinking?

    …if anyone can bring a bit of this to the public while they think they are being entertained, then all the better. He likes to think, and he likes to make people think, and sometimes he is funny. He makes no claims to anything else.

    And if you can’t tell that he’s messing with you on purpose, well, that’s your own problem.

    A person who reads his site and takes it as truth is an idiot who is not going to read scienceblogs or improve upon themself anyway.

    No, the world of thinking people is not going to receive a massive influx of new recruits anytime soon, but we have conundrums like Scott to thank for some of the few we do receive.

  102. #102 Greta Christina
    August 7, 2007

    “You might as well take the Atheist’s Wager. Do good, then if there’s a evil God everybody is still screwed. If there is a good God then you go to heaven, if there is no God then doing good is its own reward.”

    Tatarize, this is brilliant.

  103. #103 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    Will, we’ve read this “lesson” from lots and lots of fundies. It didn’t hold up for them, so why would it hold up for a comedian?

    This isn’t about “makes you think”. We’ve already thought a lot about this, and he doesn’t present anything new. This is him posting boring, stagnant thoughts and people like you claiming that they’re somehow better or funnier when they come from a comedian, just like some people do if they come from a preacher.

    The bottom line is that he lied (no, not exaggerated) about atheists, scraped up some cliches from his inner PHB, posted them as if they were clever, and when he got called out on his unoriginal, centuries-old stupidity (and being unfunny while doing so). Half of you got riled up for us having the audacity to call him stupid, and the other half are trying to pardon his stupidity by pretending that somehow being non-serious makes it okay.

    Face it, Adams laid himself another dud of a though/joke/whatever and threw in a moldy old malicious lie that would guarantee the religious segment of his population would call it “funny.”

  104. #104 Steve P.
    August 7, 2007

    Couldn’t have said it better, Bronzy.

  105. #105 llewelly
    August 7, 2007

    It is interesting that a popular defense of Scott Adams is that he is just trying to rile people up. That is, he is a troll.

  106. #106 shadowfirebird
    August 7, 2007

    Oh, for goodness’ sake: Scott Adams’ business is comedy, not philosophy. He can say what he likes, it can be as dumb as he likes. It only has to be funny. If you don’t think it’s funny, fine — but why on earth take offense?

  107. #107 gary
    August 7, 2007

    Wait, the musings of the world’s most successful living cartoonist are occasionally flawed? Wow, thanks for pointing that out. This blog is providing such a valuable service…

    Actually, this is as puerile and absurd a blog as advertised. I mean, really, what authentic scientist would wrangle with a cartoonist? It’s…a…pop culture…blog.

    Seems to me only a petty and bitter one with too much time on their hands would do so. I mean, it would be like a professor of literary studies endlessly ranting on his blog about the quality of storytelling everytime Paramount released a film. What?!?!? Plot holes, lost threads, unbelievable twists and poorly written characters abound? Shocking, just shocking. Allow me to point it out constantly, and with obvious relish and venom.

    Bleh. Second and last time I’ll be back here. If I had a dollar for all the bitter backstabbing, absurdly hot tempered maulings and fierce infighting I have seen in Academia I wouldn’t have to teach anymore. This reeks of the same shit just directed at another target. Mr. Adams posts maybe occasionally flawed but at least they aren’t boring, pathetic, guileless, tawdry and artless or filled with the perverse pleasure of pointing out the flaws in others.

  108. #108 aiabx
    August 7, 2007

    shadowfirebird-
    Would you like to hear my n*gger jokes? They’re just meant to be funny!
    Call me thin skinned if you like, but I’d need a lot more respect for Scott Adams before I’d laugh at him calling me stupid for not believing in god.

  109. #109 tony
    August 7, 2007

    apparently backstabbing is ‘bitter’ when done by us, but ‘joking’ when done by dumb-ass cartoonists.

    I’d also be surprised if a Lit professor would actually get his head out of his ass long enough to write a critique of anything other than an art-house film. (Although I do know some who go to the regular movies and enjoy them very much)

  110. #110 Steve_C
    August 7, 2007

    Adams fans are so cute when they’re trying to be superior.

    Run along and play.

  111. #111 Steve P.
    August 7, 2007

    gary said (#105): “Mr. Adams posts maybe occasionally flawed but at least they aren’t…filled with the perverse pleasure of pointing out the flaws in others.”

    *head smack*

    Isn’t that exactly what the post in question is? First, “pointing out” apparent (to him) “flaws” in atheist’s beliefs; second, “perverse pleasure” in that he is only getting pleasure out of “riling people up”, and doesn’t really mean much (or anything?) of what he says, as a few of his fans have admitted on this thread.

  112. #112 Mike Nilsen
    August 7, 2007

    That was a pretty insulting post on Adams part if it was just intended to be humorous and get people’s goat. Try substituting the religion or ethnicity of your choice for ‘atheist’ and see how it comes out. Humor like that at the workplace would get most people fired. Of course, we all know what the most reviled religious group is: those without religion. It’s always OK to rag on atheists.

  113. #113 Rey Fox
    August 7, 2007

    Again: Where is the joke? How is it meant to be funny? I mean he could have at least thrown in a bit about vomit chunks to get a giggle out of me. Am I supposed to laugh at him saying that agnosticism is the only intellectually defensible position? Seriously, where’s the funny?

  114. #114 mothworm
    August 7, 2007

    Seems to me only a petty and bitter one with too much time on their hands would do so. I mean, it would be like a professor of literary studies endlessly ranting on his blog about the quality of storytelling everytime Paramount released a film. What?!?!? Plot holes, lost threads, unbelievable twists and poorly written characters abound? Shocking, just shocking. Allow me to point it out constantly, and with obvious relish and venom.

    What an odd non-sequiter. It seems like your argument boils down to: “Scott Adams is an unoriginal, shallow hack–what else would you expect? How dare you criticize him!”.

  115. #115 Will Von Wizzlepig
    August 7, 2007

    If someone can define explicitly what Scott is doing wrong, rather than blather on like Bill O’Reilly and talk smack, I’d like to see that.

    Let’s assume Scott is as valid as the bible. (not valid at all, but a fairytale)

    Therefore, quoting Scott is as useful as quoting the bible. (not useful at all.)

    So, without using Scott’s words, without meticulously picking apart what he says or does not say, tell the world precisely what is wrong with what he does.

    If it’s just that you don’t like it, I accept that. I don’t like Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh. They say things about people like me all the time. I don’t care, because they are idiots and paying attention to them is a waste of my time, much like arguing with blog comment posters… however, if you want to say something valid, go for it.

    I will post a public apology and admission of incorrectness if anyone can explicitly explain the validity of “Scott’s wrongness” and its vast, negative impact on the world, such that it merits this much attention. I’ll even leave PZ the job of deciding whether anyone has done this suitably- should he deign to pay attention to this petty argument.

  116. #116 xyz
    August 7, 2007

    The arguments about heaven and hell remind me of this old
    gem from the Unix fortune command:

    >>
    The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our
    authority is Isaiah 30:26, “Moreover, the light of the Moon shall be as
    the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as
    the light of seven days.” Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much
    radiation as we do from the Sun, and in addition 7*7 (49) times as much
    as the Earth does from the Sun, or 50 times in all. The light we
    receive from the Moon is one 1/10,000 of the light we receive from the
    Sun, so we can ignore that … The radiation falling on Heaven will
    heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to
    the heat received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much
    heat as the Earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann law for
    radiation, (H/E)^4 = 50, where E is the absolute temperature of the
    earth (-300K), gives H as 798K (525C). The exact temperature of Hell
    cannot be computed … [However] Revelations 21:8 says “But the
    fearful, and unbelieving … shall have their part in the lake which
    burneth with fire and brimstone.” A lake of molten brimstone means
    that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6C. We
    have, then, that Heaven, at 525C is hotter than Hell at 445C.
    — From “Applied Optics” vol. 11, A14, 1972

    <<

  117. #117 Michael
    August 7, 2007

    Look, I don’t follow Scott Adams. At all. However, I read his blog entry, and I think you missed the point. Scott seems to be making a distinction between agnostics and “pure” atheists, in that the latter are, by his definition, 100% certain of the lack of God, while the former are open to the uncertainty of it all and just don’t know what the fuck is going on.

    That is exactly what many I’ve spoken with believe to be the difference between an agnostic and an atheist. He isn’t criticising the anti-religeous in general. In fact, he counts himself an agnostic in that very same post.

    I get your view, and your points would generally be valid, but I don’t think you actually read the post as written.

  118. #118 frog
    August 7, 2007

    Will Von Wizzlepig: “I will post a public apology and admission of incorrectness if anyone can explicitly explain the validity of “Scott’s wrongness” and its vast, negative impact on the world, such that it merits this much attention.”

    Let’s assume the probability that Zogon God of the Dimuni is the ultimate power in the universe is 0.0000000000000001%. Now, Zogon will punish you and all your ancestors and descendants with an eternity of washing his toes with your tongue if you believe in the Christian Gods and their hells. Everyone (and thing else) gets an eternity of cotton-candy and elephant’s ears.

    By Pascal’s wager, you should definitely believe in Zogon over YHWH, since YWHW only punishes you, individually, but Zogon will punish your children and grandchildren, most proto-hominids and the therapsids for your crimes.

    By advancing his own form of Pascal’s Wager, Adams is committing a horrendous moral crime! By his own argument, he is risking the doom of pre-cambrian unicellular life, in addition to likely the entire human race in the year 3800! He is a monster!

  119. #119 Mr Angry
    August 7, 2007

    Do you people understand the concept of a joke? I’m just wondering because there isn’t a lot of evidence that you do. I’m a believer that the lack of evidence in any sort of god makes the devout believer more than a tad foolish. But I’m starting to suspect god and your sense of humour might be drinking buddies.

    A devout, fanatical atheist seeking to aggressively squash any perceived heresy is not hugely removed from a religious fundamentalist doing the same thing.

  120. #120 gary
    August 7, 2007

    “Isn’t that exactly what the post in question is?”

    Not really. Adams doesn’t “troll for troll’s sake”. I intuit he isn’t pointing these things out to show “how wrong they are” like PZ does or “how right he is” like PZ might.

    “Adams fans are so cute when they’re trying to be superior.
    Run along and play”

    Who’s trying to be superior, now? I didn’t claim to be superior to anyone. Perhaps you should run along and listen to some classical music – I hear it raises your IQ and then maybe you could come up with a good insult.

    “apparently backstabbing is ‘bitter’ when done by us, but ‘joking’ when done by dumb-ass cartoonists.”

    Yep, intention counts for a lot.

    “What an odd non-sequiter…”

    I’ll assume you meant non-sequitur…but I don’t understand how my analogy doesn’t follow. Seems apt to me…considering I threw it together in just a moment. In the interest of clarity PZ dissecting a cartoonist’s blog is like a Lit Prof dissecting each of Paramounts’ film releases. What exactly does it prove?

    Zzzzzz. No time to mount a real response to dullards who have missed the clue train but since you all seem so loyal to PZ’s blog I suppose I will read some more of his stuff before I completely dismiss his blog. Really, though, I am beginning to smell something rank around here and I think it’s more than just the topnote of bitterness.

  121. #121 Justin
    August 7, 2007

    I keep posting this every time a link about this guy shows up on reddit, so why stop now…

    This guy created DILBERT. Why does anyone care this much about what he thinks? Seriously guys…it’s Dilbert….for christ’s sake

  122. #122 Rey Fox
    August 7, 2007

    “A devout, fanatical atheist seeking to aggressively squash any perceived heresy ”

    Sheesh, you people bruise easily.

    Still waiting on the explanation of how Mr. Adams’ post was funny.

  123. #123 Redf
    August 7, 2007

    Uhh ok you want to open your mind and not just dismiss anything to do with God, just becuase God is mentioned. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

  124. #124 frog
    August 7, 2007

    Redf,

    Seriously consider praying to Zogon. It’s not just for your own good – think about the Cambrian worms! Don’t just dismiss it – nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

    For the love of Archaea! Zogon is Lord!

  125. #125 mothworm
    August 7, 2007

    I’ll assume you meant non-sequitur…but I don’t understand how my analogy doesn’t follow. Seems apt to me…considering I threw it together in just a moment. In the interest of clarity PZ dissecting a cartoonist’s blog is like a Lit Prof dissecting each of Paramounts’ film releases. What exactly does it prove?

    That I’m a bad typist and a poor speller.

    Anyway, I fail to see your point. It proves that Paramount makes lousy films and that Adams makes lousy arguments. What’s wrong with pointing that out? You’re upset that there are people who care about things?

    It just seems to me that you’re agreeing that Adams is a git, and then getting offended that someone pointed out what a git he is. Otherwise, for some reason, you have an inordinate sense of propriety in ensuring that PZ isn’t wasting his time on something you consider unworthy of his attention.

  126. #126 Eric
    August 7, 2007

    Not gonna read all these, but just thought I’d toss this in:

    To be a Christian, you have to be 100% certain that all other gods don’t exist, which requires being God. Since blasphemy gets you sent to hell, all Christians are going to hell. See you there, Scott Adams.

  127. #127 Scholar
    August 7, 2007

    I thought you were an atheist PZ… why the sudden change of heart?

  128. #128 CalGeorge
    August 7, 2007

    I’m 100% certain that there is no god.

    I have no doubt.

    Could I have doubt?

    Sure.

    But I don’t.

    Sorry, Scott.

  129. #129 Chui
    August 7, 2007

    Actually, the Chinese hedge their bets this way:

    Pray to
    1) Buddha
    2) Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy)
    3) Kwan Kong (A rather old army general)
    4) Choi Sun (God of Fortune)

    On top of it, your kids can burn paper money and paper houses for your after life.

    And you don’t even have to tithe.

  130. #130 Bronze Dog
    August 7, 2007

    Uhh ok you want to open your mind and not just dismiss anything to do with God, just becuase God is mentioned. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

    And thus Redf does his part to repeat the malicious, propagandistic lie that Adams repeated from all the hateful, nihilistic fundies out there. I think that squish pseudo-moderate attitude has done much to bolster the Religious Right.

    Way to ignore what a large bulk of us say.

    I don’t understand people who do evil for evil’s sake.

  131. #131 Mindbleach
    August 7, 2007

    He actually made a comic refuting his own argument’s premise!

    Catbert tells Dilbert that people will overlook the unlikeliness of receiving a reward if the reward is large enough, then offers Dilbert some grand sum of money after he dies. It’s not that Scott’s dumb, it’s that his religious views are partitioned from his rational thought processes.

  132. #132 Redf
    August 7, 2007

    What the hell are you saying? Seriously thank you for disregarding everything i said. And looking at as if it has some sort of one dimensional meaning.

  133. #133 frog
    August 7, 2007

    Bronze Dog —

    You too are under Zogon’s Warning.

    Repent or toe-licking will be your destiny! And that of your grandmother’s grandmother (not the one through her legal father, since your great-grandmother slept around – Zogon told me so – but through the guy who actually got her pregnant).

    Zogon is cruel, but fair.

  134. #134 JOHN
    August 7, 2007

    Who is this asswipe Zogon.

  135. #135 frog
    August 7, 2007

    JOHN: “Who is this asswipe Zogon.”

    It is good that you have come to the light. Unlike other Gods (particularly Zogon’s brother ****), Zogon is merely improbable.

  136. #136 tony
    August 7, 2007

    Redf: ok. It’s ‘possible’ that tonight my car will miraculously transform into a vintage Ferrari that will never need maintenance or fuel or cleaning – but it’s extremely unlikely. Should I consider changing my life on the off chance this might happen? Is this silly? Stupid? Asinine?

    Your insistence of requiring ‘consideration’ for every ‘possibility’ however unlikely is at least as stupid and silly. The *only* reason you think there is a god is because tribal lore from the bronze age and before has convinced you (and your parents and pastors) of that *fact*

    However there is no other reason for this belief.

    there is no evidence for this belief.

    it is even more improbable than my ‘belief’ stated above (at least I can make some quantum-mechanical predictions regarding the probabilities of the vaccuum flux events combining in such a way that my car transforms into a ferrari — at least we know that such a thing as a vintage Ferrari actually exists)

  137. #137 Griff
    August 7, 2007

    Just so you know, I am not an atheist, I don’t own stock in atheists, nor have I played an atheist on TV. Same relationship to Dilbert/Scott Adams. What I don’t understand is why would someone think less of the Dilbert cartoon because of some personal opinion (made publicly) of the artist, Scott Adams. Is it necessary to link the work and the person in such a manner? If that were true, and you had right-leaning political beliefs, then wouldn’t you be constrained to watching Fox news, Frank Miller movies, and listening to Country Music since you have to dislike everything else based on the political beliefs of the artists? Seems a bit silly, but there is an awful high correlation between the rejection of Scott’s position and negative comments regarding Dilbert.

  138. #138 CortxVortx
    August 7, 2007

    Time for Dogbert to turn around, wave his scepter at Adams, and intone, “Out! Out, you demons of stupidity!”

  139. #139 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    August 7, 2007

    I am okay with being on the losing end of Pascal’s Wager. Listen, eternity of anguish and pain? Not so bad, even in the 10 times worse Hell of MyersVision. We adapt. We learned to carry on, pip, pip. Chin up, stiff upper lip.

    You know the first few million years would be tough, right? But then, things start to normalize a bit. Pretty soon the gallows humor starts up, then discussion groups. Imagine all the sinners and doubters you would get to talk to. A discussion group with Cicero that lasts about a thousand years at a time? Couldn’t be beat. Then you form the bands and Pete smashes a billion guitars. Then Jimmy Hoffa forms a union. I think after a billion years, we could take over hell and make a nice subdivision, join charter commissions and vote for cooler weather and better water quality.

    Who’s with me? Blaspheme for a better future!

  140. #140 duus
    August 7, 2007

    Hell is a thousand commenters arguing about the meaning of “atheism”.

    Posted by: aiabx (#11)

    Hilarious! Well done, aiabx!

  141. #141 Redf
    August 7, 2007

    Tony: If you want to be a little kid and give stupid crap car to good car transformations examples about how anything can happen to make a statement fine, but you know what i mean. I think you know for self that that can not happen.
    I am talking about religion and science.

    You could claim that anything’s real(or possible) if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist. (from harry potter, give credit to J.K. rowling for that line)

    You think that is my take on all of this probably. Let me make myslef clear then. And please get past your I- am-so-logical ego for one minute. What I am saying is that when you deal with religion and science you can not just say it is 100% not true becuase there is no evidence. Nobody knows the answer. It has not been proven, so there is not evidence to prove someones claims, but that also means there could be evidence to prove a certain claim.

    Its a fact that your car can not change, science proves that. I was not clear, basically I am saying it is possible thier is no God and there was no big bang(basic examples). But since God and the big bang have not been falsified with some sort of definite proof, they are also possible.

    Do you understand why people believe in what they believe in? Maybe Religion is all just some big bandwagon, that people follow blindly. But how about yourself you believe in something. Athiesm can be considered a religion. Becuase you put faith into something that has not been proven. It has not been proven that there is no God.

  142. #142 Jan
    August 8, 2007

    Obviously, the potential problem is much greater in my Hell than your pedestrian Christian Hell, therefore you should believe in Me. Donate now, or suffer.

    As I understand it, the point of Adams’ post was inquiring about the arguments of atheists who pretend to be 100% certain.

    He did this in his usual way, by poking fun at them.

    And he threw in a version of Pascal’s wager to dismiss in advance the predictably reply that being 99,999999% certainty is good enough to be “certain”.

    I don’t think he is seriously arguing that we should all believe because we might go to hell.

    So you guys may be getting worked up and using the words “wanking” and “kook” a bit too easily.

    Atheists do not claim 100% certainty

    Some do. I have a friend like that.

    And if strong atheism is explicitly denying the existance of a God (http://atheism.about.com/od/definitionofatheism/a/whatisatheism.htm) then to me that does seem to imply some certainty.

    I guess Adams should have written “strong atheists” instead of just “atheists”, in order to avoid this kind of reactions of “bearded prophets”. ;-)

  143. #143 Bay of Pigs
    August 8, 2007

    What is the matter with you people? How come you don’t believe in the “Invisible Man in the Sky?” An Invisible Man who is/has everything, but yet has some need for us to please him and worship him. An Invisible Man who figured that the best way to show he loves us is to have his only son nailed to a cross and die a slow agonizing death. (I would have been fine with just a greeting card, a phone call, a teddy bear, or a winning lottery ticket. But I guess there is something about crucifixion that just says LOVE.)

    Ok, so I guess it is difficult for you guys to believe that the Invisible Man in the Sky exists with the before mentioned facts. So I guess I will prove his existence by proving the Invisible Bad Man Underground exists. I have several pieces of indisputable evidence.

    1) I-76 in Philadelphia
    2) Dick Cheney
    3) Home Depot on 8th Street in Miami FL
    4) Paris Hilton
    5) Hemorroids
    6) Bill O’Reilly
    7) Anne Coulter
    8) Department of Motor Vehicles
    9) Fundies
    10) The re-election of Dubya

    There! Solid proof!

  144. #144 thalarctos
    August 8, 2007

    Its a fact that your car can not change, science proves that.

    Actually, you’re wrong. Tony’s and my respective crapmobiles(TM) are what they are because their atoms are arranged in particular configurations. A Ferrari is merely another configuration of atoms, arranged very differently.

    Because atoms are always in motion, there is a small—but not zero—chance that the moving atoms in either crapmobile(TM) will rearrange themselves into the configuration of the Ferrari. The probability is so small that tony and I would be idiots to wait around for it to happen, but, as small as it is, it is still different from zero.

    You assert categorically that it cannot happen—that the probability is zero—and thus, you are categorically wrong. It is *not* a fact that the car cannot change, and science “proves” no such thing.

  145. #145 Sensitive Poet
    August 8, 2007

    One problem I have with Pascal’s Wager and other related “You should believe in God because if you don’t you’ll go to hell” arguments, besides the common criticisms, is that it’s not entirely voluntary whether or not you believe something.

    I could profess belief in God for the purposes of the wager, but that wouldn’t make me actually a believer. I would actually have to be convinced, by some means or other.

  146. #146 Bruce Ramsey
    August 8, 2007

    Any religion that preaches eternal hell, and a God of love who predestinates, usually loses members that use their minds. One thing that seperates the Bible from Quran, is that the Bible has scriptures in it that cast doubt on the duration of hell. There is a theme of Universal Salvation that runs through the Bible, from Joseph and his brother in Genesis to, leaves for the healing of the nations in Revelation. Such passages of hope, for all humans, are present IF you pay attention. But, you DON’T get such a feeling while reading the Quran. The Quran is consistent on hell.

  147. #147 Tobin Maker
    August 8, 2007

    This Scott Adams fellow might not be an atheist, but he’s certainly no Christian. His satanic talking dog images disgust me.

  148. #148 Kseniya
    August 8, 2007

    Pastor Maker, the talking dog is just the seductively wagging tip of the tail of the iceburg, so to speak. Mr. Adams presents a pseudo-demon – Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light – as a quasi-sympathetic character! Clearly, Mr. Adams is in need of remedial spiritual counsel.

  149. #149 phat
    August 8, 2007

    I’m 100% certain that Adams’s post is not funny.

    phat

  150. #150 Ricky Barnes
    August 8, 2007

    As I like to say to the “supernaturalists”, being a so-called “atheist” isn’t as much a lack of belief in a “god” or in the “supernatural” as much as it is a lack of agreement with the arguments for such by those who claim it. If it weren’t for spookheads running up to me and proclaiming their spooks – albeit with absolutely no convincing argument or evidence for their delusions – “spooks” really wouldn’t occur to me at all. You can’t have disbelief in something that doesn’t exist. On the other hand, I CAN disbelieve the delusions of the mentally disturbed.

  151. #151 Jeff
    August 8, 2007

    Scott Adams is a troll. Whether he’s a sociopath or just trying to stay in the spotlight is still up for discussion.

    In the meantime, don’t feed the trolls.

  152. #152 Ciz
    August 8, 2007

    This was my rebuttal to Scott’s original post…
    http://3poundmass.wordpress.com/2007/08/02/gosh-darn-you-to-heck-and-tarnation/

  153. #153 cak
    August 8, 2007

    He makes a fair point. If you run around saying god doesn’t exist, you are making the same mistake as someone who runs around saying he does. I think you all need to look at why you are so angry? In the past, it used to the intellectuals who were atheists. Now, we get the run of the mill moron jumping on the bandwagon. People who have spent less time thinking about god and out position in the universe as they have about the latest tech gadget, or latest celebrity weight loss/gain. Congratulations.

  154. #154 devolute
    August 8, 2007

    He’s a funny guy and comes up with some very insightful comic strips but remember; he’s just a cartoonist!

  155. #155 Annamal
    August 8, 2007

    “He makes a fair point. If you run around saying god doesn’t exist, you are making the same mistake as someone who runs around saying he does.”

    So Zeus, fact or fiction?
    FSM in his pastarific glory still a possibility?
    Tangaroa still controlling the oceans?
    Fairies at the bottom of your garden?
    Invisible pink unicorn hounding your steps?

    Ruling any of the above out puts you right square in the atheist camp.

  156. #156 Graculus
    August 8, 2007

    If you run around saying Tezcatlipoca doesn’t exist, you are making the same mistake as someone who runs around saying he does.

    If you run around saying Santa Claus doesn’t exist, you are making the same mistake as someone who runs around saying he does.

    If you run around saying Hastur the Unspeakable doesn’t exist, you are making the same mistake as someone who runs around saying he does.

    Yep, such a convincing “argument”.

  157. #157 Cheeto
    August 8, 2007

    I’m not sure who I hate more – Scott Adams, or his sheeple

  158. #158 Kseniya
    August 8, 2007

    Hastur the Unspeakable doesn’t exist

    *gaks*

    Okay, Mister Smartypants, then who delivers the candied pigs feet and cinnamon tripe to all the good little boys and girls on Hasturnalia? Who?

  159. #159 tony
    August 8, 2007

    candied pigs feet and cinnamon tripe

    Why you apostate, you!!!!

    True Believers? receive candied tripe and cinnamon pigs feet, and also jellied ears.

  160. #160 Bill
    August 8, 2007

    A fool has said in his heart there is no God.
    Because his heart tells him that is not true unless he is a fool.
    We are are all looking for truth unless we are a fool.

  161. #161 peanut
    August 8, 2007

    wow, someone please tell this is a really stupid joke? while i pity atheists, to each their own. but while you folks go around feeling ‘high and mighty’ how about trying ever once in awile to not bash everyone elses religeon. in fact, christians don’t as much talk smack about you as much as PRAY for you to evenutally accept God. And you don’t like having your beliefs bashed, do you? well, neither does anyone else.

  162. #162 John Marley
    August 8, 2007

    peanut:

    Your belief =/= our lack of belief

  163. #163 peanut
    August 8, 2007

    and one final word – your closest proof of God is – watch out, right in front of your nose. God, i believe,and so should you all, is the creator of all things. if that’s not true, than how have you and your surroundings have come into being? is it magic? some kind of mirror and smoke trickery? if one thinks that this sudden appearance is more pluasible than God, how can anyone believe you, let alone try not to laugh at you?

  164. #164 kemibe
    August 8, 2007

    “Someone responded to that with a comment that what Adams was doing was called trolling. Adams’ response to that: ‘There’s a word for it? Cool.’”

    He wasn’t being a troll at all; he was just saying that to get under people’s skin. Rankling people intentionally is pretty much all he does, and if he has written one unflammatory thing he actually believes, I’ve yet to see it.

    I know how irritating it is to read what seems to be a self-contradiction and wonder if it’s a joke or not, but you can trust me on this one. Maybe.

  165. #165 peanut
    August 8, 2007

    john marley:

    i already know that atheist don’t believe christians. what’s your point?

  166. #166 Tulse
    August 8, 2007

    If you run around saying Hastur the Unspeakable doesn’t exist, you are making the same mistake as someone who runs around saying he does.

    It’s a much bigger mistake to deny Hastur’s existence. All Hail the King in Yellow!

  167. #167 Bronze Dog
    August 8, 2007

    Hastur, Hastur, Hast-*GACK!*

  168. #168 tony
    August 8, 2007

    peanut: not bash everyone elses religeon

    Atheism is *not* a religion, so we can’t bash “everyone else’s religion”

    we can *bash* your delusions and beliefs. because our *understand* tells us that your *beliefs* are simply delusions.

    It’s no different to us than if you believe yourself to be Napoleon or Shakespeare… Just because those delusions are held by fewer people does not make your delusion any less *real*.

  169. #169 Rey Fox
    August 8, 2007

    “in fact, christians don’t as much talk smack about you as much as PRAY for you to evenutally accept God.”

    Christians talk “smack” about us all the time, the difference is that they seem completely unaware that they’re doing it. They’re rather unable to take it with the same ease that they dish it out. For example:

    “how about trying ever once in awile to not bash everyone elses religeon.”

    And then fifteen minutes later:

    “if one thinks that this sudden appearance is more pluasible than God, how can anyone believe you, let alone try not to laugh at you?”

    Apparently, they just can’t help it. *shrug*

  170. #170 Richard Hendricks
    August 8, 2007

    Pascal’s wager, if anything, is an argument for atheism. How?

    What if we look at the wager from the other side? What if there is no god, and every second spent in prayer is a second lost out of a finite, diminishing resource? A second that you will never see benefit from, and will never, ever get back? Christians always tout their god as a loving, forgiving god, so it’s likely that if you live a good, moral life you’ll get a pass into heaven anyways.

  171. #171 Sonja
    August 8, 2007

    Dear Mr. Adams,

    To understand what irony, sarcasm, and wit on the subject of religion/philosophy actually looks like, please review the above comments from the Pharyngula regulars.

    Sincerely,

  172. #172 archgoon
    August 8, 2007
  173. #173 frog
    August 8, 2007

    I simply can not believe this blasphemy! Statements supporting that unspeakable Hastur. Don’t you people understand that you are dooming our entire phylogenetic tree by believing in Hastur? There is a non-zero probability of Zogon being Lord, and his punishments are many times worse than Hastur’s.

    And by the way, he’ll give you rice krispies in the afterlife if you tithe 0.01% of your yearly income (please contact frog@frog.com for information on where to mail your checks).

  174. #174 H. Humbert
    August 8, 2007

    I really don’t understand why rolling our collective eyes at Adams and pointing out that the man is an idiot is confused with “taking offense” at or becoming “riled up” by his idiocy. Nor do I see how such charges could excuse his idiocy even if they were true.

  175. #175 Kseniya
    August 8, 2007

    But… but… If I were to deny Hastur, I’d surely spend an aimless eternity in Rueboggle-The-Innavigable! Surely the Zogonian Agonies cannot be worse than that!

  176. #176 tony
    August 8, 2007

    AFAIK (& I just finished a long and instructive chat with said gods) Zogon is perfectly OK if we don’t ‘worship’ him – he’d prefer us to *chastise* him – especially with “calf’s leather and clamps” (his words, not mine!)

    Hastur, on the other hand, said he’d prefer a “ball gag, but no latex, please”.

    As for the “agonies”, Zogon said “whatever rocks your boat is fine with him”, and if “agonies ain’t your bag” then you could “hang out in the bar”.

    hastur said “no bar – but we do have a nice cafe with some really tasty pastries”

    Thought you might like to know.
    ;)

  177. #177 Graculus
    August 8, 2007

    Okay, Mister Smartypants, then who delivers the candied pigs feet and cinnamon tripe to all the good little boys and girls on Hasturnalia? Who?

    The Gate Keeper, Nyarlethotep, of course. They are shipped fresh from the insane flautists workshop at the centre of the universe.

  178. #178 Scooter118
    August 8, 2007

    I don’t believe that stories from the book were meant to be taken 100% literally. Actually, history shows that many stories have been taylored to suit the moral behind them. I beleive that there was no snake or bearded prophet, however, I DO beleive that there was a reason for those stories. When a simple man and a very high brow man can get the same moral from a majority of the stories in most of the major religions… That is sort of miraculous. Do I beleive that we can define “God”… absolutely not. I do not beleive that it’s possible to fathom what is beyond our comprehension. Do I beleive that man is qualified to create “structure” based off of what they beleive the “creator” would like… even more rediculous. I do beleive in good and bad and our ability to recognize each… Different for everyone, of course… But still there. I beleive that good contains everything and bad is merely a blemish on good. That being said, there are also many things that are unexplainable that I beleive to be true because they are plausible. Sort of an “innocent until proven guilty” kind of thing. Precogniscence, aparations, meta-physical existance, dimensions beyond the third… etc. And, as a matter of fact, there’s not a whole heck of alot of religions that argue the existance of any of these things. I have a very impartial approach towards religion and my beleif is that they are all right and that it was supposed to be that way. Rediculous, maybe, but it makes much more sense that just one group being correct or no one being right but feverishly following something to make themselves feel better about death.

  179. #179 frog
    August 8, 2007

    Tony,

    Your heresies shall not stand. You must belong to the Free-Will Zogonic Church – a damnable collection of heretics and non-conformists. I (High Anuric Pope Ascaphidae the XXIII, channelled) excommunicated your cult during the Triassic period.

    Do not lead Kseniya astray. An eternity of toe licking is infinitely worse than Hastur’s promise of Rueboggle. Besides, as Zogon’s younger sib, you can’t believe anything he says! And the bar sucks, anyway – they only play the cure and serve foo-foo drinks.

    You can’t afford to lose Zogon’s Wager.

  180. #180 seeker
    August 8, 2007

    Nice outpouring of vitriol, derision, and insults when anyone dares to start a discussion on these things. Admittedly, some of Scott’s claims are not logically defendable, perhaps even wrong or superficial. But talk about poking a mad dog! Atheists are angry bastards sometimes. I guess that’s true of all ideologues, religious ones especially.

    Scott Adams is now officially deranged, brainless, lacking in mental capacity, a producer of absurdities and drivel, a professional troll, and perhaps even a (lapsed) Catholic.

    But only about a third to a half of the comments here are mocking ad hominems. I did, however, notice some trends among the critics:

    1. They seem to worship PZ Miers

    2. They fail to understand the difference between Scott’s open ponderings and authoritative doctrinal pronouncements of truth (which they seem to think Scott is doing)

    3. They fail to recognize or evaluate the differences between faith claims – that is, is something Jesus said more likely or believable than something the Flying Spaghetti Monster said? To them, all faith claims are equally unprovable, and so equally ridiculous. However, I disagree with this superficial and anti-intellectual approach, and discussed the idea of “proof” in this comment: http://www.twoorthree.net/2007/08/atheists-should.html#comment-78703598

    4. They fail to recognize that Scott is eminently successful, and could probably care less about the armchair critics who want to call him a loser because he exercises his freedom to lazily explore ideas.

    I think his willingness to ask heretical questions (heretical to the materialist atheists) is laudable. Darwinism, evolutionism, and modern scientism need to be taken down a peg due to their hubris, over-reaching, suppression of dissent, and lack of graciousness in discussion.

  181. #181 frog
    August 8, 2007

    Seeker, you are a real work, ain’t ya?

    Believe that the “Bible” is a historical document?

    Let’s see. It’s the end result of political editing of over a millenium. The NT portion has no significant attestation before the fourth century – in the preceding centuries, all we have are scraps. We have many, many, many different versions of those events (the whole series of non-canonical gospels, which good Christians attempted to destroy). We know that competing churches had significantly different versions of the canonical gospels (Luke in particular, as per the the conflict in the Roman church between Iraneus and Marcion).

    The Bible is about as historical as Lysenkoism is biology, and any one who would claim otherwise is either ignorant, a fool, or a liar. Which are you?

    So, who is guilty of suppression of dissent? Who over-reaches? And why should we be gracious in discussions with known liars, con artists, immoral criminals and plagarists?

    Off to Zogon with you “Seeker”!

  182. #182 reboho
    August 8, 2007

    seeker,

    You didn’t come here for a discussion, you came here for an argument. I think you should sign up for the course of 10. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Given that even you thought Scott’s posting was not logical, what are you really upset about? Scott makes foolish blog posts, PZ calls him on it and PZ is the bad guy. Those who read this blog regularly jump on the worshipers of Scott Adams who just happen to drive-by and dump a load of crap that must be well reasoned and insightful because, well, just because. You honestly think you’re the first to come by, say what’s on your mind (and from the looks of your post it was probably a substantial portion of your mind) and make anyone here anything other than annoyed? Oh wait, irony! I get it.

    Just a few thoughts on your, um, well, thoughts:

    1) Boy, is the author of this blog going to mad! All this time he thought they were worshiping him(PZ Myers). (Really, what are you saying? You probably just stopped by to throw a dart or two and worship was all you could come up with? Really?)

    2) Now who’s worshiping? Shouldn’t you be doing that in his blog or does he come over here to look for love?

    3) Faith-claims and “superficial and anti-intellectual”? Did you read what you wrote before you hit “POST”? Faith is in opposition to reason. And even if we give you the benefit of the doubt, your “proof” comes from the Bible. So in order to be convinced by your argument that the Jesus faith-claims are superior to the FSM faith-claims, I need to go to the book that contains those faith-claims and it will tell me that it’s faith-claims are superior. Don’t really see how a circular reference constitutes a intellectual proof of anything. Your faith informs you of the truth of the faith-claims.

    4) John Travolta and Tom Cruise are successful, maybe we should be Scientologists? Sometimes better to be thought a fool than to blog and prove it. Scott is doing a little more than lazily exploring ideas and you know it.

    So because Scott Adams is doing a bit of navel-gazing, science needs to be humbled? You do know why they call it Pascal’s wager and when he was alive? Many before Scott and many after will think they had an original thought about the existence of a mythological being and will marvel at their own wisdom.

    Hopefully you know the definition of hubris and then could help to explain how it applies here. Just because you don’t understand evolution, Darwin or science in general doesn’t mean that others don’t. And there is nothing wrong with you not understanding it either. But to use the hubris when you don’t understand anything you’re talking about is in fact the definition of hubris. It also seems to me that your dissent was not suppressed. I read you torrent of illogic without incident.

  183. #183 windy
    August 8, 2007

    Peanut wrote:

    God, i believe,and so should you all, is the creator of all things. if that’s not true, than how have you and your surroundings have come into being? is it magic? some kind of mirror and smoke trickery? if one thinks that this sudden appearance is more pluasible than God, how can anyone believe you, let alone try not to laugh at you?

    I came into being the usual way through gamete fusion and a nine month incubation in the womb. That doesn’t sound like a sudden appearance to me. I suppose you were created in your present form by God?

  184. #184 Kseniya
    August 8, 2007

    Do not lead Kseniya astray

    Uhh… Yeah! Don’t do that! There’s already a non-zero probability of me winding up spending eternity encased in dessicated Jell-O. Lime. With embedded fruit cocktail blocking my view of the tapioca-and-tripeworks.

    And we can’t have that.

  185. #185 Shawn
    August 8, 2007

    Umm, don’t be so quick to condemn (or quite so arrogant about it).

    “Atheists do not claim 100% certainty, . We prefer to point to the lack of evidence for religion”

    First off, let’s look at the dictionary for a moment (a novel idea for such a brilliant readership). According to m-w.com:

    atheiest: one who believes that there is no deity

    agnostic: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable

    You might want to take a break from philosophy and read the dictionary. You are not even using the terms correctly!

    It is very interesting how many athiests preach their point of view with all the fervor of the southern evangelical Christian. The only truly ‘scientific’ point of view is that of being an agnostic. Believing you can prove it does not exist is just as ‘irrational’ as believing you can.

    Sorry, not impressed with your brillliance or wit. (go ahead, comment on my spelling, I dare you…)

  186. #186 PZ Myers
    August 8, 2007

    OK, your spelling sucks. It’s rather amazing that someone who makes that lame recourse to a dictionary definition still manages to spell “atheist” three different ways.

    Your definition doesn’t help you, either. I believe there is no deity. That does not mean I am 100% sure there is no deity.

  187. #187 MAJeff
    August 8, 2007

    It’s kind of sad to see someone attempt the dictionary gambit, and fail so miserably.

  188. #188 Caledonian
    August 8, 2007

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have an intelligent person defend theism, just for a change?

  189. #189 Redf
    August 8, 2007

    thalarctos: Ok now you agree with me that anything can happen. Yeah well guess that is true but unlikely as you said.

  190. #190 thalarctos
    August 8, 2007

    Ok now you agree with me that anything can happen.

    The way you’ve stated it is too open-ended and vague. I can’t tell what you mean: if by “anything” you mean “anything physically possible”; we agree.

    On the other hand, if you mean “anything I can imagine”, then no, my imagination far outpaces what is possible.

    So until you are more clear about what you mean, I’d have to provisionally go with no, I don’t agree with you at all.

  191. #191 Redf
    August 9, 2007

    Ok just becuase you can’t get over yourself for one second thinking everyone is dumb who believes in God. Thank for talking about the words I say for some reason. What does it matter. Yeah you did get what I meant. Why don’t you agree with anything I said?

  192. #192 Redf
    August 9, 2007

    I guess you and tony are best buds now

  193. #193 thalarctos
    August 9, 2007

    Ok just becuase you can’t get over yourself for one second thinking everyone is dumb who believes in God.

    Huh? I’m not sure what that means, but I don’t think Scott or Ed or Pim or Kseniya is dumb.

    Thank for talking about the words I say for some reason. What does it matter. Yeah you did get what I meant. Why don’t you agree with anything I said?

    Because I don’t know what you mean by “anything”. Like I said, if you mean “anything that I can imagine”–as I suspect you mean, based on your previous arguments–then I don’t agree that that is possible, because I can imagine so much more than is possible.

    If, on the other hand, you meant “anything physically possible”, then I would agree with you. But until you clarify what you mean, I can’t just write a blank check and say yes, I agree with you.

    I guess you and tony are best buds now

    Again: huh? Did I miss the part where we all time-traveled back to high school or something?

  194. #194 thalarctos
    August 9, 2007

    and of course, if I have guessed or inferred wrongly about what anyone I referred to believes or doesn’t believe, I apologize for my misunderstanding. I’m not trying to pin anyone down to anything, but just to give counterexamples to an attitude I’m accused of having.

  195. #195 Redf
    August 9, 2007

    Alright fair enough. You did get what i meant by anything though. When you say physically possible. I understand the difference between literally anything and then physically anything.

    “because I can imagine so much more than is possible.” Give me an example of something that is more than possible.

  196. #196 uriel
    August 9, 2007

    In all the rush to score cheap debate points, this comment thread is turning into nothing more than a stream of really insipid and easily ridiculed rhetorical drivel.

    Since a number of posters are either too dense or to egomaniacal to actually bother with such a simple thing as mind-numbingly obvious reality, let me just spell it out for you-

    Azathoth is the one you don’t want to piss off.

    Those other guys are just a bunch of multi-dimensional wankers and moderately powerful panspermist wannabes.

    I mean, come on- remember the “monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space” anyone? Ruler of the Outer gods? That hungrily gnawing fellow outside of time while mindless and gigantic deities _orbit_ his ass? The chap who just happens to rule all time and space?

    Really, this isn’t hard people. Playing fast and loose with the xtian theology is one thing- but Hastur? please. Might as well start addressing your Christmas list to that retarded elf who sits in the corner all day making lincoln logs.

    And don’t even start with that tentacle headed jello mold…

  197. #197 thalarctos
    August 9, 2007

    Give me an example of something that is more than possible.

    My plan to never die, for one thing.

  198. #198 Redf
    August 9, 2007

    Your particles will move on to something else or like going to heaven? Or Something else that I would not understand?

  199. #199 Kseniya
    August 9, 2007

    Might as well start addressing your Christmas list to that retarded elf who sits in the corner all day making lincoln logs

    Hmmph. I’ll have you know, that elf is “other-abled”.

    As for Azathoth… I will heed your warning as best I can, but Hastur already has my Social Security number. Darn it. Darn it all to heck!

    If I may butt in on Thalarctos and Redf, let me just say that I can imagine my computer’s mouse turning into a white dove, teleporting through the wall into the outside air and then performing Verklärte Nacht on a half-dozen chromatic harmonicas at once while flying repeatedly around the house in an elongated oval path at half the speed of sound – a maneuver which would impart an intriguing Doppler effect to the piece which is totally missing from recordings the original orchestration for string sextet.

    I can imagine that, but I don’t think it’s within the realm of possibility.

    Disclaimer: I sincerely hope my imaginings will not trigger any phobias people may have of birds or post-Wagnerian tonalities, or motivate any of you to have me pink-slipped.

  200. #200 Kseniya
    August 9, 2007

    On a more serious note, maybe I should be a little more specific about my beliefs; while I don’t think they are particularly important to what we talk about here, I don’t think there’s any reason to perpetuate any mysteries or misconceptions about them.

    I was raised Christian. I see no evidence for god(s), though I admit the possibility. I am pretty much done with the Christian God and the Divinity of Christ and the Trinity and all that stuff, but a little voice in my head does say, “C’mon, you don’t absolutely know it’s not true – what if it is?!”

    Likewise, I am not much for prayer, but things very much like prayers pass through my mind unbidden from time to time, things like “Please keep my brother safe” and “Please help Kate with her thyroid cancer.” My concern for these people invokes a latent theistic program that’s still installed in my mind, I guess. The things we are taught and which we unquestioningly accept as true when we are very young are not easily discarded.

    As I said on another thread, I don’t self-identify as “atheist”, for while on the rational level I am atheistic, some stuff does go on in my head that isn’t fully consistent with atheism. My beliefs are transforming – into what, I am not sure. I will trust the process to lead me where I need to go. I’m not going to pretend that I have (or should have) all this figured out at my age.

  201. #201 Graculus
    August 9, 2007

    if one thinks that this sudden appearance is more pluasible than God, how can anyone believe you, let alone try not to laugh at you?

    And “Magic Man did it” is plausible? Pull the other one.

  202. #202 uriel
    August 9, 2007

    I can imagine that, but I don’t think it’s within the realm of possibility.

    More’s the pity.

    I mean, if I was the omnipotent designer of all, I’d damn well have that sort of thing happen all the time. It would be an essential stage in the development of the common dove.

    Of course, my universe would mostly resemble a marriage of “The Yellow Submarine” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” With a heavy emphasis on beneficent Apple-bonkers enforcing the rules of common courtesy- like “no spitting” and “wear a damn shirt in public.”

    Ahhhh, if only I were an Intelligent Designer….

    As I said on another thread, I don’t self-identify as “atheist”, for while on the rational level I am atheistic, some stuff does go on in my head that isn’t fully consistent with atheism.

    Nicely put. (I mean the whole post.) And yeah, I do that too, from time to time. I’m not sure if its a hold-over from my youth, or just an occasional desire to be wrong about that whole “something greater than I.” I guess, even though I can rationally reject the argument, there’s still a part of me that’s wants to roll Pascal’s dice on occasion.

    Although, generally my psuedo-prayers run more along a overly familiar, vaguely antagonistic, Dr. Coxian vein- a “I know you say you love us all equally. But you don’t, do ya?” kind of thing. So, in the end, I guess I’m equally boned either way.

  203. #203 Samantha Vimes
    August 9, 2007

    “If you run around saying Hastur the Unspeakable doesn’t exist, you are making the same mistake as someone who runs around saying he does.”

    Well, no, a different mistake. Because if you believed in Hastur the Unspeakable, you’d have to be incredibly stupid to run around saying anything with his name in it. OTOH, if you don’t believe, you might be mistaken, but you wouldn’t actively be courting getting carried off by monsters you believe in.
    Now, Cthulu, Azathoth, and Nyarlhotep, you can mention as often as you like. I don’t know why Hastur’s so touchy. Maybe he’s related to Voldemort.

  204. #204 Peter Thomas
    August 9, 2007

    To me it looks like you “true atheists” think that you are smarter than Scott Adams. Maybe he in turn thinks he is smarter than you but he certainly does not act so snobbish about it.

    I personally think that through his non-Dilbert content he does a great job making me think. I would say that he’s done much more for – “Atheism” (I prefer the term “Anti-Religion-ism”) than you guys can ever hope to do in your lifetimes. For example I honestly feel the turning point for me in my gradual transition away from being a believer in my original religion + God – was after reading his books “God’s Debris” and “The Religion War”.

    So take that – those of you here who are evidently frothing at the mouth and attacking Scott with “religious” zeal :)

    Yes I am supporting Scott, and I will say in parting that after reading the kind of attitude on this blog, it reminds me of a lot of other closed-mentality environments that I try to avoid. Scott’s blog is funny, thought provoking and entertaining. I subscribed a year back and I read it regularly.

    Have a good day pharyngula guys!

  205. #205 Steve_C
    August 9, 2007

    Blah blah blah.

    Jesus christ on a stick.

    It’s ANTITHEISM. Not “Antireligionism”.

  206. #206 Bronze Dog
    August 9, 2007

    Peter, if you bothered paying attention to what you’re typing, you’d realize you’re doing everything you can to escape the thoughts we’ve posted so that you can remain in your closed environment: Adams is posting stale, unoriginal, century-old thoughts. Creationists post many of the exact same arguments.

    It’s kind of hard for me to ascribe such things as “makes you think” because the people who post these things show a great deal of thoughtlessness. They reject expanding the thoughts like we all did when we were kids.

    Why don’t you try actually breaking out of your sheltered existence and respond to what we type, rather than flat rejecting thoughts on the matter?

    Pascal’s Wager strikes me about as intellectual as “Dude! The thermos keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold! Like, how does it know, man?”

  207. #207 Kseniya
    August 9, 2007

    Ah, the Bronze Dog is right on. I always enjoyed Dilbert and have a resulting fondness for Scott Adams, but if he exhibits a tendency to post shallow, insipid pieces on important topics – and he has – why should he not be criticised? Even it the critcism pains me on some level, it’s not wrong.

    I don’t know why Hastur’s so touchy.

    I wish I knew, for I fear an eternity wandering the labyrinthine cobbles of Rueboggle-The-Innavigable.

    .  * I quake, etc. * .

    Uriel:

    So, in the end, I guess I’m equally boned either way.

    What an evil, evil remark. All I can offer in response is this: Equally boned? But bilateral symmetry in a hominids is good! :-)

    I’m not sure if its a hold-over from my youth, or just an occasional desire to be wrong about that whole “something greater than I.” I guess, even though I can rationally reject the argument, there’s still a part of me that’s wants to roll Pascal’s dice on occasion.

    Yes indeed, I hear you, brother.

    I figure (in my case, anyway) it may be some of both: the result of indoctrination, and maybe an innate predisposition to Belief. Time will reveal the viability of the latter.

    This does speak to the power of early indoctrination, though. Neither of my parents were/are particularly devout; we attended (spottily) one of those liberal protestant churches that is as much a social group as a religious group. My mother, at the time of her death, was possibly more a Deist than a Christian, but perhaps we could call her a Christian in the sense that Thomas Jefferson called himself one. My father never seemed comfortable in church or around godliness; I’ve seen him decline to recite the Nicean Creed on many occassions (as have I) and now he never attends church at all (nor do I), though he has involved himself in Katrina-relief and other fundraising efforts there (as have I).

    My brothers skips the services now, too, but the younger still goes to the Sunday evening youth group because he has friends there and because the assistant pastor who oversees the group is a really nice guy, and very cool – a former punker with tats and piercings, LOL. I’m sure some here would argue that the likeable cool-guy pastor type is “part of the problem” – a notion with which I would not completely disagree, though I am personally quite fond of this man.

    None of this is black and white or plainly simple for me these days. Even a simple statement like “I just don’t buy it anymore” comes with qualifiers. Sigh.

  208. #208 Peter Thomas
    August 10, 2007

    Peter, if you bothered paying attention to what you’re typing, you’d realize you’re doing everything you can to escape the thoughts we’ve posted so that you can remain in your closed environment: Adams is posting stale, unoriginal, century-old thoughts. Creationists post many of the exact same arguments.

    It’s kind of hard for me to ascribe such things as “makes you think” because the people who post these things show a great deal of thoughtlessness. They reject expanding the thoughts like we all did when we were kids.

    Why don’t you try actually breaking out of your sheltered existence and respond to what we type, rather than flat rejecting thoughts on the matter?

    Amen to that. I never made any assertions that Scott is 100% right but hey, look at the pitchforks :) In fact I personally feel sometimes that this Scott Adams cartoonist character is just toying with his readers minds. From the comments on his blog, I’m sure that a majority of his audience thinks likewise.

    But you are certainly entitled to your opinion that “I’m doing everything I can to escape the thoughts” and that I am “thoughtless”.

    I have to say that it is indeed entertaining to watch you guys react like all true atheists on earth have been morally “wronged” somehow because some cartoonist dared to declare that they may be wrong. Heh.

    It boils down to that you firmly believe that Scott Adams is a “wanker” and posts “stale, unoriginal, century-old thoughts”. Let’s just agree to disagree on that. Peace.

  209. #209 uriel
    August 10, 2007

    Now, Cthulu, Azathoth, and Nyarlhotep, you can mention as often as you like. I don’t know why Hastur’s so touchy.

    Arrrrrrrrgh! No, ne, non, NYET!

    Exactly what part of this:

    “the boundless daemon-sultan Azathoth, _whose_name _no_lips_dare_speak_aloud”

    is unclear?

    Do you even try to understand the subtler points of the religions you so blithely reject?

    All I can say is, keep speaking his name with your lips- let’s just see what that gets you.

    Just don’t do it around me.

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