Pharyngula

We are amused

i-dd07519707261b81f83dc7ec8a7ef5e8-laughing.jpeg

Comments

  1. #1 Moses
    December 6, 2008

    Very true.

  2. #2 Kel
    December 6, 2008

    Yep, that’s the way it goes

  3. #3 Nerd of Redhead
    December 6, 2008

    Great find! Where have we heard that before?

  4. #4 Scaurus
    December 6, 2008

    Gosh, atheists are getting less original by the day. I am now at a point at which I’d rather call myself a non-ist rather than an atheist, as my ‘brothers’ seem to have lost all humor and nuance in dealing with religion and its adherents.

    Furthermore, I cannot understand why people like hanging out here. Getting informed on the latest issues in biology and disbelief is enriching, but P.Z. Myers hasn’t brought up anything other than commands to crash a poll or rants against religion. Also, there are way too many atheists here: homogenity is the death of all progress.

    Beeeh.

  5. #5 Michael.hawkins
    December 6, 2008

    Granted, belief in gods deserves no respect because it is pure faith, but I think it may be a bit crass to suggest we should be laughing in each others’ faces. We can disagree, but we should disagree in harmony.

  6. #6 Scaurus
    December 6, 2008

    Seriously, these cartoons have been around on the Internet ever since Nietzsche wrote that God is dead. It has stopped being funny.

  7. #7 Rey Fox
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus is not amused.

  8. #8 PZ Myers
    December 6, 2008

    I am also amused because Scaurus has now put more effort into complaining about the cartoon than I did in cutting and pasting it into a blog post.

  9. #9 Nerd of Redhead
    December 6, 2008

    Cue the sad violin music for Scaurus, the concern troll.

  10. #10 Wowbagger
    December 6, 2008

    There you go, Scaurus – PZ himself has noted your concern. As have we all.

  11. #11 LisaJ
    December 6, 2008

    Parfait. I agree PZ, Scaurus just made this post all the more hilarious!

  12. #12 Scaurus
    December 6, 2008

    @PZ
    True. Stop wasting my time with your weblog :P

    Anyway, I find it somewhat ridiculous and at the same time disappointing that many atheists do not seem to be able to simply laugh at believers, turn their backs and get on with their lives. They are stuck in trenches throwing handgrenades at the other soldiers stuck in trenches.

  13. #13 Nerd of Redhead
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus, we all go about this our own way. If you like yours, do it. You have posted your opinion and we read it. We don’t have to agree with it. Personally, I’m not going to agree with you, but I only speak for myself.

  14. #14 Wowbagger
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus, please. Your concern has been noted.

  15. #15 Scaurus
    December 6, 2008

    I rarely agree with PZ, but I do find it interesting to read his blog. I see many differences between the way Americans ‘profess’ their atheism and the way Dutch people do. The latter have been fully accepted in society: we had our first atheist prime minister in 1948. A socialist, but one cannot have it all. You American atheists are not unlike the African-Americans in the 1960s. You have to fight for your right not to belief. Though I am opposed to the liberal attitude among many American atheists, I admire their efforts in making atheists an accepted ‘minority’ in their society.

  16. #16 Rev. bigDumbChimp, KoT
    December 6, 2008

    Anyway, I find it somewhat ridiculous and at the same time disappointing that many atheists do not seem to be able to simply laugh at believers, turn their backs and get on with their lives. They are stuck in trenches throwing handgrenades at the other soldiers stuck in trenches.

    I would gladly do that if the religious and wooists and other believers of magical hand waving idiocy would stop trying to cram their crazed beliefs into everything we as humans do.

  17. #17 ThinkingApe
    December 6, 2008

    Hahaha. Holy shit, that is totally my Sister-in-Law. She came to Vietnam (where my wife’s from) for our wedding and thought the shrines with fruit and Buddha statues were hilarious. “I wonder if they know their statues can’t eat, hurhurhur”. Then we’d see some old Cham ruins, “Hahaha, as if they beleived in Ganesh, hahaha…elephant head…snicker…”

    Then, in all seriousness, she’ll start talking about how there’s more evidence of the literal resurection of Christ than evolution, or talk about being oppressed by non-believers.

    Ah, I love her though…

  18. #18 DeeMonkey999
    December 6, 2008

    Where is Nietzsche’s blog on the internet? I want to subscribe. I bet it is super.

  19. #19 Scaurus
    December 6, 2008

    Nietzsche went mad some years ago. Search for the archive in your local library.

  20. #20 Ploon
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus,

    Obviously you haven’t been following this blog very long, or the words “culture wars” might have some meaning to you. What happens to atheists in the US is very far removed from the Dutch situation (even though we currently have a fundamentalist evangelical Christian “minister of family affairs”). Empathy, it’s a great thing, you should try it some time. So please, hou op met je gezeik before you make all Dutch people look bad.

  21. #21 Wowbagger
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus,

    If you don’t like in the US then you mightn’t understand that it’s not the same as in Europe, or even here in Australia where I live. PZ and the US regulars are frequently told by politicians, tv/radio pundits and people in other media that they are, at best, worthless, second-class citizens – and, at worst, evil anti-americans compared to theists. If I had to put up with that I’d be a lot more vocal about my atheism than I am.

  22. #22 Andrés Diplotti
    December 6, 2008

    Holy ravioli! I’ve been pharyngulated!

    * Does the happy dance. *

  23. #23 John Morales
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus, you don’t find the cartoon droll? I do (it’s funny because it’s true), and am amused.

    As to your opinion in #12, you’re indulging in a hasty generalisation.

    Finally, your posts at #12 and #15 seem contradictory.

  24. #24 Wowbagger
    December 6, 2008

    Er, the opening sentence in my post at #21 should read ‘If you don’t live in the US…’ – apologies.

  25. #25 Carlie
    December 6, 2008

    (points) Scaurus! Ha ha ha!

    Just trying to keep the theme of the comic.

  26. #26 SC
    December 6, 2008

    Congratulations, Andrés! How nice to see a regular commenter featured!

  27. #27 'Tis Himself
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus #15

    I see many differences between the way Americans ‘profess’ their atheism and the way Dutch people do. The latter have been fully accepted in society: we had our first atheist prime minister in 1948. A socialist, but one cannot have it all.

    Congratulations to the Dutch. Too bad the US isn’t so advanced, including having a socialist as head of government.

    You American atheists are not unlike the African-Americans in the 1960s. You have to fight for your right not to belief.

    A reasonable analogy.

    Though I am opposed to the liberal attitude among many American atheists, I admire their efforts in making atheists an accepted ‘minority’ in their society.

    Missing Florentine Rost van Tonningen are you?

  28. #28 iain
    December 6, 2008

    It has become obvious that all atheists should have beards ;)

  29. #29 Brad D
    December 6, 2008

    Do Goatees count? I can’t really grow much of the rest.

  30. #30 gsenski
    December 6, 2008

    iain #28

    I tell ya, PZ is becoming a trend setter. Wont be long before we see him in the gossip magazines partying with Paris Hilton.

  31. #31 Red Deer
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus in post #4

    Furthermore, I cannot understand why people like hanging out here.

    Scaurus in post #15

    I rarely agree with PZ, but I do find it interesting to read his blog.

    Pwned hisself.

  32. #32 Rey Fox
    December 6, 2008

    I can barely even manage scraggly neck stubble. And one hairy mole on my left cheek. I’ll be hanging onto my Schick, thank you.

  33. #33 Jimminy Christmas
    December 6, 2008

    . Too bad the US isn’t so advanced, including having a socialist as head of government.

    Well if you listen to the talking heads on Fox News, talk radio, et al, then on January 20th, 2009 we will. hah hah hah.

  34. #34 GeoffI
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus: sorry but your english really sucks.

    I had this argument with my mother who thinks religion should be respected. I emailed her this cartoon.

    I love my mum, but that should shut her up.

  35. #35 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus: sorry but your english really sucks.

    How’s your Dutch?

  36. #36 Rey Fox
    December 6, 2008

    “Well if you listen to the talking heads on Fox News, talk radio, et al, then on January 20th, 2009 we will. hah hah hah. ”

    I suppose Obama really ought to start building the gulags then. We’d hate for the punditards to be disappointed.

  37. #37 JStein
    December 6, 2008

    This is great. Thanks for the saturday afternoon humor.

  38. #38 currie jean
    December 6, 2008

    zomg, it’s Dana Scully! :O

  39. #39 Geoff
    December 6, 2008

    How’s your Dutch?

    Worse than his english, but you don’t see me posting in dutch forums and beside the point.

  40. #40 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 6, 2008

    Not really, you brought it up the language thing. I’m lucky to even be speaking half intelligible english. I can’t do languages for shit. If someone can and chooses to converse with those that don’t speak his native tongue, good for him.

    Seems petty to be critical it.

  41. #41 Matt7895
    December 6, 2008

    Good catch, PZ. I just put it up on my Facebook page, I wonder if any of my theistic friends will comment.

  42. #42 Geoff
    December 6, 2008

    Seems petty to be critical it.

    You are right. I’m being petty.

    His english still sucks.

  43. #43 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 6, 2008

    You are right. I’m being petty.

    His english still sucks.

    alright then

  44. #44 John Morales
    December 6, 2008

    Geoff,

    Scaurus: sorry but your english really sucks.

    Strangely, though I find Scaurus’ stated opinions odd and contradictory, I think they’re expressed in impeccable colloquial English.

    PS I doubt this cartoon will “shut [your mother] up”.

  45. #45 nanu nanu
    December 6, 2008

    currie jean #38:
    “zomg, it’s Dana Scully! :O”

    I lol’d

    I did always find it odd that the christian was the skeptical one on that show.

    Was anyone else bothered by that?

  46. #46 SC
    December 6, 2008

    His english still sucks.

    Says the person who composed this beaut:

    Worse than his english, but you don’t see me posting in dutch forums and beside the point.

  47. #47 notedscholars@yahoo.com
    December 6, 2008

    I don’t think good arguments could be constructed in support of the insinuated analogy between the elements that the comic describes.

    NS
    http://sciencedefeated.wordpress.com/

  48. #48 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 6, 2008

    I don’t think good arguments could be constructed in support of the insinuated analogy between the elements that the comic describes.

    how so?

  49. #49 Jadehawk
    December 6, 2008

    It has become obvious that all atheists should have beards ;)

    but… but… I’m neither a dwarf, nor have I entered menopause*!!! That’s not fair!!!

    *that being the only two instances in which I might be able to grow one.

  50. #50 John Morales
    December 6, 2008

    Jadehawk @49, that’s “have”, not “grow”. Besides, on the Intertubes you can have a virtual beard…

  51. #51 Teleprompter
    December 6, 2008

    @ Scaurus #4, #15

    Some atheists seem to have “lost all humor and nuance”? What??? You’re the one complaining about our jokes. Really…I think the one who has lost his appreciation for humor is you.

    Also, you have no right to complain about the behavior of American atheists, since you have never been an atheist in America.

    Yes, you are correct that we have to stand up for our rights. And it’s also a great relief to be able to laugh about it along with people who (usually) won’t judge us (which is why a lot of us enjoy hanging around this blog).

    Atheists are not an accepted minority in much (if not most) of America, so thanks for your encouragement.

  52. #52 pcarini
    December 6, 2008

    NS @ #47:

    I don’t think good arguments could be constructed in support of the insinuated analogy between the elements that the comic describes.

    You’re right, of course: The woman in the top three frames is pointing with her right hand, the man in the bottom one is pointing with his left. Analogy totally blown…

  53. #53 'Tis Himself
    December 6, 2008

    Fortunately for me, I have a beard. Unfortunately, my atheist daughter remains beardless. I must speak to her about this lack.

  54. #54 geoff
    December 6, 2008

    Says the person who composed this beaut:

    Worse than his english, but you don’t see me posting in dutch forums and beside the point.

    Beer!

  55. #55 Geoff
    December 6, 2008

    This would be the beer in question:

    http://www.eurobrews.com/bahhumbug/bah.htm

  56. #56 negentropyeater
    December 6, 2008

    #51

    This is a bit strange :

    Also, you have no right to complain about the behavior of American atheists, since you have never been an atheist in America.

    “you have no right to complain about the behavior of Creationists, since you have never been a Creationist”, or variation thereof.

  57. #57 Emily
    December 6, 2008

    To be fair, that comic could be drawn with any of the other religious/paranormal believers in place of the Christian.

  58. #58 clinteas
    December 6, 2008

    Of course one could argue whats worse,a country full of braindead christo-zombies,or a country full of…..dutch.

    Furthermore, I cannot understand why people like hanging out here.

    Feel free to leave.

    Gosh, atheists are getting less original by the day

    Feel free to leave.

  59. #59 SC
    December 6, 2008

    Completely OT, but…

    Q: What do you call a factory occupation in Chicago?

    A: A good start!

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=6407451

  60. #60 Lago
    December 6, 2008

    Unlike here, I used to post in depth at Spymac. I had a lot of friends there, and many enemies. The guy that hated me the most was a Canadian that actually threatened Spymac with getting the Canadian Government after them for hate crimes because they let me post.

    The funny thing was, it was not what I said about the guys religion (he was “Christian” though he would not say what denomination), however, it was the fact that, after he claimed we did not have the right to belittle his religion, I caught him belittling Mormonism, as well as a few other religions. He then tried to explain to me they were not true Christians, and he tried quoting, I kid you not, “Christian expects,” as to why Mormons were not “True” Christians. It was only after I went into detail as to why he was a hypocrite, that he went off on me and tried to get the Canadian Mounted Police, or something, after me.

    In reality, few religious people that claim they want tolerance, want tolerance for anything more than themselves…

  61. #61 Teleprompter
    December 6, 2008

    @ negentropyeater #56

    Whoa…that is not what I meant.

    If Creationists were marginalized as immoral, second-class citizens, that analogy of yours would be totally appropriate. However, they are not.

    I made that statement in light of the comparison between the Civil Rights movement and the struggles of atheists in America. I think you took my ideas out of context…I’d suggest you go back and reread the discussion.

  62. #62 John Morales
    December 6, 2008

    Teleprompter @61, I just re-read your comment. If you don’t mean “you’ve not experienced what I’ve experienced”, then what do you mean by Scaurus not having a right to complain? If you do, then could you explain how that denies that right?

    I think negentropyeater got it right.

  63. #63 clinteas
    December 6, 2008

    I have no doubt that Neg got it right !
    It was a silly thing to say.

  64. #64 Insightful Ape
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus, I would caution you strongly against complacency. In your country, Muslim children have their separate schooling, and the tax payers foot the bill. I hope I am wrong, but you may have some very serious problems in the future, and what happened to Van Gogh may only have heralded what is to come.
    In his defense, PZ’s blog is meant for a US audience. I am not surprised that the atheist sign story from Olympia doesn’t mean much to him-but I don’t appreciate the complaints. We have enough creationist trolls, no atheist ones needed.

  65. #65 Kuki
    December 6, 2008

    I may not agree with Scaurus’ ideas, but I do think his English is pretty good. I enjoy reading this blog as there aren’t so many Japanese-language blogs dedicated to these particular topics (atheism, science, etc.) and I find PZ’s blog to be a useful resource. I know my English sucks, though, does that mean I should stay away from commenting here?

    A bit off-putting, really.

  66. #66 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 6, 2008

    A bit off-putting, really.

    I agree.

  67. #67 Teleprompter
    December 6, 2008

    Okay, I imagine that I have some explaining to do.

    Yes, John Morales is essentially correct. I was frustrated with negentropyeater’s lambastment of American atheists, and I felt compelled to say something in response. I have to admit, that wasn’t the best thing I could’ve said.

    I still believe that it was silly for negentropyeater to say what he said; now, my comments weren’t exactly the most appropriate, either. I believe that he is wrong; I also believe that I am wrong. So it goes.

    The only way I can defend my comments is by once again re-emphasizing that what I said was in the context of a comparison between the civil rights movement and the problems of American atheists. That may not add any validity to what I said, but now you may understand why I said what I did, instead of casually dismissing it.

    Yes, the “you’ve not experienced what I’ve experienced” argument that I used is not something I would say again in this context. It’s a weak argument, yes. I realize that now. However, it’s like this: negentropyeater was basically insulting American atheists. I rebuked him for insulting us when he has no idea what he’s talking about. Is that intrinsically flawed?

    I generally try to rebuke people who don’t know what they’re talking about, and I see the “you’ve not experienced what I’ve experienced” argument as a weak but logical counter-point. Going back to the original creationist analogy, yes, it would help to know something about creationism before insulting creationists. Likewise, it would be helpful to know something about American atheists before unnecessarily criticizing us.

    Scaurus had no right to complain because he knew nothing about atheism in America. It would foolhardy for me to criticize creationists if I knew nothing about creationism in America, or anywhere else. Knowing little or nothing about the subject which one is referring to certainly does not take away one’s right to comment on it, but it does put a bit of a damper on it.

  68. #68 Teleprompter
    December 6, 2008

    I’m so sorry, I meant Scaurus.

    I apologize for the confusion I may have caused.

  69. #69 Geoff
    December 6, 2008

    I know my English sucks, though, does that mean I should stay away from commenting here?

    Your english does not suck.

  70. #70 Aquaria
    December 6, 2008

    Maybe Scaurus would feel more comfortable with the Matt Nisbett blog? Someone have the link for him? I’m sure that would be much more his cuppa!

    In fact, I think from now on, I’ll refer all people with such grievous concerns about the “tone” of this site, whether it be “mean” or “angry” or “militant,” to the Nitwit blog.

    I’m sure they’ll be much happier there.

  71. #71 Aquaria
    December 6, 2008

    Tele: I got what you were trying to say, even it it came out kind of mangled.

  72. #72 John Morales
    December 6, 2008

    Teleprompter @67, no worries. Remember a lot of commenters aren’t from the USA (I’m not) and also haven’t experienced its milieu; your sentiment is I think appropriate but was badly expressed.

  73. #73 Teleprompter
    December 6, 2008

    On the other hand, I would feel sad if people like Scaurus left Pharyngula just because some people disagree. I like when people disagree — no matter how angry I may sound at the time, haha.

    I want to maintain some kind of variety, and things just get dull.

  74. #74 becca
    December 6, 2008

    WHY IS THE ATHEIST ALWAYS A DUDE!?!
    sexist pricks

  75. #75 Teleprompter
    December 6, 2008

    @ becca #74

    What do you mean by that???

  76. #76 Tom Woolf
    December 6, 2008

    Scaurus (#12)

    The point of the cartoon is not specifically the atheist pointing at the cross-bearer and laughing. The point of the cartoon is her reaction to being laughed at AFTER she has done the same to two folks who believe differently than she.

  77. #77 Miguel
    December 6, 2008

    Classic! :D

  78. #78 clinteas
    December 6, 2008

    sexist pricks

    And loving it. :P

    WHY IS THE ATHEIST ALWAYS A DUDE!?!

    Figures.baby jeebus is,too.
    One of the flaws of the English language,actually,IMO,in French or German or Spanish there is a female form.

  79. #79 Sastra
    December 6, 2008

    Emily #57 wrote:

    To be fair, that comic could be drawn with any of the other religious/paranormal believers in place of the Christian.

    I’m not sure it could. One of the ‘nice’ things about people with New-Age style fringe religious and paranormal beliefs is also one of the most frustrating: they do not like to criticize opposing beliefs of others in the same category. “There are many paths to enlightenment.” “We all have our own truths.” “Take what you need, and leave the rest.” It’s all non-judgmental, ecumenical acceptance.

    Go to one of the New Age fairs, and you will not see the crystal healing people sneering at the pyramid-energy people. The tarot card readers will not roll their eyes over the astrologers, the astrologers will not laugh at people who were abducted by aliens, and alien abductees don’t shake their heads in disbelief over people who think we are surrounded by shape-shifting lizards. This is the case even when the claims of one directly contradict the other. The guy who insists that all cancers are caused by eating cooked foods has no quarrel with the lady who announces that all cancers are caused by liver flukes. Their common enemies, Big Pharma and the Scientific Medical Establishment, unite them in harmony.

    There are no quarrels at all. No arguments, no debates, no disputes. No peer review where they rip apart bad ideas. It’s all good.

    Unless you’re a Christian who thinks New Agers are going to hell and their spirituality is false. Or an atheist who thinks there’s no good scientific support for any of the claptrap they’re promoting as science. Then they laugh, scoff, sneer, and scorn those who are judgmental and close-minded and less tolerant than they are.

    We atheists see the point of the cartoon as being that the Christian is just as silly as the ‘fringies,’ and has no right to protect her own similar views with a sudden and hypocritical call for respect. Faith is a cop out. All religious beliefs are fair game.

    Fringies, on the other hand, might very well read the cartoon as showing that the Christian is just as bad and intolerant as the horrible atheist, and should follow her own advice. Faith is cherished. No religion should ever be disrespected.

  80. #80 becca
    December 6, 2008

    I mean that the atheist in the cartoon (or the “haha God” dude, who needn’t be an atheist, I suppose) is male, and the punchline is him laughing at a woman.
    It’s not necessary for the joke to have the genders be like that, so why perpetuate the “women are less rational” tripe?

  81. #81 John Morales
    December 6, 2008

    Aquaria @70 FTW,

    In fact, I think from now on, I’ll refer all people with such grievous concerns about the “tone” of this site, whether it be “mean” or “angry” or “militant,” to the Nitwit blog.
    I’m sure they’ll be much happier there.

    Harsh, but fair.

  82. #82 John Morales
    December 6, 2008

    Becca @80, you’re being hypersensitive.
    It never even occurred to me to consider sexes in that comic, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t to Andrés either. They’re just people.

  83. #83 clinteas
    December 6, 2008

    becca,

    it did not occur to me at all to interpret anything into whos saying what to who based on what genders they are.
    I think its totally irrelevant to the cartoon.
    Some sensitivities on your side,I assume…..

  84. #84 Insightful Ape
    December 6, 2008

    I am sorry you have been offended, becca. I doubt this is what the cartoonist meant, and I am sure it’s not what PZ meant.

  85. #85 Steve Saunders
    December 6, 2008

    Just thought I’d stop in to say I absolutely loved this strip! Thanks a million to PZ and the cartoonist for making me almost choke on my soup from the laughter. :)

  86. #86 Randy
    December 6, 2008

    I think “Atheist Eve” (Tracie Harris) said it best here:

    http://www.atheist-community.org/atheisteve/?id=19

  87. #87 Freki
    December 6, 2008

    It’s not necessary for the joke to have the genders be like that, so why perpetuate the “women are less rational” tripe?

    oh, horseshit, the woo-agers were majority male.

    From one woman to another, you’re a twit.

  88. #88 Nepenthe
    December 6, 2008

    Becca,

    Forget about any sort of feminist analysis here. Sorry.

    I have yet to find a safe space for atheist women online, so I can’t direct you to a better place.

  89. #89 'Tis Himself
    December 6, 2008

    Clinteas #78

    One of the flaws of the English language, actually, IMO, in French or German or Spanish there is a female form.

    I’ve always thought lack of genders in English was a strong point, not a flaw. Why should everything have a gender, especially inanimate objects that have no obvious sexuality or gender identification?

  90. #90 Teleprompter
    December 7, 2008

    All we really need for English is a gender-neutral third person pronoun that has no other relation to a gender.

    “He” currently is the singular, gender-neutral third person pronoun in English. But people assume that it’s referring to the male gender. We need something that doesn’t refer to either gender in pronoun usage.

  91. #91 Liberal Atheist
    December 7, 2008

    Funny cartoon, what’s not funny is that it really works like that in real life too.

    And since I’m not a sexist, I don’t care who is male and who is female in that cartoon. Some do, I’m sure. But since someone brought it up… It seems there are three females and two males in that cartoon.

    One woman believes in spirits.
    One woman believes in flying saucers.
    One woman believes in at least one god.
    One man is a Hindu.
    The other man is an atheist, but may very well believe in both the spirit world and flying saucers.

    Somehow it is offensive to have one of the women believe in at least one god, yet for some reason it’s not offensive to portray a man as a Hindu and another man as an insensitive jerk who also may believe other weird things.

    Funny.

    Also, I’m really sorry that my English is as bad as it is…

  92. #92 Nibien
    December 7, 2008

    Somehow it is offensive to have one of the women believe in at least one god, yet for some reason it’s not offensive to portray a man as a Hindu and another man as an insensitive jerk who also may believe other weird things.

    Funny.

    It’s called paranoia and double-standards, fortunately, you lack them.

  93. #93 pcarini
    December 7, 2008

    becca @ #80:

    I mean that the atheist in the cartoon (or the “haha God” dude, who needn’t be an atheist, I suppose) is male, and the punchline is him laughing at a woman.

    I thought the punchline had more to do with the Christian’s double-standard about respect for beliefs. I guess people get what they want to get out of these things.

    It’s not necessary for the joke to have the genders be like that, so why perpetuate the “women are less rational” tripe?

    The “‘haha God’ dude” in the strip looks like a fair caricature of the artist himself, complete with the red shirt and the beard*. Of course, even if the atheist looked nothing like the artist you’d still be reaching pretty far to call this sexist.

    *scroll down a bit to see his picture on his site: http://fleasnobbery.blogspot.com/2008/12/laughing.html

  94. #94 Jim 1138
    December 7, 2008

    Whatdia mean the atheist is a dude? It’s obvious that the atheist is a woman with heavy lipstick. That is a guy with the blue shirt wearing the cross. The psychic is a guy, the Hare Krishna is a woman as is the UFO buff. Or is the UFO buff a guy?

  95. #95 scelesor
    December 7, 2008

    For some of you who want even MORE pics making fun of religion,

    http://lolgod.blogspot.com/

  96. #96 blf
    December 7, 2008

    PZ’s blog is meant for a US audience.
    I presume Insightful Ape@64 meant the majority of the readership(? and commentators?) have some connection with the USA (other than being on the same planet, that is). Typically they are in the USA, or if not, have studied there, worked there, or the like.

    Teleprompter@90, indeed: The lack of gender in English is a strong point, but the lack of a clearly-understood gender-free third-person pronoun can cause confusion. Writing “s/he” or similar looks a bit silly and is d/man d/iffic/ult to p/ronouce. The gender (not to mention the bloody à??ëñ??) in Français is perhaps one reason I’ve never gotten my head too far around French, despite living in France. Being shite at natural languages doesn’t help either…

  97. #97 John Morales
    December 7, 2008

    blf @96, in English the convention is to use the singular they – e.g. “anyone can be an atheist, if they wish to be”. Other efforts (“hir”) haven’t achieved acceptance.

  98. #98 pcarini
    December 7, 2008

    Nepenthe @ #88

    Becca,
    Forget about any sort of feminist analysis here. Sorry.
    I have yet to find a safe space for atheist women online, so I can’t direct you to a better place.

    Have you been to skepchick.org? While I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily all about the coincidence of atheism and feminism, it does promote skepticism/rationality and is written from a feminine perspective.

    I have to admit I’m taken aback at the implication that this is an unsafe place for atheist women! I can’t recall any non-troll poster here being derogatory toward or discriminatory against women, and I would expect a fair smackdown for anybody who was. In many of the discussions gender isn’t brought up simply because it isn’t relevant to the issue at hand. I’ll defer to your (and the other female atheist posters’) judgment, of course, since the safety you’re talking about is necessarily subjective.

    If by “safe space” you mean somewhere where people can feel free to make baseless accusations without being called on them, then I, for one, am happy that this isn’t such a place.

  99. #99 blf
    December 7, 2008

    John Morales@97, the singular “they” fails the clearly-understood requirement. If you drop the need for clarity, I agree, it is a convention that is used. But it is not clear, and it is not what I was opinionating was needed.

  100. #100 John Morales
    December 7, 2008

    blf @99, you’re probably right. I know I have trouble at times remaining gender-neutral, and often just use the proper noun if I can (e.g. “blf has a point”).

  101. #101 clinteas
    December 7, 2008

    gender neutrality in English is nice and appreciated when you first learn it,it almost feels too easy….
    But its lacking in clarity IMO,and can be confusing.
    Same with “How are you”,you will use the same phrase whether you talk to your professor or the beggar across the road.I guess there’s an equalizer there somewhere,and Im just more used to hierarchies LOL

  102. #102 Graculus
    December 7, 2008

    One woman believes in spirits.
    One woman believes in flying saucers.
    One woman believes in at least one god.
    One man is a Hindu.

    The flying saucer one is a guy. It’s 2 and 2.

  103. #103 blf
    December 7, 2008

    John Morales@100, don’t get me wrong, ambiguity or unclarity is just the thing at times. But not at other times. Anyways, I think we agree: Singular “they” is useful and used, but is not always ideal.

    clinteas@101, Bill Bryson in one of his popular books on the English language quoted an expert to the effect “English is the only language which doesn’t have hierarchies”. I presume it may have had them in the distant past (it did have both accents and genders), but they vanished a long time ago as a regular part of the language. And as I recall, they vanished partly as a result of the Norman Invasion: The conquerors spoke Norman French and ignored–but to their credit made no effort to suppress–the English of the time. With no-one using it much for writing or anything other than local verbal communication, it developed (simplified) considerably, but that also lead to the many variations in spelling, pronunciation, and meaning, and other assorted weirdnesses it’s now famous for.

    (I apologise for not recalling which book (Bill’s written several), or the expert. And I hope I haven’t misrecalled the ghist of the quote.)

  104. #104 negentropyeater
    December 7, 2008

    PZ’s blog is meant for a US audience.

    Just checked sitemeter, at this time there are twice as many people connecting to Pharyngula from outside the USA than from within.

    This will of course reverse itself later during the day.

  105. #105 clinteas
    December 7, 2008

    I love this time of the night,when we aussies and europeans can have the blog for ourselves,only the occasional coward drive-by troll shows up,and the discussions are red-hot and open-blade..:-)

    I’ve missed SC tho tonight,she would have had fun.

  106. #106 Kel
    December 7, 2008

    It truly is our time to shine.

  107. #107 blf
    December 7, 2008

    Well, Europeans and convicts do seem to predominate at this time of the day, but don’t forget our friends in Japan, Africa, and other parts of the relevant timezones. Judging by the worldclock it looks like the N. Americans will be waking up soon… oh well, it’s fun while it lasts! ;-)

  108. #108 clinteas
    December 7, 2008

    And as the sun slowly rises in the US,so does our alcohol level,and we fade into irrelevance once more…..Its a miracle !!

  109. #109 Andrés Diplotti
    December 7, 2008

    becca @80

    It’s not necessary for the joke to have the genders be like that, so why perpetuate the “women are less rational” tripe?

    Being the cartoonist, I think I can answer that.

    In the early stages of drawing this cartoon, I made the decision of having either the Christian or the atheist as a female, and the other as a male. There was no reason for this other than having a cast of varied gender, and there was also no reason for the final choice. I didn’t think much about it; I could have as easily have the sexes reversed, since it never occurred to me that that could be in any way relevant to the joke.

    And, as it has already been pointed out, both the Hare Krishna and the ufo buffs are guys (yes, people, the ufo buff is a guy with a ponytail).

  110. #110 John Phillips, FCD
    December 7, 2008

    Aquaria #70 FTW

    Mind you, in a just world, a link to there would constitute a cruel and unusual punishment.

  111. #111 blf
    December 7, 2008

    Andrés, so you intended the bearded guy to be an atheist? That’s certainly the obvious way of reading the cartoon, but it has occurred to some people (including myself) he could just be some other religious type. Perhaps a bit far-fetched, but not implausible.

    Not that it matters any. It is a funny cartoon, perhaps simply because it’s a good caricature of what happens. Thanks!

  112. #112 negentropyeater
    December 7, 2008

    blf,

    why convicts ? Is that another word for Ozies ?

  113. #113 Andrés Diplotti
    December 7, 2008

    blf @111, you’ve got a point there. But I don’t think that it ultimately changes the effect of the punchline or the overall meaning, so the guy in red can be anything you like.

  114. #114 blf
    December 7, 2008

    why convicts? Is that another word for Ozies?

    European Aussies, or at least those from Britain. Probably rude, certainly inaccurate, and (as a friendly insult) possibly dated.

    Britain had a policy for awhile of “transporting” convicts to Australia to serve their sentences. You could be transported for almost anything, including such relatively minor matters as stealing a single loaf of bread or one book. The conditions at the penal colonies in Australia were horrid (even by the standards of the day, I believe?). The voyage itself (this was in the days of sail) was long and arduous, especially if you happened to be one of the convicts locked up below-decks.

    For assorted reasons, a reasonable percentage of those who survived the voyage to Australia and the time in the penal colony stayed behind, becoming a noticeable proportion of the nucleus of the current European-ancestry modern-day Aussies. Until relatively recently, the Aussies who really are of “convict” background didn’t like to admit that, albeit I now understand the attitude has changed (is changing?) and it’s now something to be proud of.

  115. #115 negentropyeater
    December 7, 2008

    thx blf

  116. #116 clinteas
    December 7, 2008

    blf,

    fear not,the convict heritage is still visible and noticeable today LOL…
    Just last nite I had a patient’s dad trying to beat me up,you get used to it….:-)

  117. #117 Nick Gotts
    December 7, 2008

    blf,

    On English lack of grammatical gender and (mostly) explicit cases, I’ve heard it suggested that this preceded the Norman conquest, because English arose as a pidgin all down the east coast of Britain on the 7th-8th centuries. However, I can’t give you a specific reference.

    The conquerors spoke Norman French and ignored–but to their credit made no effort to suppress–the English of the time. – blf

    I don’t think the possibility of suppressing it would even have occurred to them. What could it possibly matter to the invaders (damn the swine for robbing us of our Saxon liberties!) what patois their serfs grunt in? The intermediaries who they needed to deal with would have had to learn Norman French.

  118. #118 Marc Abian
    December 7, 2008

    Just last NITE I had a patient’s dad trying to beat me up

    Was he a pedant when it came to spelling?

  119. #119 blf
    December 7, 2008

    Nick@117, I’ve heard that as well (and also lack any reference); that is, that gender et al. was already on its way out by the time of the Norman conquest. However, it’s my understanding (but I couild easily be mistaken here) that the process is more obvious (or appears to have accelerated) after the conquest. On the other hand, there’s so little written English from those times that the timing is uncertain, and that that effect, if it even exists, could just be sampling error.

    You’re point about it not even occurring to the Normans to try and suppress English is certainly plausible. One small bit of evidence in support of that is William himself apparently tried to learn English (but didn’t succeed). What I believe we can say with reasonable certainty is there’s no known evidence of an attempt, and very possibly none of a proposal, to suppress English. Again, however, I could easily be mistaken since this subject, whilst of some interest to me, is not my area of expertise or study.

    Of course, after awhile, the very idea would have gone nowhere. As English-speaking locals became lords and other higher-ups in the court, they had to learn the (increasingly outdated) Norman French. It’s always been my understanding that as you look at court/royal (and possibly other) documents in the centuries after the invasion, you see more and more evidence they were originally composed in English and then translated to the court’s Norman French. And of course, at some time (I don’t recall when) the royals/court finally switched to English.

  120. #120 maureen
    December 7, 2008

    Between the 1620s and 1776 we Brits managed to transport quite a few convicts to what became the US. There are no reliable numbers but one estimate is around 50,000. Perhaps, if clinteas is right, we should look among them for an explanation of Miss Bonnie’s clearly defective genes.

  121. #121 jose
    December 7, 2008

    ever read one of those Chick comics?

    http://fleasnobbery.blogspot.com/2008/09/offer.html

  122. #122 dogmeatib
    December 7, 2008

    Maureen is correct. Prior to the American Revolution England sent her criminals to the United States, Georgia in specific. Afterward they sent them to Australia. It was actually the “humane” thing to do since there were more than 200 crimes which were punishable by death. Many of those death sentences were commuted to life in the colonies.

    I read a short piece somewhere (don’t recall the journal) that talked about the matron of a major Australian family who had been transported as a child for stealing another child’s clothing.

  123. #123 Kevin
    December 7, 2008

    I think the irony would have been better displayed if you had the Religious person making fun of everyone else’s beliefs, then have the atheist make fun of the religious person belief.

  124. #124 Graculus
    December 7, 2008

    Well, Nick Gotts beat me to the comment that English was already shifting away from heirarchies/genders/etc before the Normans arrived. It is a common misconception that English was heavily influenced by French.. 80% of our spoken language is Saxon, French is found a lot in legal and government terms, not so much in conversational English.. and usually there is a Saxon equivalent still hanging around (eg: “mutton” and “sheep”) even when there is a term based on the Norman. Grammatically English is pure Germanic. If Norman French had played a more than minor role then you would expect some influence there, but no.

    England had a lot of different Germanic languages all trying to understand each other before the Normans arrived, the simplification most likely started along the Danelaw, where there was the most severe discontinuity between the Old English and the Old Norse dialects.

    Hell, that discontinuity is still there in the dialects and in the pronounciation.

  125. #125 Steve_C
    December 7, 2008

    eh?

  126. #126 blf
    December 7, 2008

    I don’t believe anyone ever said English was heavily influenced by the French language–only that the period after the Norman invasion, when English was used mostly for local verbal communication, “freed” it, if you will, to continue and possibly accelerate the process of simplification. However, given the general lack of written English from that timespan, this could easily be sampling error; i.e., the Norman’s invasion and its consequences might have had no effect per se on English’s development. But again, there’s no claim here the Norman French language had any significant effect.

    The “mutton” on the table because of that’s what the Norman French ate and “sheep” in the fields because of that’s what the English-speaking workers raised hypothesis has been challenged. (However, I admit to lacking references.) It’s a very popular and long-standing idea, and I myself rather like it, but I understand there’s far less evidence for than you might think and some rather interesting evidence against. For instance, I seem to recall (again, apologies for the lack of references) assorted plays and dictionaries and letters all using “beef” to refer to the animal as well as the food.

    Weirdly, despite being essentially Germanic, English has borrowed very few words from German. It’s borrowed far more from French and just about any other language you care to name, including some surprising/rare/obscure ones. (I once recall hearing(? reading?) English has borrowed far more words from Basque than it has from German. I’ve no idea if that example’s true, albeit I suspect the general claim is not too far off target.)

  127. #127 Kevin Burton
    December 7, 2008

    Hey,

    Don’t mock my faith. I still believe that Zeus controls the thunder and lightning :-P

  128. #128 Spock
    December 7, 2008

    Terrible drawing skills
    Awful image quality
    Abhorrent humor + bonus for unoriginality (seen the same joke on multiple occassions before)

    Failure

  129. #129 Wowbagger
    December 7, 2008

    Re: #114

    Well, as a descendant of convicts transported to Australia, I can say that, while I’m not exactly proud of it, I do also realised that the laws of England in the day were overly harsh and what my ancestor(s) did to deserve transportation may not have been all that bad.

    Clinteas #116 – well, he wasn’t one of mine. All my famiy on the convict-descendant side live in Sydney…

  130. #130 Andrés Diplotti
    December 7, 2008

    Spock @128, I resent that. I use PNG to avoid those ugly compression artifacts. The awful image quality is PZ’s fault.

    That’s only 3/4 failure, sir.

  131. #131 Steve_C
    December 7, 2008

    Are Spock and Scarus related???

  132. #132 Wowbagger
    December 7, 2008

    Andrés,

    Considering that Spock’s main problem with your comic appears to be that it makes religious believers feel bad (why else would it be described as ‘abhorrent’?) I wouldn’t spend too much time being concerned with justifying yourself.

    It’d probably be okay with Spock if the person being mocked in the final panel as a scientologist – or the member of a different sect from him.

  133. #133 Kel
    December 7, 2008

    I was recently called an “elitist, pompous, bigoted asshole” for making a case against faith as a justification for belief. Now what there anything wrong with what I said? Not really, but man did I touch a nerve. The religious meme has a great defence mechanism in that respect, the cultural taboo sits there and acts as a guardian to silence anyone who dare question it.

  134. #134 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    December 7, 2008

    Terrible drawing skills
    Awful image quality
    Abhorrent humor + bonus for unoriginality (seen the same joke on multiple occassions before)

    Failure

    Where are your super awesome L33t web comics?

  135. #135 Graculus
    December 7, 2008

    Weirdly, despite being essentially Germanic, English has borrowed very few words from German.

    Well, we were talking grammar, not vocabulary, but…

    English doesn’t have to borrow words from German, as it *is* German… Old Low German. Think about it.. why do you need to “borrow” your own stuff?

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a lot of French loanwords, but a lot of them are from modern French, and a lot of them are “technical” terms. Conversational English vocabulary is somewhere north of 80% Saxon. In fact, someone with a working knowledge of archaic modern English can read Old English without a dictionary and with very very few lacunae.

    I paraphrase from memory: “English does not borrow from other languages, it chases them down alleys, knocks them over the head and goes through their pockets.”

  136. #136 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2008

    I paraphrase from memory: “English does not borrow from other languages, it chases them down alleys, knocks them over the head and goes through their pockets.”

    *Ahem*

    The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

  137. #137 Wowbagger
    December 7, 2008

    One of my favourite quotes about English – and its priorities – comes from Terry Pratchett:

    Mind you, the Elizabethans had so many words for the female genitals that it is quite hard to speak a sentence of modern English without inadvertently mentioning at least three of them.

  138. #138 Tim G
    December 7, 2008

    There is a strange phenomenon in cartoons of levitating eyebrows.

  139. #139 Pokhara
    December 8, 2008

    old but nice one.

  140. #140 Dexter
    December 8, 2008

    There is a strange phenomenon in cartoons of levitating eyebrows.

    She’s a witch!!

  141. #141 Boerwars
    December 8, 2008

    To becca, your preposterous unnecessary banter on “sexism” reminds me of this strip by the great Tracie Harris…

    http://www.atheist-community.org/atheisteve/?id=13

    enjoy!

  142. #142 Phil E. Drifter
    December 8, 2008

    Religitards shouldn’t even be allowed to vote, they should be fitted with straight jackets and thrown in an insane asylum. They’re taking the coward’s way out: “I can’t explain it, so I’m just going to believe in some supernatural all-powerful entity who watches me when I masturbate and then judges me when I die.” Puh-leeeze.

  143. #143 teammarty
    December 9, 2008

    Is a moustache OK??

  144. #144 teammarty
    December 9, 2008

    Liberal Atheist @ #91

    Where did you get the “insensitive jerk: part from?

  145. #145 Anon
    December 9, 2008

    Dear Scaurus,
    ……

    You’re a douche
    -anon

  146. #146 ABM
    December 9, 2008

    fu

  147. #147 mike
    December 9, 2008

    beards! hahahahahaha

  148. #148 So
    December 9, 2008

    True 100%

  149. #149 Vlad Nistor
    December 10, 2008

    I’m not sure why, but the woman in the picture reminds me of Sarah Palin…

  150. #150 Joe
    February 10, 2009

    Wait, since when is socialism more advanced than capitalism? Sure, capitalism has its pitfalls, but its a step further away from a dictatorship than socialism. First you let the government wipe your ass. Then they’re your bidet…. then you’re their child who must be taken care of. Blahhh

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