Pharyngula

Don’t annoy us, godlings

This must be why he used a flood, last time.

i-398c2b1fd16ed36d38d0f5695ea5e97f-eliminate.jpeg

Comments

  1. #1 Nerd of Redhead
    December 7, 2008

    Yes, don’t annoy those who know how to learn. We can build things.

  2. #2 llewelly
    December 7, 2008

    This strip is bogus. If it was true, an awful lot of religious leaders would have been thrown out of power a long time ago.

  3. #3 Moses
    December 7, 2008

    Cute!

  4. #4 Scaurus
    December 7, 2008

    The guy must be Yuri Gagarin.

  5. #5 Christie
    December 7, 2008

    I wanna be in on a robot attack! But does that mean I have to stop having sex? That’s a tough one…

  6. #6 Levi
    December 7, 2008

    Hmm, I want to get my hands on those books that explain how to commit deicide with lasers.

  7. #7 druidbros
    December 7, 2008

    Only until we take over the angels Christie. Then its a free for all!!!

  8. #8 Nemo
    December 7, 2008

    Be sure to view it at the original site; there’s a coda (hover over the red circle to see it).

    #2: One of the ideas behind the comic is sex as a distraction that keeps us from achieving our full potential. Religious suppression of sex doesn’t change that — it’s still a distraction. But the comic depicts supernatural suppression of the sex drive itself.

    #4: Huh?

  9. #9 SC
    December 7, 2008

    I liked the book title: Particularly Difficult Mathematics.

    What does this say about the participants in a recent multi-day discussion over at Good Math, Bad Math? :)

  10. #10 OrchidGrowinMan
    December 7, 2008

    Engineering and sex have a well-known negative correlation; what _I_ want to do is investigate causality (as any good scientist would). The problem is, how do you arrange for double-blind protocol? Anyway, as a scientist and working engineer, I’ll volunteer myself as a subject to determine if lots of sex impairs my engineering performance (the reverse has been adequately investigated: http://web.syr.edu/~drhare/engineers.htm)

  11. #11 Paul Gowder
    December 7, 2008

    This made me so happy.

  12. #12 OrchidGrowinMan
    December 7, 2008
  13. #13 Richard Harris
    December 7, 2008

    I thought it was the giants that battled with the gods. Oh yeah, & rationalists can defeat the gods too.

    Too bad for the poor saps who ‘observe’ these gods. Idiots – they can’t tell the difference between mythology & reality.

  14. #14 gypsytag
    December 7, 2008

    This strip is bogus. If it was true, an awful lot of religious leaders would have been thrown out of power a long time ago.

    no that’s not true, cause they’re the ones in homosexual relationships or buggering alter boys.

  15. #15 Caleb
    December 7, 2008

    Don’t forget the votey: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20081205after.gif

    It’s the little red button below the comic ( http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1366 ).

  16. #16 GK4
    December 7, 2008

    Lord Asriel’s army just got a new division. With lasers!

    And for those talking about distractions, I think you misunderstand. The humans in this comic strip have had something taken from them, and that was the last straw. Now it’s “No more Mister Nice Mortal”.

  17. #17 Marc Abian
    December 7, 2008

    Am, guys? Are we really sure we want to promote the idea that achievers in science aren’t getting any?

  18. #18 Katharine
    December 7, 2008

    PZ, that was a poor choice of comic to promote what I think you want to promote.

    Yes, we want to communicate that we in science will eliminate religion. At the same time, we do not want to communicate we’re sexless, because we’re not sexless, and unfortunately, most of the American public is so stupid it thinks sex is more important than the mind and it thinks we’re sexless.

    Part of why I am high-tailing it out of the United States after I finish my post-doc – I might even go to the UK after I finish my PhD because they have some good laboratories in my field there – is the fact that the vast majority of Americans are morons.

  19. #19 Michael Fonda
    December 7, 2008

    Hey, it’s my fantasy life!

  20. #20 PlaydoPlato
    December 7, 2008

    This strip is bogus. If it was true, an awful lot of religious leaders would have been thrown out of power a long time ago.

    It is true. Problem is, for every Ted Haggard that goes down (figuratively and literally speaking) two more rise in his place.

  21. #21 alufelgi
    December 7, 2008

    Nice Story! The great humour

  22. #22 JStein
    December 7, 2008

    I with that we could actually overthrow religious leaders with robot attacks. It’s a good thing all us humans have sex to keep us so pre-occupied.

    This strip is bizarre.

  23. #23 Facehammer
    December 7, 2008

    Aw shit, god is the Loc-Nar. Good luck killing that.

  24. #24 Brett
    December 7, 2008

    Speaking of scientists not getting any, here’s an interesting study. I hope it’s not true…

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/lifeandstyle/lifematters/science-students-virgin-on-celibacy/2008/12/05/1228257304915.html

  25. #25 Levi
    December 7, 2008

    Am, guys? Are we really sure we want to promote the idea that achievers in science aren’t getting any?

    Umm, yeah, I do at least. I have a hard time believing my lingering virginity has nothing at all to do with my extreme nerdiness.

  26. #26 Katharine
    December 7, 2008

    Brett, I’d guess that one interesting conclusion we can derive from that study could be the fact that non-science students are more likely to get AIDS.

  27. #27 Jason A.
    December 7, 2008

    I didn’t take this as saying scientists don’t get any. I took it as people who follow religious edicts don’t get any. The scientists were smart enough to overthrow it.

  28. #28 Cuttlefish, OM
    December 7, 2008

    It seems to me, the reason for
    Invention, Industry, or War
    Or Art, or Medicine, or more
    Is… horny folks who want to score.

    Society, at every scale
    From broadest brush to fine detail
    Is motivated, without fail
    By peacocks looking for some tail.

    We’ve instituted education;
    Used it as our firm foundation
    Building up the strongest nation–
    Freud would call it “sublimation”

    Darwin, in his own dissection
    Took it in a new direction–
    If I’m right in recollection,
    Called it sexual selection!

    It’s not enough to flex some pecs
    Or write big numbers on your checks
    The mating dance has grown complex
    But everything comes down to sex.

    Our species has a lot of pluck–
    It did not thrive because of luck,
    Or cos some god took aim and struck–
    But just because we like… something…

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-ultimately-sex.html

  29. #29 Katharine
    December 7, 2008

    I predict in the next 200 years or so people are going to get a lot more intelligent; in the short run it’ll be difficult to select stupidity out of the population, but in the long run, people on average will be more intelligent.

  30. #30 Sven DiMilo
    December 7, 2008

    Katharine, that’s as naive as your belief that you’ll be escaping morons by moving to the UK.

  31. #31 Diane G.
    December 7, 2008

    I predict in the next 200 years or so people are going to get a lot more intelligent; in the short run it’ll be difficult to select stupidity out of the population, but in the long run, people on average will be more intelligent.

    I used to think so. Now I don’t. Social animal societies require too much raw labor–too many worker bees (and soldiers). Smart people are not going to happy in those castes. Natural selection will continue to favor societies that produce a large enough block of unthinking followers to do the scut work. (Note–I know NS doesn’t work on “societies”–that’s just shorthand.)

  32. #32 Wowbagger
    December 7, 2008

    The retention of religion involves more factors than just intelligence, no matter how you define it. There are plenty of otherwise intelligent people out there who just choose not to (or can’t bring themselves to) apply it to their beliefs.

    Intellectual honesty is what we need more of. But that still won’t help with what is the bigger problem – the overwhelming sociocultural impact. I’ve always felt that a reasonable proportion of christians cannot possibly believe what they religion demands they believe, but are incapable of admitting it (to themselves and others) because of how it would affect their friends, family and cultural identity.

    I can’t give a first-hand example, since I’ve never been a believer. But the deconversion stories I’ve heard/read tend to support this.

  33. #33 Katharine
    December 7, 2008

    I’m not sure how the first one is quite so naive; if a population is more STD-prone, it should influence their prevalence over time. Of course, one has to adjust for reproduction rate and actual knowledge of contraceptives in the population and how they compare to other populations.

    As to the statement that the UK doesn’t have morons, I am aware they have morons, but at least they seem to have less of an impact there, and besides, the research I want to do has largely been forced there, except for the researchers here who are studying intelligence under the guise of another subfield.

  34. #34 quasarpulse
    December 7, 2008

    Kate,
    While there are many surprising ways to create a selective force, if I had to guess, I’d say that STDs are probably among the weakest ones. Try a thought experiment:
    - Think about what one has to do to get an STD.
    - Think about what one has to do to not get an STD.
    - Consider which is more effective for reproduction.

  35. #35 The Swiss
    December 7, 2008

    Oh, come on! You’re all so negative. A good efficient education, some smart drug, a little genetic engineering and … ta-daaah! Homo super-sapiens.

  36. #36 Nick Gotts
    December 7, 2008

    SC@9,
    There actually is a book Maths Made Difficult (subtitled “A Handbook for the perplexed”) by Carl E Linderholm. IIRC, it’s about the fundations of mathematics – takes several chapters to get to 1+1=2.

  37. #37 Holbach
    December 7, 2008

    In the end, Science prevailed and routed the forces of imaginary unreason. Cartoon- wise, but Science will never achieve this result in reality as long as there are sufficient deranged minds to perpetuate idiotic crap.

  38. #38 Holbach
    December 7, 2008

    In the end, Science prevailed and routed the forces of imaginary unreason. Cartoon- wise, but Science will never achieve this result in reality as long as there are sufficient deranged minds to perpetuate idiotic crap.

  39. #39 Michael
    December 7, 2008

    So, let’s see…
    There’s this being that’s powerful enough to *eliminate* (not “forbid,” eliminate, mind you) sex in two seconds, see.
    But then smart scientists come up with robots with laser rays in two months, and they defeat that being.
    Somehow the being who can eliminate sex, is powerless against their laser rays.
    Makes sense?
    Oh, but we’re so smart! Let’s celebrate that. We’re not morons like *them*, no, not us.
    Sorry, I guess I have no sense of humor. Or at least I don’t get atheist humor. (But I get that it’s all in group celebration of superiority. Just like Dawkins says religion is.)

  40. #40 SC
    December 7, 2008

    Posted by: Michael | December 7, 2008 7:20 PM

    Hmmm…Bible stories…

    If I had popcorn, it would be a-poppin’.

  41. #41 Steve_C
    December 7, 2008

    Wow you’re such a freak. hehehe.

    Yeah atheists are always fantasizing about killing god!

    Do you see the flaw in that logic????

  42. #42 Wowbagger
    December 7, 2008

    Somehow the being who can eliminate sex, is powerless against their laser rays. Makes sense?

    About as much sense as everything else attributed to god – and as long as the spaceships had iron chariots built into them it’s supported by scripture.

  43. #43 Kevin
    December 7, 2008

    it’s not a flaw in logic. It’s more of a fantastical metaphor. Killing god = Killing religion. Atheists only wish that we could end religious belief and ideas so that humanity as a whole could progress with science and skepticism. enjoy!

  44. #44 Bacopa
    December 7, 2008

    I have a more positive take on this: Nerdy types are getting enough sex that if they had evidence God was denying sex, they would start researching how to build angel-killing spaceships and get the job done in two months.

  45. #45 SC
    December 7, 2008

    …and as long as the spaceships had iron chariots built into them it’s supported by scripture.

    Your response, Michael?

  46. #46 HappyKiwi
    December 7, 2008

    @39
    I’m sure you have a sense of humor Michael. It’s just repressed by the efforts you have to make to keep believing in your personal sky fairy and reading that mishmash of ancient superstition, the bible.

    If one day–Reason Willing–you have the good fortune to be able to step out of it all you’ll find, as I have, that the world’s a better place without superstition. You’ll also find plenty to laugh at (in particular the poor credulous bastards like you used to be).

    Good luck fellow-product-of-evolution.

  47. #47 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 7, 2008

    Reason Willing

    You willing, Michael.

  48. #48 'Tis Himself
    December 7, 2008

    When I was taking calculus I was sure that the textbook was entitled “Particularly Difficult Mathematics.”

  49. #49 Emmet Caulfield
    December 7, 2008

    Oh, but we’re so smart! Let’s celebrate that. We’re not morons like *them*, no, not us.

    Not exactly. What we claim is that we’re free of the demented delusion of believing in god(s) and the laughable nonsense that usually goes along with it in the form of religion. If anything, the fact that we try to persuade other people tends to indicate that we think that anyone can come to the realisation that god(s) are as implausible as leprechauns, which surely indicates a lack of the conceit of the kind you suggest.

    For example, I wouldn’t claim to be smarter than Ken Miller, yet he believes in the patently absurd Catholic dogma of transubstantiation.

    On the other hand, some people, like YECs, are simply willfully stupid and ignorant, and believe a great number of utterly absurd things. They are not regarded as stupid and ignorant merely by atheists, but by the majority of their fellow Christians too, which renders hollow any accusation of intellectual élitism leveled against atheists alone on that account.

  50. #50 Horwood Beer-Master
    December 7, 2008

    Wait a second, that strip appears to depict some kind of Sun-God.

    Ha-ha! How pissed off are the christ-heads going to be when they realise they ought to have been worshipping Ra all this time!

  51. #51 ryogam
    December 7, 2008

    Exodus 4 says God’s Kryptonite is also foreskins. Seriously. Google it. (Shameless Plug)

    Which is why I always keep a fresh supply handy. Just in case.

    Also, Cuttlefish, you are a national treasure.

  52. #52 Kevin Schreck
    December 7, 2008

    I honestly lawled. I was not expecting that last panel!

  53. #53 Michael
    December 7, 2008

    On “iron chariots” I’m inclined to respond: Psalm 20:7. But that won’t do for you. Of course, nothing I say will do for you.

    I take the following view of Judges 1:19. “The Lord was with Judah” roughly means: things went well with Judah. “He was unable to drive them out” refers to Judah’s inability, not God’s — so to this extent the Lord was not with Judah. As to why, well, read the book of Judges.

    But more importantly the question presupposes a literal fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible that isn’t mine.

  54. #54 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2008

    On “iron chariots” I’m inclined to respond: Psalm 20:7. But that won’t do for you. Of course, nothing I say will do for you.

    Of course. If God existed, he could speak for himself.

    But more importantly the question presupposes a literal fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible that isn’t mine.

    Good for you.

    Would you concede that if God literally behaved as depicted in the OT, he would deserve to be destroyed, if such a thing were possible?

  55. #55 llewelly
    December 7, 2008

    Michael:

    On “iron chariots” I’m inclined to respond: Psalm 20:7.

    NIV, Psalm 20:7 :

    7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

    Chariots and horses are real. There’s no doubt they exist.

    God, well, there’s not a shed of evidence. And plenty of counter evidence.

  56. #56 SC
    December 7, 2008

    Michael,

    You may be interested in this podcast from last week about Biblical interpretation:

    http://mnatheists.org/content/view/204/32/

  57. #57 Quicken
    December 7, 2008

    @39

    You did notice that this strip is just a goofy twist on the “Tower of Babel” story?

  58. #58 Jason A.
    December 7, 2008

    Michael #53:

    But more importantly the question presupposes a literal fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible that isn’t mine.

    Ohh. The non-fundamentalists are sillier than the fundamentalists. They just don’t get targeted as much because they mostly stay out of the way.
    If you think there are parts of the bible that aren’t literal, how do you know which parts? Did god publish a companion to the bible? – ‘Which parts are only metaphor, and which parts I was really seriously serious’ by: God.
    If you accept that some of the bible is metaphor, how do you know jesus wasn’t a metaphor? How do you know the whole concept of god wasn’t a metaphor?

    At least the literalists have the courage of their convictions. For the non-literalists, the bible is more of a rorschach test.

  59. #59 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2008

    At least the literalists have the courage of their convictions.

    No, I don’t think that’s the case.

    Even the so-called literalists decide which parts of the bible they take literally.

    They’re just less honest about it than those who are explicitly non-literalists.

    When was the last time you heard of a literalist telling other Christians not to drive or otherwise light fires on the Sabbath?

    Of course, the bible has sufficient contradictions that everyone has to pick and choose what to take literally. There’s always something that somebody is going to get wrong.

    They just don’t care that they are getting it wrong. They’re sure that their interpretation is the “right” one.

  60. #60 Michael
    December 7, 2008

    Emmet @ #49: collectively just in this comment thread:
    “those who know how to learn” (#1); “idiots” (#13); “morons” (#18); “unthinking followers” (#31); “deranged minds” (#37). Of course there are also voices of reason in the discussion — I would count here you, wowbagger, HappyKiwi…

  61. #61 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2008

    Emmet @ #49: collectively just in this comment thread:
    “those who know how to learn” (#1); “idiots” (#13); “morons” (#18); “unthinking followers” (#31); “deranged minds” (#37).

    Would you agree that having a delusion is a mental block against learning, in some instances?

  62. #62 Neil B
    December 7, 2008

    Really though, humans are the ones eliminating sex (well, goofing it up) with gender-bending hormone-like chemical pollution, see for example this piece in The Independent:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/its-official-men-really-are-the-weaker-sex-1055688.html.

  63. #63 Emmet Caulfield
    December 7, 2008

    “those who know how to learn” (#1);

    In fairness, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to include that as evidence of atheist intellectual élitism.

    “idiots” (#13);

    OK, I’ll give you that one.

    “morons” (#18);

    It says “the vast majority of Americans are morons”; again, a bit of a stretch, I think. I thought this was about atheists vs. theists.

    “unthinking followers” (#31);

    Again, I didn’t read that to mean “followers of religion” necessarily. Sensitive much?

    “deranged minds” (#37).

    I’d defend that on two counts. First, being deranged is not the same as being stupid. Calling someone crazy is not saying we’re smarter than them. Second, religious belief is, or at least strongly resembles, a delusion to the extent that calling it crazy is not unreasonable or excessive. I doubt you’d call accuse us of the conceit of being smarter if we called people who believe in UFOs and alien abductions crazy, but belief in god(s) and magic crackers is no different.

    Of course there are also voices of reason in the discussion — I would count here you, wowbagger, HappyKiwi…

    I think that’s probably the first (and last) time I’ve been called a “voice of reason” :o)

  64. #64 ekzept
    December 7, 2008

    Yeah, I’m always more creative and productive when I have lots of sex, not less. There’s something subliminal about ideas and showers that The Culture here doesn’t want to admit.

  65. #65 Neil B
    December 7, 2008

    Emmett, why in the world would someone supportive of evolution ridicule the idea of “UFOs” or compare it to the idea of God/s? Sure, maybe it would be hard to get here, but the ET spaceship idea is just the perfectly reasonable idea that life developed on other planets, and that they wouldn’t sit around century after century and not get out there. That is combined with reports from people who say they’ve seen various odd things, moving disks, etc. I know there are consistency problems and issues that moved even potential supporters like Jacques Vallee and Allen Hynek to have doubts – but the basic idea is sound, isn’t it?

    And there’s the weird irony of the “Fermi paradox” – some scientists say, ETs should indeed have developed and been able to get here, but they say “so why don’t we see them” with no sense of the contradiction, against those who say “UFOs can’t be from other planets because it’s so hard to get here.”

    I think opposition to UFOs from “skeptics” is really more about the basic social and instinctive “taste” for this or that idea, the sort of people who like it or report it, etc. – not genuine logical reason. It’s a reflex, it isn’t like skepticism of astrology which really doesn’t make sense in causal terms (although just to annoy people, I’ll bring up Gauquelin’s studies and ask, wasn’t he just reporting the data honestly so how can you blame him?)

  66. #66 Jason A.
    December 7, 2008

    Owlmirror #59:

    When was the last time you heard of a literalist telling other Christians not to drive or otherwise light fires on the Sabbath?

    Point taken. Though it’s not unheard of for a literalist to say those things were literally true too, but jesus came to change the old law. Something about god being wishy washy, and unable to change his own rules without sending a manifestation of himself to be sacrificed to himself. I never was quite sure how they rationalized that part, it was one of the things that made me start questioning the foundations of christianity when I was a christian.

    Of course, the bible has sufficient contradictions that everyone has to pick and choose what to take literally. There’s always something that somebody is going to get wrong.

    Heh, can’t argue with that

  67. #67 Graculus
    December 7, 2008

    Aw shit, god is the Loc-Nar. Good luck killing that.

    Just remember the take-home from that: Pure evil is not defeated by deities, by pure good or even by super heroes, but by a deeply flawed humanity.

    Also, that Jean Giraud (Moebius) is a much better artist than Richard Corben.

  68. #68 Wowbagger
    December 7, 2008

    Of course there are also voices of reason in the discussion — I would count here you, wowbagger, HappyKiwi…

    I don’t often receive such recognition either. I tend to respond proportionately to tone of the post I’m answering – unless I’m in a bad mood…

    But as I posted upthread (at #32) I don’t see intelligence (or lack thereof) being the problem for all believers – though it’s certainly the case for many; I wish I could remember where the study was cited but it showed that a disturbing number of self-reported christians knew next to nothing about the bible or Jesus’ teachings – it’s intellectual honesty. They don’t want to admit that their beliefs aren’t supported.

    It must take immense mental energy for the creationist antiscience-types to rail so much against the findings of science, especially in a world where the lifestyle – and, for many, life itself – depends on reaping the benefits of what science and scientists have achieved.

    The image of someone taking anitbiotics to help fight an infection before going to a school board meeting to push ID in the classroom and saying ‘evolution is a fairy tale’ is one that always comes to mind.

    I agree with Owlmirror in #59, as I have always wondered how it is that, if some of the bible is only allegorical, how one goes about working out which is meant to be literal? Not to mention that, as Dawkins pointed out in TGD (I don’t imagine he was the first to do so, but it’s where I was made aware of it) if Adam and Eve and the Fall are allegorical, it negates the necessity for Jesus altogether.

  69. #69 lytefoot
    December 7, 2008

    Wow… y’know, that reminds me of one of my RPGs… we had a scene actually quite similar to the one in that last panel at one point…

  70. #70 Kel
    December 7, 2008

    The laws of spacetime as we know it and the vast distances between anything in space is enough of a reason to be sceptical about UFO sightings. The lack of substantial evidence beyond eyewitness testimony is another.

  71. #71 Nerd of Redhead
    December 7, 2008

    Neil B, the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Skeptical Inquirer has UFO’s as the theme.

    Personally, UFO’s are like god. Show me some good physical evidence for alien spaceships and I will believe them. Until that happens, they are possible, but highly unlikely. Actually I rate the possibility of UFO’s being alien spaceships higher than god existing.

  72. #72 quasarpulse
    December 7, 2008

    @#65:
    No, absolutely not. Most of us would be absolutely thrilled to get real evidence of alien visitation. We’ve been searching for evidence of alien life for decades. We want them to be here. We think they ought to be out there somewhere. We just think the people who say they already are here are ridiculous because they always, invariably, concoct some sort of conspiracy theory to explain why we can’t see any evidence.

    If you find an alien spacecraft, awesome! Let us see it! Do tests, fin out what it’s made of, take pictures, find out if it’s trying to communicate anything, get all the information you can, then put it up in the Smithsonian. If you find actual aliens, then we’ll have a chat with them. Awesome. Please, show them to us.

    But if all you’ve got is lights in the sky that can be explained quite easily by anybody who bothers to investigate what was going on in the area, or hoax videos where you can see the “flying saucer” dangling by a string, or “dreams” that nobody can independently measure or verify, or bits of a spy balloon from the ’50s…well, I’m sorry, you’ve got nothing.

  73. #73 Jason A.
    December 7, 2008

    Neil B #65
    I’m a UFO skeptic simply because I don’t believe in things for no good reason. I’m not opposed to the idea at all, I would think it completely natural that life could form on other planets, grow to intelligence and eventually travel to other stars. But the evidence for them being here (or anywhere, really) is lacking. And the simplest conclusion to draw from that is we are alone.
    Basically, when someone asks me if I believe in alien life, I just say I don’t know. No evidence for it, and no known principle which would prevent it. It’s simply an unanswered question. And from that grows my skepticism of the whole thing. ‘Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.’ And so, I consider people who are moved by unextraordinary evidence like blurry photos and shaky video to be irrational. They take it on faith just as much as someone who believes an old book of dubious origin.

  74. #74 Kel
    December 7, 2008

    Not to mention that, as Dawkins pointed out in TGD (I don’t imagine he was the first to do so, but it’s where I was made aware of it) if Adam and Eve and the Fall are allegorical, it negates the necessity for Jesus altogether.

    On the flip-side, a lot of theists use that exact same reasoning in order to reject a non-literal interpretation and thus reject the scientific explanation of our origins.

  75. #75 Emmet Caulfield
    December 7, 2008

    Neil B,

    I put UFOs and alien abductions in the same category as god(s) and magic crackers because there’s not a shred of evidence for them. Currently, there is no practical way to cross interstellar distances even in principle, and if there were LGMs flitting around the galaxy, they’d likely have something better to do than anal probing humans. Accounts of LGM encounters are no more well-attested than religious miracles: the plural of “anecdote” is not “evidence”.

    I didn’t say “life on other planets”, which is at least plausible in principle, albeit that there’s no direct evidence for that either.

    I have the same test for Earth-visiting LGMs as I have for god(s) — when I see overwhelming evidence for one, and I’m not having a psychotic episode, I’ll believe it.

  76. #76 Sastra
    December 7, 2008

    Wowbagger #68 wrote:

    It must take immense mental energy for the creationist antiscience-types to rail so much against the findings of science, especially in a world where the lifestyle – and, for many, life itself – depends on reaping the benefits of what science and scientists have achieved.

    I think that those few Young Earth Creationists with science degrees in related fields do have to expend a lot of creative mental gymnastics, but for most people, science is really very vague. They make rough analogies to what it’s like in their own life when they figure something out, and assume that that’s what science is: applied common sense. Make a guess, and see if it works. Anyone can do it.

    Real science, on the other hand, is uncommon sense. It’s a rigorous discipline which requires that every “guess” be clearly formulated and vetted through a process of systemized testing. And everything has to fit with everything else — or at least not contradict it, or you have to go back and find the mistake. Style is nice, but there better be substance.

    In people’s personal lives, you don’t have to be that consistent. Appearance is just as good as reality, and you can skim on the surface of things. And everything has to be related to the self, fit in meaningfully with goals.

    This isn’t about intelligence: it’s about the ability to be objective, and consider it a virtue. Most people think and value subjectivity. It’s how we learned to get along.

  77. #77 Emmet Caulfield
    December 7, 2008

    I wish I could remember where the study was cited but it showed that a disturbing number of self-reported christians knew next to nothing about the bible

    My favourite example of this is that 50% of American high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

  78. #78 Sastra
    December 7, 2008

    Emmett Caulfield #75 wrote:

    I put UFOs and alien abductions in the same category as god(s) and magic crackers because there’s not a shred of evidence for them.

    And, in both cases, there are multiple plausible explanations for why and how people can be easily mistaken.

    One of the things both UFO’s and Gods have in common is that both of them are part of a story that makes human beings very, very special. We have been created, or selected, out of the vastness of space for an important reason. We matter. What we do is being watched.

    In Susan Clancy’s book Abducted: How people come to believe they were kidnapped by aliens, she noted that even the people who clearly found their false memories of being abducted very stressful and traumatic said, when asked, that they were still glad that it happened. They had been selected. It “explained” their life, and showed them that they were not alone.

    Sometimes I think supernatural and paranormal beliefs are derived from our vague, deep-seated memories of waiting for Mommy to come and pick us up.

  79. #79 Owlmirror
    December 7, 2008

    My favourite example of this is that 50% of American high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

    #include <*facepalm*.h>

    “God helps those who help themselves.” – No, this is not in the Bible. In fact, it is contradicted in Proverbs 28:26: “He who trusts in himself is a fool.” The words are Ben Franklin’s.

    Actually, Franklin was paraphrasing Æsop. Sheesh. Classics FAIL.

  80. #80 Wowbagger
    December 7, 2008

    Emmett – thanks for the link; that’s a pretty good analog for what I was referring to. And the article gives away the major barrier that even the pro-religious have to educating people as to the bible’s contents – whose (or which sect’s) interpretation of the bible gets used? With over 38,000 ‘flavours’ of christianity it’s going to be difficult to reach a consensus, and that’s even before other, non-christian religions are considered. I personally favour teaching Norse pantheism ’cause, as the song goes, I like giants.

    Then, of course, there’s the likelihood of people, once they actually study the bible with anything resembling critical thought, they’re going to see it, and what’s in it, for what it is – an entirely human invention.

    Oh, and while I think of it – since we obviously know what Sodom did to Gomorrah, I think we need to find out what he got in return…

  81. #81 Zar
    December 7, 2008

    I love how the angels have this smug, Fabio, “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” expression.

  82. #82 Nemo
    December 7, 2008

    Diane G. @ #31:

    Social animal societies require too much raw labor–too many worker bees (and soldiers). Smart people are not going to happy in those castes.

    That’s why we have robots. Seriously.

  83. #83 gypsytag
    December 7, 2008

    Time is the greatest and only killer of gods.

  84. #84 Diane G
    December 8, 2008

    Diane G. @ #31:

    Social animal societies require too much raw labor–too many worker bees (and soldiers). Smart people are not going to happy in those castes.

    That’s why we have robots. Seriously.

    Maybe someday…

    I hope you’ll be right! But I doubt it myself.

  85. #85 skepsci
    December 8, 2008

    Two years later: having defeated god and reclaimed sex, they discover that people with advanced degrees in mathematics, science, and engineering really are better in bed.

  86. #86 Youster
    December 8, 2008

    hmm, why do avowed atheist get off on acting like religious persecutors of the inquisition? Cause it’s fun and funny? Yeah be a part of the problem and not part of the solution.

  87. #87 Sili
    December 8, 2008

    Tsk tsk tsk.

    You’re missing the point. The Lord God is a just god: interracial sex is an abomination!

  88. #88 TheMechanician
    December 8, 2008

    I hope so, skepsci. Got a point though, intellectual pursuits do require a certain…detachment.

    Male:female ratio in my undergraduate engineering class:

    134:3

    Only male students who actually looked at the lecturer.

  89. #89 John Morales
    December 8, 2008

    Youster @86:

    hmm, why do avowed atheist get off on acting like religious persecutors of the inquisition?

    Our tools are words, unlike the religious tools.

  90. #90 llewelly
    December 8, 2008

    My favourite example of this is that 50% of American high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

    Why small-time with mere polygamy when you can have two whole cities involved in orgies matrimonial bliss.

  91. #91 Spooky
    December 8, 2008

    science/maths types virgins?

    or is it something else?

    (NSFW link due to language and bunnies)

  92. #92 uncle frogy
    December 8, 2008

    the “discussions” are great but I thought it was a f****n joke I mean it was the absurdity of the whole thing that made it funny!

    before people thought of space aliens I was under the impression that it was “angles or the virgin or god” that came to speak to us and some times giving books of revelation. I see very little difference between any of those kinds of “visitation” stories except possibly in the acceptance of the society in which they occur.
    I am not inclined to believe the explanations of the credulous.

  93. #93 jaden
    December 8, 2008

    Nice funny site!! thumbs up!!

  94. #94 Richard Harris
    December 8, 2008

    Katharine @ # 33

    “As to the statement that the UK doesn’t have morons, I am aware they have morons, but at least they seem to have less of an impact there, …”

    Hmmmm, I think they save up their impacts for a Friday & Saturday night.

    But seriously, excessive religiosity tends to get laughed at here. Nevertheless, Government has been ‘successfully’ promoting religious schools here. (Such ‘success’ will backfire as it’s bound to cause increased sectarianism.) Religion poisons everything.

  95. #95 RickrOll
    December 8, 2008

    I remember this story in the Bible!!! It was in Genesis Ch. 11! You can feel the palpable fear of God when he says, “if they can do this, than nothing will be too much for them.” Paraphrased of course. Ironically, this was right After the Flood. Sorry if this was already pointed out, i didn’t read the comments.

  96. #96 TheMechanician
    December 8, 2008

    Richard@94

    Yes, but we have:

    bishops in the House of Lords
    established CoE
    prayer in public schools (at least at my primary)
    more small minded conservatism and conformism
    more postmodernism

  97. #97 Richard Harris
    December 8, 2008

    Mechanician, I live in a village in the West Country. There’s an annual Xmas party held in the Tithe Barn, which I’ve never attended, because I’ve always suspected that the local Xians will have introduced too much religious crap. I know they have readings & carols. I just dread the thought that they’ll have feckin’ prayers to their Bronze Age magic monster spirit man.

    This year, we’ve got family coming over from Canada, including grandkids, so we’re going.

    But regarding the wider issue of religion in public life, I belong to the NSS to combat this pernicious nonsense that poisons society.

  98. #98 RickrOll
    December 8, 2008

    I think that Prayer in public schools is fine, and even the “God in the Pledge of Allegiance” is somewhat of a piss-ant thing to get worked up over. Who really cares?
    No one takes it seriously, ecxept fundies and hard-line athiests (the problem being the similarity, not the difference therin). Sorry, i’m a pluralist. Canada has a much higher rate of atheists that the US, but they haven’t taken God out of thier national anthem (as a hockey fan, i ought to know if they did).
    Nevertheless, the fact that “God” is such a big part of American culture is what leads to the increasing apostacy; people become innoculated against it.

  99. #99 TheMechanician
    December 8, 2008

    RickrOll @98

    I suppose it is a bit trivial. I would be sympathetic to the inoculation argument except that it blinds people to the fact that there are much superior approaches to ethics. The BHA website has a lot of resources on secular ethics and it’s clear how much superior it is to religious ethical debate. Maybe the God issue isn’t the main one, but I don’t wn’t people to think that if you want to discuss serious moral issues, you have to do it in a religious context, using religious concepts and language.

  100. #100 Richard Harris
    December 8, 2008

    RickrOll,

    Some of do care about the low level of religious crap in Canada & the UK. Membership in Canadian Humanism had dropped to probably its lowest level back in the late 70′s when our Constitution was formulated, with reference to a god. There was little protest about that then. I bet there’d be a lot of protest if it were tried now.

    The point is that general societal acceptance of religious involvement in the State & civic life give succour to the extremists & fundamentalists.

  101. #101 negentropyeater
    December 8, 2008

    Talking about sex, Mary didn’t have any, apparently, that’s what I’m supposed to be reminded of today, when we celebrate in Spain one of the most crazy dogma of the Catholic Church, the Immaculate Conception.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immaculate_Conception

    The history of this particular dogma is quite funny, Sixtus IX came up with the idea in 1476 but Catholics were free to believe in it or not, then Pius X changed it to a fully fledged dogma in 1854, this is what his creative mind came up with ;

    “We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.”

    The good news is, thanks to this mindboggling stupidity, today is a holiday in Spain ! Yeeeppeee

  102. #102 TheMechanician
    December 8, 2008

    Old joke, I know, but:

    “You’re pregnant.”
    “How could that be?!”
    “It’s a miracle! I’m blessed!”

  103. #103 Matt Heath
    December 8, 2008

    Yes, but we have:

    bishops in the House of Lords
    established CoE
    prayer in public schools (at least at my primary)
    more small minded conservatism and conformism
    more postmodernism

    First three are undoubtedly teh suck. As are explicitly religious state schools. As are extra, non-Anglican religious leaders drafted into the Lords so other religions don’t bitch too much about the CofE getting all the breaks. As is the existence of the House of Sodding Lords.

    Re: the third point. I believe all state schools are still legally mandated to have a daily act of worship “broadly Christian in character” (even the few Jewish, Hindu and Muslim schools in the state system). However, in a typically British bit of fudgery, if a school fails to live up to this requirement (as my secondary failed to) absolutely nothing at all is done about it.

    On more conformism and post-modernism than the States I’m saying “citation needed”. I was of the impression that American humanities academia went rather more strongly pomo than in the UK when it was fashionable but it was considered a bit old hat in both countries now.

    Whether there is more conformism is probably dependent on exactly what you mean.

    Talking about sex, Mary didn’t have any, apparently, that’s what I’m supposed to be reminded of today, when we celebrate in Spain one of the most crazy dogma of the Catholic Church, the Immaculate Conception.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immaculate_Conception

    Immaculate Conception=/= the virgin birth or the perpetual virginity of Mary. It’s the bit about how (unlike the rest of us) when she was conceived (the usually way, by ordinary, human parents) she didn’t inherit sins that had nothing to do with her from Adam and Eve. They used some kind of a metaphysical sin condom (the only type the RCC approve of).

    In terms of Catholic, Marian madness it pales in comparison to the doctrine of the Assumption; that one has a tractor beam.

  104. #104 Ashley Moore
    December 8, 2008

    This comic is actually closer to the story of Babel, in which God (and whoever he is talking to in the story) gets scared because humans build a tower to heaven.

  105. #105 Michael
    December 8, 2008

    Wowbagger @#68

    “Not to mention that, as Dawkins pointed out in TGD (I don’t imagine he was the first to do so, but it’s where I was made aware of it) if Adam and Eve and the Fall are allegorical, it negates the necessity for Jesus altogether.”

    This is at the least highly debatable. There is a theological view going back to at least Duns Scotus that holds that the incarnation of Jesus would have been necessary even if there had been no sin. (It would have been necessary as a bridging between creation and God and as the supreme sign of God’s love for creation. Try googling “Scotus incarnation”.) Furthermore, there are interpretations of the idea of original sin other than the notion of sin being passed on as a hereditary trait from a primordial ancestor literally described in the first books of Genesis. (See for example: Original Selfishness: Original Sin And Evil in the Light of Evolution, D. Domning and M. Hellwig.)

  106. #106 MacT
    December 8, 2008

    @103 In terms of Catholic, Marian madness it pales in comparison to the doctrine of the Assumption; that one has a tractor beam.

    It’s no great step from there to a hypothesis that could account for immaculate conception: One also has a transporter.

  107. #107 Scott M
    December 8, 2008

    Tackling the angels with spaceships and robots. Reminds me of Xenosaga and Evangelion.

    Those final boss fights can be a royal pain. But with sex on the line it might be worth it.

  108. #108 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 8, 2008

    When I was taking calculus I was sure that the textbook was entitled “Particularly Difficult Mathematics.”

    In that case I damn well hope it at the very least included triple ring integrals!!! What about a little tensor?

    And there’s the weird irony of the “Fermi paradox”

    Rare Earth.

  109. #109 skepsci
    December 8, 2008

    Here’s another possibility for two years later: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20070316.gif

  110. #110 Emmet Caulfield
    December 8, 2008

    Two years later: having defeated god and reclaimed sex, they discover that people with advanced degrees in mathematics, science, and engineering really are better in bed.

    Probably because they’re sufficiently curious to find out about anatomy and give some consideration to the mechanics, biology, chemistry, and so on, differentiating them from the guys who think about a clitoris the same way they think about Antarctica: they know it’s down there somewhere, but they don’t act like they give a shit.

  111. #111 Brian X
    December 8, 2008

    I can’t be the only one interpreting this “They took our libido. We’re going to make them pay.”

  112. #112 jaden
    December 8, 2008

    Nice funny site!! thumbs up!!

  113. #113 marginalia
    December 8, 2008

    I’m with Brian X. I’d be build-a-giant-spaceship-with-deicide-lasers angry if somebody took away the sex.

  114. #114 RickrOll
    December 8, 2008

    “Tackling the angels with spaceships and robots. Reminds me of Xenosaga and Evangelion.”- Scott M

    I’m so glad someone else said this before i did! But it was begging to be said lol. Evangelion uses Kabbala as a conceptual springboard, so it might differ from the thought the artist here had in mind. Still funny. I can’t help but think i’ve seen things like this before though…

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