Pharyngula

So they’re like cyborgs, then?

Apparently, it takes a lot of artificial modification to get one’s brain into the state where it can defend religion.

i-01fbd095e8639b7b8df38c59601f40c9-the_believer.jpeg

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    February 25, 2010

    Good, except that fooling yourself (or being fooled by some “authority”) is what’s easy, while learning not to do that is what’s hard–and what science is substantially set up to do.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  2. #2 Disturbingly Openminded
    February 25, 2010

    Meh…

    Not nearly as good as the gay marriage argument flow chart a few weeks ago.

  3. #3 Serenegoose
    February 25, 2010

    PZ, I’m hurt. Cyborgs are cool.

  4. #4 Abdul Alhazred
    February 25, 2010

    Christian rock?

    Don’t fundies listen to Christian music worth listening to, such as Handel or Bach?

  5. #5 destlund
    February 25, 2010

    Someone should create an RPG character.

  6. #6 KOPD42
    February 25, 2010

    Looks like Milkman Dan.

  7. #7 arrakis
    February 25, 2010

    @destlund

    There already is something similar. It’s called the Clod – it’s a custom 3E D&D class available at adddownloads.com. I once played one in a campaign a while back.

    A quote from the description: “Clods blunder around in life, taking things as they need them. They are slow and uneducated, with all the hindrances of such failings. However, they compensate with a healthy instinct unhindered by thought. The more stupid they are, the greater their luck and ability to act without hesitation.”

  8. #8 AC
    February 25, 2010

    While this is slightly amusing, it seems to me that it’s a bit meanspirited and obnoxious to imply ALL believers (including, obviously, many people close to many of us) behave this way.

    Perhaps if it was funnier I would be willing to cut it more slack.

  9. #9 Titus Flavius Vespasianus
    February 25, 2010

    Prof. Myers,
    I sent to you an E-mail with a Word attachment containing a long conversation with a Christian, full of “educational” fallacies, a real case study. I hope you publish it. Hopefully.

    Titus Flavious Vespasianus.

  10. #10 Royce Bitzer
    February 25, 2010

    Regarding the “Smile of Duplicity,” here’s a relevant quote from Francis Collins:

    …. Evolutionary arguments, which ultimately depend on reproductive fitness as the overarching goal, may explain some parts of this human urge toward moral behavior, especially if self-sacrificing altruistic acts are done on behalf of relatives or those from whom one might expect some future reciprocal benefit. But all evolutionary models lead to the requirement for reflexive hostility to outside groups, and we humans do not seem to have gotten that memo….”

    –Introduction, Belief : Readings on the Reason for Faith, by Francis S. Collins

    Really, Dr. Collins?

  11. #11 sqlrob
    February 25, 2010

    While this is slightly amusing, it seems to me that it’s a bit meanspirited and obnoxious to imply ALL believers (including, obviously, many people close to many of us) behave this way

    Religion is logically inconsistent. How can you have believers without each bit of this diagram?

  12. #12 Disturbingly Openminded
    February 25, 2010

    Abdul @4

    No, they don’t listen to Handel or Bach. Too elitist, doncha know.

  13. #13 Insightful Ape
    February 25, 2010

    Regarding the “Audio Adaptation Unit” (AAU). It is important to remember that according to the Muslims, the “reading out” of the Koran is not just the most pleasant sound in Arabic, but in the whole world. (Some of them will even tell you that nonmuslims agree with that too). In fact that’s supposed to be one of the “miracles” of the Koran.
    When you have the AAU on everything is possible.

  14. #14 AC
    February 25, 2010

    Sqlrob @11

    People (some to most) are logically inconsistent in many of the things they do. Of course religion is too. And there’s plenty of believers who don’t demean women, love torture and suffering representations, block out all evidence, etc.

    What that diagram is describing is Ken Ham and his ilk (as opposed to my aunt and uncle, or my deceased grandmother, for example). I’ll go out on a limb and say most believers are not like him.

  15. #15 Qwerty
    February 25, 2010

    This reminds me of Richard Dawkin’s interview with Wendy Wright of the Christian group Concerned Women for America. Nothing but nothing could penetrate her Visual Faith Filter while she displayed a beauty-pagaent-winning Smile of Duplicity.

  16. #16 CunningLingus
    February 25, 2010

    AC @ 14

    What that diagram is describing is Ken Ham and his ilk (as opposed to my aunt and uncle, or my deceased grandmother, for example). I’ll go out on a limb and say most believers are not like him.

    I’ll go out on a limb also, and say most believers (including your aunt, uncle and deceased grandmother) ARE exactly like him.

    This going out on limbs is a doddle huh.

  17. #17 jan
    February 25, 2010

    Im sure I know some believers not exactly like this, meaning less cliche or retarded, but Im also sure those same believers would benefit from meditating on this poster.

    Great work. Certainly not unfunny.

  18. #18 AC
    February 25, 2010

    CunningLingus @16

    Considering how much the fundies LOVE to lump together atheists, and say things like “ALL atheists believe x” or whatnot, I’ll beg to differ. Believers are as diverse in their processes of thought, tolerance, openness, etc., as non-believers. In my opinion, of course.

  19. #19 Sastra
    February 25, 2010

    If the chart were titled “The TRUE Believer” it would probably bother people less — including the more moderate religious folks, who like to think they’ve found the “golden mean” between fanatical religious dogmatism, and and fanatical atheistic dogmatism. Not too much God, not too little; just enough.

    Of course, it’s rather hard for them to explain why the most important goal one can achieve is an absolute faith in God — and yet fanatical dogmatism is bad. It seems the distinction comes down to being right, or not.

    Royce Bitzer quotes Collins at #10:

    “But all evolutionary models lead to the requirement for reflexive hostility to outside groups, and we humans do not seem to have gotten that memo….”

    Probably because humans never got a memo on the one and only way to define who is in your group, and who is not in your group. What a shallow analysis on Collins’ part. Which, I suppose, is only to be expected from someone who admires the reasonings of C.S. Lewis.

  20. #20 CunningLingus
    February 25, 2010

    AC @ 16

    Considering that ALL believers certainly do have something in common, such as a belief in a sky fairy, of whatever ilk, no matter how diluted or weak, it’s still irrational and utterly without a shred of evidence.

    Simply saying “well those others aren’t True Christians” makes not a jot of difference, they believe in some god, and by doing so give the cretins like Ken Ham a small amount of credibility.

    As for lumping atheists together, so what, we all do have something in common, disbelief, so they’re quite accurate on that part.

    I’m getting good at going out on these limb thingies.

  21. #21 AC
    February 25, 2010

    CL @20

    I’ve lost track of what we’re arguing here… I agree with your first paragraph, I didn’t say anything related to the second, and the third doesn’t say all that much.

    To clarify- I think believing in the sky fairy is irrational and pointless, but I do NOT think believing in the sky fairy ALWAYS = intolerance + close-mindedness + gullibility + death worship + silly hats. Sometimes it does, but plenty of times it doesn’t. All it automatically means is that they believe in the sky fairy.

  22. #22 John S. Wilkins
    February 25, 2010

    Ack! Not another frigging evolutionary psychology massive modularity hypothesis!

  23. #23 Ellie
    February 25, 2010

    be sure to include the text “This is true.

    Ahhhh, I knew there was a reason I’d started praying to Dan Brown every night before bed.

  24. #24 Aquaria
    February 25, 2010

    You know what, AC? When your aunt and uncle, and all the so-called “moderate” and “sensible” believers stand in overwhelming numbers against the retards among them, when they stand up in overwhelming numbers and condemn those among them who express bigotry towards atheists and other non-Christians, when in overwhelming numbers they stop trying to tell me what I can do with my own body and in the privacy of my own bedroom, when in large numbers they stop trying to force their fairy tale delusion into every corner of American life–

    Then you can whine about whether or not these are reflective of believers.

    Until then, fuck off with the whining. Have some fucking courage and whine at them for a change, instead of expecting us to keep respecting people who can’t be bothered to respect anyone, not even themselves.

  25. #25 Insightful Ape
    February 25, 2010

    Well I think you are wrong AC.
    To quote Same Harris: it is the “moderates” that open the door to fundamentalists. By painting “faith”, i.e., credulity in the absence of evidence, as a virtue rather than the vice it is, the moderates give the likes of Ken Ham the shield they need.
    So no, I don’t think the caricature is unfair.

  26. #26 Exocrat
    February 25, 2010

    “Smile of Duplicity,” I like that a lot. I’ve been grasping for a way to describe that false look of serenity so many Christians adopt for their pub photos and glamour shots.

  27. #27 Caine
    February 26, 2010

    AC @ 14:

    I’ll go out on a limb and say most believers are not like him.

    They are though. That Psycho Sky Fairy belief of “moderate, open-minded” believers keeps the nastier elements of religions in business. They will always error on the side of “god”.

  28. #28 shonny
    February 26, 2010

    Posted by: Disturbingly Openminded Author Profile Page | February 25, 2010 3:44 PM
    Abdul @4
    No, they don’t listen to Handel or Bach. Too elitist, doncha know.

    Too complex and sophisticated, more like it. Especially Jay Seb.
    It’s like they would have to apply some thought and understanding, for which they are ill equipped.

  29. #29 Andreas Johansson
    February 26, 2010

    There’s an unwarranted assumption here that being rational is the default or natural state.

  30. #30 echidna
    February 26, 2010

    AC,

    The powerful part of the poster, for me, is the cognitive dissonance of holding a torture implement as a symbol of love. It is similar to the idea of muslim women being empowered by the burka.

    The Smile reminds me of only some religious folk, others can be quite mean-spirited.

    What bits specifically, other than the perhaps superfluous headgear and music are you objecting to with regard to ordinary Christians? Do you live in a place where religion is basically tea and biccies, without much of the invisible friend?

  31. #31 AC
    February 26, 2010

    Aquaria @24-

    Wow… I didn’t think it came across as whining. I just didn’t find the chart that funny, and a little mean spirited… it almost seems to me like making fun of the disabled. I assume that you don’t mean that any disagreement with a post here is whining- and I’ll have you know I “whine” at believers all the time. By the way- you sound like an asshole. Maybe it’s just the “fuck off” statement… I didn’t think I said anything that deserved that.

    Insightful Ape @25

    I agree about the moderates- I didn’t say anything like that. I just said that the caricature is inaccurate as a description of many people who happen to believe in the sky fairy. By the way, I’ll go so far as to say that belief in the “sky fairy” is not morally wrong (or right). It’s just the ACTIONS (teaching lies, intolerance, etc.) that often come with it that are wrong. Before I get flamed some more- I believe that NO BELIEFS OR THOUGHTS are morally right or wrong- not even the desire to do something terrible. Only actions can be wrong.

    Caine @27

    I was talking about people I know personally. I can verify that there are indeed believers that don’t spread lies, intolerance, oppression, etc. That many of these people HAVE spoken out against the likes of Ken Ham- that they have done nothing wrong. I’ll reiterate what I said above- just THINKING something is not wrong (IMO). It’s the actions. That’s all I’m saying.

    In general, I don’t like judging people by what they believe. Only by what they do. To me it seems like that caricature is judging by belief, not action. I don’t even care if someone BELIEVES homosexuals should be put to death. Until they DO something with that belief (including influence someone else), than there’s no bad stuff going on.

    Pie.

  32. #32 mattheath
    February 26, 2010

    In partial defence of Christian rock (and Christian popular music more generally), part of the reason it is so bad is that the definition seems to be “Popular music with explicitly Christian lyrics which is bad. There’s been plenty of very good popular music made with a Christian message: by Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Belle & Sebastian, Marvin Gaye, Rufus Wainwright, Johnny Cash… It’s just that no one (apparently including Christian-music people) calls this “Christian rock/pop/contemporary music”. Possibly it’s because (what with being artists with imagination) they don’t stay on message, but I like to think they are being specifically excluded for not being bad.

  33. #33 mattheath
    February 26, 2010

    It is important to remember that according to the Muslims, the “reading out” of the Koran is not just the most pleasant sound in Arabic, but in the whole world

    They say that now, but have they listened to Koranic readings that have been run through Autotune?

  34. #34 Kevin
    February 26, 2010

    In reaction to AC’s comments, I have to say that looking at it from the outside, I can see even my own, close family is a lot like this.

    I love my family tremendously, but it is stunning how they can in a single statement provide such duplicity and meanness towards an entire group of people, while still occupying a smile on their lips.

    Case in point, my father came to my apartment last week (he had some research he had to do at the National Archives.) The night before he came, I saw a ‘Facebook Fan Group’ titled “1-million people for gay marriage.” I joined it and thought nothing of it.

    The second night of his visit, he chose to ask me about it, “What was that all about?” To which I answered that there was nothing at all I saw wrong about allowing gay marriage. I told him the example I’ve seen a few times here – a married, homosexual couple traveling across state lines may find their marriage unrecognized and be unable to visit each other in the hospital if one got injured.

    His response was shocking, I couldn’t even formulate a proper rebuttal I was stunned. “Well, they’re just doing it so that they can force churches to marry them.” I did mention that Catholic churches are allowed to not marry Protestants, but he went further with “well, in (I think he said North Carolina), a gay man sued a church for not letting him take communion. They’re going to make it illegal to preach the bible.”

    After that, I think I just wolfed down my dinner and washed my dish to just get out of the argument. I couldn’t believe my father, who I’d always thought to be smart and kind, could say such… crap.

  35. #35 Wes Dodson
    March 1, 2010

    Eureka!

  36. #36 paulmurray
    March 1, 2010

    The “armour of faith” in Ephesians predates this list, and it’s every bit as cynical.

    “Spiritual warfare”, of course, is code for “winning verbal arguments”. The goal is to score hits without oneself being hit. The christians love a debate – it’s impossible to fact check during them, so it all comes down to who comes across as more sincere.

  37. #37 Douglas Watts
    March 1, 2010

    PZ this is even stupid. Correlation is not causation. You need to back away from the keyboard for awhile.

  38. #38 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2d8Q7b5rgdWlzF067pfy6atCHg--#c854e
    March 2, 2010

    Good, except that fooling yourself (or being fooled by some “authority”) is what’s easy, while learning not to do that is what’s hard–and what science is substantially set up to do.

    Funny how most on this comment track demonstrate how naive this is. Scientists are just as prone to fooling themselves as everyone else. Which is precisely why peer review exists. And being fooled by someone’s authority is one of the major shortcomings of said process. Once you have a certain name, the chance that you can get away with bullsh1t publications increases exponentially.

    The fact that most people here consider US extremist Christians and the fanatics elsewhere who make it into US media is a pretty good sign that it takes just as much ignorance of the world outside to make comments such as they abound here as to be a fanatical “Believer” – which suggests to me it’s more of a hallmark of fanaticism of any kind, religious or not.

  39. #39 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2d8Q7b5rgdWlzF067pfy6atCHg--#c854e
    March 2, 2010

    make that “The fact that most people here consider US extremist Christians and the fanatics elsewhere who make it into US media as typical believers is a pretty good sign …”

    Someone who writes science onto his coat of arms should know a thing or two about selection bias. But what was that comment about fooling oneself?

  40. #40 beelzebuddha
    March 2, 2010

    Most xians are indoctrinated at a young age. It’s similar to how children see Santa Claus… just no one ever tells xians that their bearded one isn’t real. In fact, they do the opposite — they reinforce the lie whenever they can. And, of course, xians don’t really want to question — it means they might not get their presents of eternal life and gold-paved streets after they die. Who doesn’t want eternal life?

    It’s abhorrent and diabolical – they use fear of death and the unknown as tools to convert and keep converts. It’s even worse that they offer children no alternatives — it’s a form of child abuse, if you ask me.

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