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Today was nearly the second resurrection in a row, until guest scriptwriter Josh McDowell stepped in to lend a hand. Thanks, Joshy!

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Discussion (66)¬

  1. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    The internet has to be
    A place for opinions and free
    On the web atheists
    clench virtual fists
    And stand in a puddle of pee

  2. andrea says:

    I think there’s an extra word in panel three . . . “our them” . . .

  3. Author says:

    Thanks, Andrea. Fixed it – though it might take a while to show up everywhere.

  4. Poor Richard says:

    Mo is a bit nervous, huh? I’ve always thought that, deep down, many fundies have a Skeptic in the bottom of their brain–the little snot has to be squished every day. At least, when a smaller, lighter lad, I had plenty of help with the squishing. Thus most Believers, sadly, just laugh me off before any discussion can grow. That’s why Sunday School is more dangerous than church.

    What did we do before J&M? How did we live without them?

  5. Jon B says:

    There was a fellow called Josh
    Who used to like to brainwash
    But now with the web
    He’s at a low ebb
    As the kids can see it’s all tosh

  6. WWD says:

    Just wondering why the title isn’t “JC and Mo”. Seems like Jesus is getting more respect than Mohammed. Jesus is the elder, of course.

  7. Jerry w says:

    Are they trying to tell us that there are other things on the ‘net besides porn? What a novel concept, I’ll have to look into it. Well, I’ll do it as soon as I finish checking out the newest “Elevator Girls In Bondage” update.

  8. nik says:

    At first the comic doesn’t seem that funny or piercing, but reading the linked article makes it all come together.

    Nice job author, yet again, even though you had some help on this one.

  9. Tom says:

    *hits J&M Like Button*

  10. Thanks again Author. The comments under the linked article are wonderful, and you managed to condense that article to a crystalline gem. Brilliant.

  11. keeyop says:

    Funny [sad?] that it’s the personification of the ideas that McDowell posits as a threat; “The ‘Boogey Men’ skeptics and atheists are out there, after your kids’ minds and souls…” Good old fear-mongering. Burn the libraries!

    The fact that McDowell also non-sequiturs into porn is just pathetic.

  12. FreeFox says:

    “I made the statement off and on for 10-11 years that the abundance of knowledge, the abundance of information, will not lead to certainty; it will lead to pervasive skepticism. And, folks, that’s exactly what has happened. It’s like this. How do you really know, there is so much out there… This abundance has led to skepticism.”

    It’s so funny… he actually got it… but he didn’t get it that he got it. Information, knowledge, and understanding lead to skepticism. Yes. The problem is that he still thinks that is a bad thing…

    His three tips aren’t really all that wrong: “First, we have to model the truth. If you don’t model what you teach your kids, forget it. If they don’t see it, they won’t believe it… Second, we have to build relationships. Kids don’t respond to rules. They respond to rules in the context of a loving, intimate relationship. [And third:] You better arm yourselves to answer your children’s and grandchildren’s questions…no matter what the question is…without being judgmental. Kids’ greatest defense [is] the knowledge of truth.”

    He got it… only, he didn’t get it. Rents and kids got to “arm themselves” with information… knowledge… truth… which will lead to… skepticism… ^_^

  13. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    For 2000 years they’ve been telling us to ‘Seek the Truth’, yet all of a sudden they ain’t so keen. I wonder why?
    Could it be that for the first time in those 2000 years, the REAL truth is freely available to all who seek it, and it serves to show up the lies they’ve been pedalling for millenia for what they really are?

  14. @FreeFox Your most perceptive post to date. Right on.

  15. Bill says:

    “However, McDowell said, as many as 85 to 90 percent of the evangelical Christian parents in America are not equipped to handle their kids.”

    Maybe a little low, but in the correct ballpark at least.

  16. Stephen P says:

    It’s not the first time this has happened though. Free-thought got off the ground at the end of the seventeenth century in no small part because the price of printing had dropped to a level where ordinary people could afford to have pamphlets printed and could distribute them about town*. Now ordinary people can afford to distribute information around the world.

    * For which fact I am indebted to Thomas Levenson’s excellent book “Newton and the Counterfeiter”.

  17. Sondra says:

    “…equal access to your kids as your youth pastor…”
    So what’s the deal?
    Is he afraid your kids will be molested by non-liturgical persons?

    I am not a spammer, I swear.

  18. Daoloth says:

    Yes, one place of gross sexual immorality–in the teeth of christian and muslim bigotry–can be found here: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/
    People will have access to your kids and dare to tell them that they should not be persecuted and even driven to suicide for their sexual orientation. Curse you internet for opening eyes!

  19. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    In the manner of ‘Godwin’s’ and ‘Poe’s’ et al. I propose ‘WOO’s Law’ (Wizard of Oz), along the lines of ‘As ease of access to scientific information increases, the louder the religious leaders’ shouts of “DO NOT LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN” become’.

  20. grouchy-one says:

    +1!

  21. Daoloth says:

    @ Acolyte. Lets not leave out some of the so-called “atheists” like Raymond Tallis. http://tiny.cc/1s90t I have met him and he is no more an atheist than Mother Teresa–its an act to try to convince people that there is nothing behind the curtain.

  22. James says:

    For those familiar with the Hawaii 5-0 TV show, Book ‘em Dano!

  23. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    @Daoloth, I saw that book a couple of days ago; he struck me then as an ‘I’m an atheist but-’ sort.
    I don’t understand the special pleading for humans to be something more than just another animal, abeit one that got lucky, as if our self-awareness, conciousness and intelligence isn’t enough to set us apart. Just look at this, from the book description (Aping Mankind. Raymond Tallis/Acumen Publishing)
    ” To explain everyday behaviour in Darwinian terms and to identify human consciousness with the activity of the evolved brain denies human uniqueness, and by minimising the differences between us and our nearest animal kin, misrepresents what we are, offering a grotesquely simplified and degrading account of humanity.”
    What’s so fucking ‘degrading’ about being a product of nature? It’s not as if it’s a new argument either. I don’t have the books to hand but I recall that Richard Leakey slammed it in ‘Origins Reconsidered; In Search Of What Makes Us Human’, in 1992, and I think that Jared Diamond also had a dig in ‘The Rise And Fall Of The Third Chimpanzee’, also in 1992. In both cases, it was a reaction to those paleontologists, anthropologists etc. who were insistant that our split from the African ape lineage occured over 20 million years ago, simply because the accepted timeline put humans too close to chimps and gorillas for comfort.
    So I guess ‘WOO’s Law’ should read:
    “The easier the access to scientific data, the louder the special pleading for exemption from truth”.

  24. Daoloth says:

    @Acolyte. I asked Tallis straight out what sort of process explained how humans suddenly acquired this spilt from the rest of nature. He just babbled about determinism and reductionism. At least he didn’t go for the usual social science non-explanantion of just saying “culture” and then sitting there with a smug look.

  25. Peakcrew says:

    @ Acolyte of Sagan: You ask, “For 2000 years they’ve been telling us to ‘Seek the Truth’, yet all of a sudden they ain’t so keen. I wonder why?” You have simply forgotten that there is “truth” and “Truth”. Rational people deal in the former, which is open, often verifiable, usually amenable to change, and belonging to no-one. The latter is none of those things, and is the preserve of moonbats of every religious stripe.

  26. Stephen Turner says:

    Raymond Tallis was on Start the Week a few weeks back, and was on about how humans are different because of a community of minds. Or something.

    In general it’s not access to information that counts, but rather the attention paid to it.

  27. FreeFox says:

    I never understood why the Wizard of Oz makes such a great example for this sort of thing. Yes, his booming voice was some aparatus and he hid his unassuming, unimpressive exteriour form hidden behind a curtain. But he did get Dorothy home, he did reveal the truth about the scarecrow, the lion and the tin-man to themselves and helped them reach their potential. He did have power, including that which the others gave him, but definitely power of his own. So if he is a metaphor for some deity or religin, I’m not certain he’s the metaphor you’re making him out to be. He’s not a fraud. He’s just not what the public expected him to be.

    As for the law, it seems a bit redundant, because in essence it just says: The more peeps look behind the curtain the more those hiding what’s behind it (or not behind it) will protests. Like, d’uh. Of course they do. It would be more inestesting to find out what it is they protect and what they get out of it?

  28. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Daoloth; I’m not in the habit of commenting on books that I haven’t read, but in this case I think that I can pretty much sum it up without having to dip into the tome in question. I will however make a point of getting my mitts on a copy at a later date, and if my assumptions prove to be wrong, I’ll have no problem with coming back and saying so.
    So, here is what I’d lay money on the book containing;
    a) Refutation of the currently accepted scientific theories of human evolution in line with other animals, and of consciousness & the mind.
    This will be done without the use of scientific counter-argument, and will instead be ‘achieved’ by argument from incredulity, albeit in a flowery, obscurantist, postmodernist-type prose.
    b) The author’s hypothesis will centre around the anthropocentric view that because Homo Sapiens possesses self-awareness, morality, intelligence, etc. that is so far above and beyond the rest of the animal kingdom, then it follows that H. Sap should not be classified as animal.
    c) There is a ‘something’ working outside of the natural order that gives H. Sapiens alone the special qualities outlined in ‘b’.
    d) This ‘something’ will be ‘beyond the limits’ of what science can know, and the author will ‘explain’ why by using the methods as per point ‘a’ above.

    So in a nutshell, it’ll be ‘Ignore the science, we’re special because we were made special, our ‘specialness’ is unique to us, it didn’t come to us through the usual evolutionary route, it cannot be explained or detected by scientific means, and if you don’t understand the non-explanations put forward in the book then you’re too stupid to understand it’.
    All I have to do now is wait until the book is in the ‘bargain bin’ at the bookshop……..shouldn’t be too long!

    @Peakcrew; My question was purely rhetorical (as, I suspect, was your response to it). They’re shitting themselves now that access to facts is so universally easy because the facts show that scientific truth and biblical ‘Truth’ are incompatable, and more and more people are deciding to go with the science.
    To paraphrase Paul Weller: ‘Lights come on, walls come tumbling down’.

    Sorry for the epic posts; I much prefer brevity but fools like Tallis really get my back up.
    Good Author, please feel free to slap me down if I’m getting boring.

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    @Freefox. I think the ‘Oz’ metaphor works because when all the mystery is stripped away we see that there is no need for magic and for faith in the unknown; we peeps can sort ourselves out perfectly well if we put our minds to it. Yes, he got Dorothy home..using human technology. and yes, he helped the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion..with good old human insight. The trouble is that religious leaders and people like Tallis are insistant on keeping the curtain because the truth isn’t what they want to believe, or what they want us to believe.

  30. Ketil W.Grevstad says:

    :-) :-) i like this one

  31. Annonnymouse says:

    Skeptics? Please tell me Jesus and Mo haven’t moved to the US!

  32. FreeFox says:

    Freefox <3 Annonnymouse ^_^

  33. Daoloth says:

    @ Acolyte. You give Tallis too much credit. He argues like the foil in a Tim Minchin song. “Science doesn’t know everything…and anyway…quantum…so there!”
    I asked him what process had produced souls, things which do not obey the laws that the rest of the universe follows (apparently) and he just said that we has “transcended our biology”. By which he means we are not animals–or desperately hopes that we are not. In a similar vein, Goldacre once told me that he would believe what evolutionary psychologists said “on the day that they came and shat in [his] garden at a party”. I promise you this is a direct quote in front of many witnesses.
    Why does no one say that we have transcended our physics? I guess because this would be more obviously daft.
    No, wait–I forgot– “quantum! quantum! quantum!”

  34. Peakcrew says:

    @ Acolyte of Sagan: Yep, I realised that your question was rhetoric, but I’ve been waiting for a chance to join in the conversations here, and it was the first chance I’ve had to say something witty but meaningful (well, the comment seemed that way to me!)

    P.S. I’ve just realised how clever your nom de plume is …

  35. Daoloth says:

    More material to make funnies out of:
    http://tiny.cc/ango0
    How sexual apartheid works in Islam

  36. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    @Peakcrew. I’m pretty new here myself but they’re a welcoming bunch (for a bunch of rabid atheists, that is), so you just carry on chipping in with your ten-penn’orth, stridency’s not compulsory but always gratefully accepted.

    @Daoloth. I’ve just been looking at that on RD.net; comments had barely begun before the first apologist twonk leapt in to defend the stoopid (it’s just harmless tradition, it’s only a veil, the kids look happy, yadayadayada). Fucking sinister, backward, bronze-age bollocks I say. It’s high time they were dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
    Forget bombing them into submission, that’s never going to work on people who see death as a promotion, instead I propose parachuting in a crack team of militant feminists, led by Germaine Greer, with Janet Street-Porter her 2 i/c. Then we’ll see how tough those imams really are!

  37. the net is the biggest letter to the editor page, except there’s no editor

    but the real threat isn’t the non-beleivers – it the inability of religion to compete in a marketplace of ideas when any one religion no longer monopoligizes a region

  38. Stephen Turner says:

    J&Mers might enjoy the comic book “Mohammed’s Believe It or Else”, available here:
    MALWAREWEBSITE

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    “Stephen Turner says:
    July 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm
    J&Mers might enjoy the comic book “Mohammed’s Believe It or Else”, available here:
    http://www.MALWAREDETECTED

    Excellent comic, manages to be funny by using nothing more than illustrations to the text.
    Not a threat to J&M though, you can’t beat a pun.

  40. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Daoloth, re “Goldacre once told me that he would believe what evolutionary psychologists said “on the day that they came and shat in [his] garden at a party”;
    Do you not know an evo-psych who could be persuaded to take Goldacre up on his promise? If it took a financial persuasion I’m sure we’d all chip in.

  41. Daoloth says:

    @Acolyte. I don’t get invited to Goldacre’s parties. I don’t move in the Godlike circles of those who get to pronounce on what is good or bad in the whole of science, alas. I did once have the honour of asking his holiness what his problem was in applying evolutionary principles to human behaviour and he said “Some of evo psych is well dodge.” What a man.

  42. Peakcrew says:

    Re: “Goldacre once told me that he would believe what evolutionary psychologists said “on the day that they came and shat in [his] garden at a party”. Is this the Ben Goldacre, who regards himself as the sole arbiter of “bad” science? Does he realise that, by stating that he would would be persuaded of the correctness of an argument not by appropriate proof, but by a stupid act utterly unconnected with the issue, he undermines his own stance?

    I confess, I don’t understand the anti-evolutionists, whether they are at the fundamentalist end (6000 years and all God’s work), or in the pseudo-scientific “transcended biology” camp. The latter are worse – at the least the former argue consistently, once their initial premises are taken into account. The latter are just plain wrong, logically and observably.

  43. Karl says:

    1900 years of Christian apologists — will they ever just come out and say what they did that they’re apologizing FOR?

  44. FreeFox says:

    I am not quite certain I understand the problem people have here with Mr. Goldacre. His arguments here ( http://www.badscience.net/2007/08/pink-pink-pink-pink-pink-moan/ ) against the evolutionary psychologist explanation seems quite solid. And I must say, as a queer I have heard my share of “evolutionary explanations” that were nothing but a new dress for old homophobia. Evolutionary psychology, especially the way it is reported in the press and used as arguments by the public seems to have a lot less to do with science and a lot more with finding pseudo-scientific arguments for conservative ideas. But attacking those ideas does not make one an opponent of evolutionary theory, nor of science…

  45. Peakcrew says:

    @FreeFox – Goldacre was taking one study (which I do think was badly constructed, and insufficient to support the claims that were reported), and using it to have a pop at an entire field of science which he doesn’t agree with. That is “bad science” on his part. He does the same with climate science, choosing to pick holes in reports that don’t support his own view, whilst ignoring what seem to be big problems with reports do.

    If he is putting himself up as the arbiter of what science is good or bad, then he has to be even-handed in his criticism. He also needs to careful in his comments regarding what it takes for him to accept a theory, and the toilet habits of guests at his parties are not relevant to assessing anything, except manners.

    If evolution is accepted – and there is no other scientifically provable theory around at the moment – then the evolutionary value of psychological aspects of life are relevant areas of study. Regarding homosexuality, which you mention, since there seems to be a fairly stable number of homosexuals in any given (human) population, there must be/have been some evolutionary advantage to the population as a whole. To me, the fact that a trait that tends towards non-reproductive individuals is still in the genome means that there is a clear advantage. How that equals “finding pseudo-scientific arguments for conservative ideas” is a bit beyond my grasp.

  46. Daoloth says:

    @Peakcrew. I could not have put it better. Physicists also get a hard time with people getting hold of cod bits of quantum mechanics or cosmology and “using” them to bolster silly political views. Devil, as always, is in the detail. None of the fuckers can even count worth a damn. Apart from Dembski, I admit.
    @ Freefox. We are just getting on with the science and letting the pop characters get on with the misunderstandings. Probably a politically bad move but most of us don’t have a taste for that sort of thing. E.g., unlike dear old Goldacre, we are not media whores.
    If you want something that just uses evolutionary theory as a given (I mean, what is the alternative? “Creationist Psychology”?) and tests various hypotheses generated by it in interesting, entertaining and informative ways might I suggest “A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the world’s largest experiement reveals about human desire”?
    It’s not written by psychologists–but by computational neuroscientists who have analysed internet searches as a way in to analysing human desire. Smart, informative and up to date.
    Finally, who are the people who have told you that homophobia is demanded/validated by evolutionary theory? I’ll get ‘em for ya! Seriously–listen to Dan Savage’s (he of the “it gets better” campaign) podcasts. He regularly gets evo psych people on, is well informed, humane, and as gay as the 1890s. One of the good guys. Seriously–check him out. http://tiny.cc/f3z4z
    Tell me what you think.

  47. Daoloth says:

    @Peakcrew. Oh, I should have said– the persistence of something genetic (as homosexuality, indeed–all sexuality, undoubtedly is) does not of itself establish a direct adaptation. For example there could be heterozygous advantage.
    Say a set of gene cluster alleles (on XQ28-why not? That’s what Levay found) makes females (under certain epigentic conditions) enter puberty earlier but inclines males towards homosexuality. Such a allele set will be favoured in some ecologies, but only be reproductively advantageous to the females that inherit it. The males that inherit it get to have their desires for free, as it were–they have no direct reproductive advantage. Should they care? Nope. We get lots of stuff as by-products (e.g. reading and writing have probably not been around long enough for direct selection), and these things are none the worse for that. The contrapositive is also true–lots of things have been selected for (e.g. violent and possessive male sexual jealousy looks like a good candidate) and that does not make them desirable, inevitable or something that we cannot curb with sensible laws and cultural practices.

  48. FreeFox says:

    @Peakcrew: Hm. I see what you mean about Mr. Goldacre. It seems a bit harsh though, I mean, he’s a journalist. He writes to be read. To be read he is polemic. And being a journalist he often is wrong. But it seems to me he is worlds above mainstream media, and his overall message seems to comperatively acceptable.

    @Daoloth: I suppose as with a lot of theories, it always depends on how sceptical, researched, critical you apply it. I mean, obviously evolution has shaped our brains, and our brains are intimately linked with our psychology, so our psychology comes out of our evolution. But it is one thing to say that, for example, our biology leads to humans creating culture, and anther to try to explain every little bit within that culture directly and solely out of biology, in the way that, say, the mechanisms of Half-Life are grounded in the technology of whatever computer you run it on and thereby in the development of computer technology, but not ever element of the games are dictated by that technology.

    The way evolutionary psychology is presented is often on that “girls love pink because neolithic women picked berries” level, which is patently pseudo-science and just a really silly way to legitimise ideology. But I guess “real” scientists use it on a very different and much more realistic level. At least, I hope they do. But since I suspect their results are far less suitable to make simple-minded sweeping statements, they don’t get the same sort of media coverage. (But that is what you meant about the reading/writing not being part of selection, right? That there is stuff that doesn’t rise directly out of some immediate procreation advantages, but is just some side effect in a complex system?)

    As for homophobia, this simple minded “just so” story approach to evopsych lead in my experience a lot f peeps to simply exchange “it’s against the will of God” for “it’s against the will of nature”, and change “wicked” into “unnatural”.
    I like your allele-side-effect theory, but frankly I am beginning to doubt that there is ONE explanation. I mean, we only have four options: Crave opposite sex, crave same sex, crave both sexes, and not crave anything. (Yeah, there’s also critters and stuff, but you know what I mean.) So there might be a zillion factors and reasons to want any of those, and they will always fall into those few simple groups, without having to be at all related by origin or causality or so. So maybe some of us are queer bc of such an allele-side-effect, others bc of hormonal imbalances in our mum’s uterusses, other’s bc we couldn’t bond w our daddies, some maybe got some gene that makes us so, and others just chose it bc negotiating fun is simpler with someone who has the same equipment, etc. (And given the few possibilities of what gender you want to screw, the constant number of “deviatins” from the procreative norm doesn’t HAVE to serve any purpose. Maybe that 3-10% is simply the acceptable error quota that doesn’t hinder human – or any mammal or vertebrate – population growth. I for one have ‘transcended my biology’ enough to not really need a biological legitimisation for loving to get buttfucked. ^_^ I can live with being genetic ejecta.)

  49. Peakcrew says:

    @Daoloth: Thanks for the high praise :-)

    My point regarding homosexuality was not intended to be comprehensive, though I didn’t make my point very clear. I was trying to say that evolutionary theory can give a very positive reason for the continuing existence of homosexuality, which organised belief-systems routinely fail to do. At least evolutionary explanations can be tested and changed.

    @FreeFox – Yes, Goldacre is a journo, but if he has a column called “Bad Science”, he has an implied duty to be even-handed. If he isn’t, he can be, and is, called a hypocrite.

    Again, regarding homosexuality (or, perhaps, we should be talking about sexuality), the whole thing is so very fraught with variations that there is certainly a whole range of factors, from conception through all the way through to adulthood. I believe one of the current theories is that the key point in deciding a tendency to homosexuality is the amount of oestrogen in the mother’s bloodstream in the first trimester. This has nothing to do with the genetic makeup of the foetus, and is purely environmental. Equally, choice has a great deal of relevance – there have been many men and women who have held what seemed to be perfectly heterosexual lives, including having children, who were later discovered to have had long-standing homosexual relationships, or to have chosen to do so later in life.

    The whole sphere of sexuality is fascinating – just look at a list of fetishes and paraphilias to see what I mean. There is no such thing as a “normal” sex life, because there is so much variation in what people find arousing. I find it so hard to understand how anyone can say that, as long as it is between fully consenting partners, any form of sexual activity is “wrong”.

  50. one thing that the internet has done is to allow everyone to know that they aren’t alone – no matter what you are and feel – the internet allows you to find others like yourself

    and more, to allow people to know that they know people like that

    it cuts both ways, good in that it at once makes gay teens know that you can be a happy and successful gay person – but it also affords community to people with anti-social or criminal behaviours

    but overall, it’s good because it increases the sense of community that anyone can access – we are no longer limited to the immediate environment

    the internet made the world smaller and with enough participation, people can stop seeing their local environment as being the way to be and see that there’s many ways to be – the internet is the social leveler, the tool by which people can really begin to relate multiculturally and realize that most cultures are equally valid and provide for thriving and productive societies

    and to demonstrate how represessive culturals – be they religiously or politically repressed – do not have thriving, inventive or productive/progressive societies

    the internet is the collective pool of knowledge and consciouness of humanity – the next enlightenment to push religion and extreme ideology to the darker recessess of society

  51. Daoloth says:

    @ FF & PC. Sure–why would there be one route to homosexuality, any more than there is one route to heterosexuality? These things are extended phenotypes with a large (but not that large) number of genetic and epigenetic sources. Even choice plays some part in situational homosexuality, for example–although I would argue that choice plays little role in desire.
    Especially at FF- might I suggest you have some innocent fun at the expense of the next idiot who tries to run a natural = good argument at you, by directing them to this: http://tiny.cc/cea9b ?
    And I meant what I said about Dan Savage–I really would be interested to know what you think of him

  52. Daoloth says:

    I would also like to warn all the proper scientists about a lousy pseudo-science article I recently came across:
    http://boa.unimib.it/handle/10281/16719
    It used a pitifully small sample size ( n = 6), controversial techniques (averaging fMRI–known to be especially suspect with small samples) and used a just-so story to “answer” a question we already knew about cerebral hemispheric functional heterogenity.
    Pah. Bad science.
    It also lies behind a firewall so you cannot read it without access-relying on crusading champions like Goldacre to bring it to our notice. I am sure that it can only be a question of time before it receives his eager attention.
    Oh, all right–I’ll stop now. But see how easy it is? Firing cheap shots like this is not how we do science. At least, not how we should do it.

  53. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ Nina – Agreed!

  54. John M says:

    @annonnymouse

    ‘Fraid so. There’s also “leveling” in frame#4 so that’s half the comic moved across the Pond.

  55. FreeFox says:

    @ Daoloth: I’ve known Dan Savage before and I can’t say I’m a fan. No particular point of criticism or anything. Just that his style feels to me a bit too, um, bitchy for bitchinesses sake. I love a really smart, really caustic queen, but to me Savage mostly goes a bit too far without going any where far enough, you know?

    The SMBC is really funny. But I think that of most small-minded idiots anyway… the world is such a marvellous, huge, complex thing… so mindblowingly bigger and more complex and more terrifyingly beautiful than they can at all imagine… I think of all the places I’ve been, of all the love and fights I’ve been in… and I can just smile and pity them for cutting themselves off from all these wonders by thinking they have a grasp on how the world is…

    Of course when I was a snot-nosed, angry twelve and thirteen year old in Kreuzberg, and had to come terms with the fact that I was what all my mates considered a fate worse than death, I wasn’t laughing. I was only filled with all the horrible sterotypes and silly values regarding queers and manliness and sissiness and all that crap, and having a self-loathing married fag as a bio teacher who prided himself in his “scientificness” and wholy subscribed to that idiotic simpleminded evopsych approach and used it to justify his homophobia… well… it may have given me an unfair bias regarding that science. :P

    (Of course such peeps wouldn’t GET the comic, bc they wouldn’t be able to see their own fucked-up-ness.)

    Btw, I just wanted to say, no matter how much we might ever disagree on something… your brilliant low-key crypto-Lovecraftian handle (with lovely British lit overtones, and alluding to the unbearable immense complexity of the world) would forever keep you in my highest regards. ^_^

  56. @ Haggisfor Brains – 8)

    Re: Dan Savage – I liked his early column “Hey Faggot” better than “Savage Love” – I think he got a bit soft after he and his partner became parents

    while he is sensible most of the time, I’d like him to be wayyy bitchier than he is now

    new topic – here’s an interesting site that the news brought to my attention:

    http://worldwithouthate.org/3.html

    this fellow was shot in a post 9/11 hate crime and tried to get his attacker’s death sentence (he killed 2 people) commuted to life in prison

    It’s astonishing to see someone who can live up to the ideals of what they say their religion says

  57. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ Nina – yes, that is quite humbling. I’ve always been against the death penalty, but mainly because of the fallibility of any legal system. In the UK there have been several cases in my lifetime where executed murderers have subsequently been cleared, and other cases where the return of the death penalty has been called for, only for the convicted again to be found not guilty on later appeal.

    Arguably a life spent in prison (at least for me) would be a worse punishment than execution, but at least one would have plenty of time to try to clear one’s name.

  58. Max says:

    Generic fan mail from someone who just plowed through the full archive in 3 days: you rule, Author.

  59. HaggisForBrains says:

    Congratulations, Max, and welcome to the gathering.

  60. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oh wise and noble Author, pray tell why I am unable to leave a comment on the ensuing ‘Girls’ comic.

  61. Author says:

    @AoS – There’s a brief explanation in the final comment of that thread.

  62. Peakcrew says:

    Illustrious Author – since there are no comments remaining on the “Girls” thread, could you enlighten us here?

  63. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    @Peakcrew.
    Because the boys and girls couldn’t play together nicely, Author grounded them (and I don’t blame him one bit).
    A new comic would be nice though.

  64. Peakcrew says:

    Thanks, AoS. It is good to see a moderator that will actually do the right thing sometimes. I didn’t see past the first ten or so postings, and hadn’t realised things had got silly. I must have got too used to the civilised but challenging to-and-fro on this site!

  65. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Peakcrew; if you click on ‘Last>>’ under this comic, you should be able to see the full comment thread. It does get rather silly and, as you said, nothing like the civilised to-ing and fro-ing we usually enjoy here.
    On a side note, have you seen the Brazilian atheist posters that RD.net’s showcasing? They’re bloody brilliant.
    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/642420-these-atheist-billboards-in-brazil-get-right-to-the-point

  66. xtreme no says:

    Incredible points. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the great spirit.

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