Today’s script is thanks to Walter Kaufmann (1921-1980). The quote, which is heavily edited in the barmaid’s speech, was spotted and posted by Jerry Coyne at Why Evolution is True. Thanks!

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Discussion (75)¬

  1. im don says:

    My best wishes for Jesus and Mo

  2. AtheistLawyer says:

    As a lawyer I kinda feel insulted…even though there are similiarities

  3. machigai says:

    I hope that last panel makes it onto a t-shirt.

  4. WalterWalcarpit says:

    What a brilliant observation. Two birds with one stone. I’m with machigal on the T-shirt

  5. Acolyte of sagan says:

    A genuine belly-laugh from this one. Thanks, Author.

    But, loath as I am to criticise your work (in fact, this is the first time), I have to say that Barmaid’s final sentence, from “and as a last resort..” is quite clumsy. In my opinion it would flow better without “after all”, or by apsotrophisng it so it reads “…content with a reasonable doubt that, after all, the doctrines that you defended….”.

  6. Acolyte of sagan says:

    Oops, my apologies, Author, I’ve just followed the link to WEIT where I discovered that the clumsy sentence was Kaufmann’s.

    Faith restored 😉

  7. jerry w says:

    The Lawyers Guideline:
    If you can’t blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.
    Res ipsa loquitur pro se, Ipso facto, et cetera, yatta yatta yatta,

  8. Author,
    This is a really good strip, but Bar Maid really missed the most important way that lawyers and religious apologists are the same.

    They each have an a priori truth established and then attempt to find facts and arguments that line up with that assumption.

    I use the scientific method for a living. I am also the lead/ mentor for my group. The eye opener that I always have to teach new people that join my team has two parts: 1) although I am in charge, I am not necessarily right. If my ideas can be shown to be in conflict with data then my hypothesis has failed. 2) Unless your idea comes along with a description of the potential data that would falsify it, it is not a hypothesis. It is just bullshit.

    So the way that science handles ideas is almost the exact opposite of the way lawyers and religious apologists handle it. Science: Assume you are wrong. Search for the data to prove that but just kind of notice affirming data. Lawyers and apologists: Assume you right. Search for the data to prove that, ignore contradictory evidence.

    While I love to pick on lawyers, in all fairness let’s note that after each lawyer presents data exactly as if he were an apologist, the judge fills the role that a scientist fills.

  9. Kaufmann is an interesting writer. He was a Nietzsche scholar and translator but he also wrote on philosophy and tragedy, and philosophy and religion. Worth reading.

  10. Geoff Whelan says:

    As I lawyer I object to being compared to a theologian.

  11. Don says:

    Objection over-ruled.

  12. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    There is a punishment with every good deed.
    When kings and theologians started to inbreed.
    The resulting bastardized curse.
    Made government and religion very much worse.
    Through legally sanctified taxes, tithes and greed.

  13. Don says:


    Makes sense to me.

  14. MarkyWarky says:

    NBH, that wouldn’t make any sense if it was written in prose, let alone appallingly bad rhyme.

    I think you’re actively trying to come up with verse that doesn’t scan now. If so, you’ve excelled this time.

    Give it up mate; you’re just bothering electrons for the sake of it now.

  15. smee says:

    Surely you mean two turds with one stone?. Lawyers and theologians.

  16. Dan says:

    Regrettably I can’t imagine how we can entirely do without lawyers.

  17. Acolyte of sagan says:

    Dan says:
    February 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm
    Regrettably I can’t imagine how we can entirely do without lawyers.

    There are good and bad lawyers, just as there are good and bad bacteria. We can’t entirely do without bacteria either, but it never stopped us killing the bad ones.

  18. Dan says:


    Even if all the lawyers were good ones, it would be a better world if we didn’t need any.

  19. Acolyte of sagan says:

    True, Dan, but that’s a Utoipia that we aren’t going to see, what with human nature being what it is. Still, treating bad lawyers as we treat bad bacteria sounds like a hobby waiting to happen.

  20. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Smee, two turds maybe, but I’d then be wondering about the third.

    In the meantime this has occurred to me: didn’t theologians study law?
    I have never fully understood this and I don’t think it will take participants here long to clarify matters, but if I am not mistaken in the Anglican church at least if one wanted to become a minister one went up to university to read law?

    (to be honest there’s a heap of langutherein the latter part of that sentence thatI don’t quite get and perhaps it has changed since Jane Austin but I think it is all gramatically correct)

  21. WalterWalcarpit says:

    * language there in *

  22. WalterWalcarpit says:

    AoS killing bad law is a long-time hobby of mine.
    Author’s too, I imagine.

  23. Acolyte of sagan says:

    WWc, I’d get no pleasure in killing bad law; the bad lawyers would only find new ones to corrupt. Instead, if we could kill get rid of the bad lawyers, the rest should take care of itself.

  24. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Sorry, can’t do that; I’m a Pacifist.

  25. WalterWalcarpit says:

    And I’m sorry that I aparantly apologised for that.

  26. JA scher says:

    I move for summary judgement, barmaid!

  27. The big difference between lawyers and theologians: There are good and useful lawyers.
    Geoff Whelan, objection sustained.

  28. J Ascher says:

    Half a brain, half a brain
    Half a brain onward!
    Into the Valley of Death
    Rode the Septuagint
    Forward! Light Believers!
    Charge for the apostates, he proclaimed
    Into the Valley of Death
    Rode the Septuagint!

  29. Acolyte of sagan says:

    WalterWalcarpit says:
    February 21, 2013 at 12:05 am
    Sorry, can’t do that; I’m a Pacifist

    I wasn’t seriously advocating a pogrom on the legal profession, Walter. I may not be a pacifist* but even I think that that would be going too far.

    *In a Utopian world, yes, but not in this one. I don’t condone violence at all, but there is a time and place for it, so in a choice between me or mine getting hurt or wrapping an iron bar round the back of an attacker’s forehead, it’s the bar every time.

    J Ascher, I like that. Very deep indeed.

  30. smee says:

    There’s something seriously wrong with a society when whether you or not you receive justice depends on the depth of your pockets. You’ve only to review past cases to see that the Bar council is corrupt and immoral.

  31. omg says:

    Excuse me to be out of context…
    I read that there is protest in the USA again the cardinal Mahony going to Rome to elect the new pope. I’m just thinking: if every cardinal that protected the priests who have comited childs abuse couldn’t go to the next conclave, then there will be very few cardinals to elect the new pope…

  32. MarkyWarky says:

    @omg, which is a bad thing because……?

    Don’t forget, the same cardinals are also candidates 🙂

  33. hotrats says:

    Christopher Hitchens once said that he liked it when a new Pope was elected, because it meant that for a few weeks, nobody on Earth was infallible.

  34. Don says:

    This from the Guardian would suggest voting cliques among cardinals are out of control.


  35. Acolyte of sagan says:

    Quiz time:
    What’s the connection between baculi (or os penii), spider monkeys, two Jewish scholars / theologians (on topic, you’ll notice), the Biblical account of Genesis, the raphe, and the American Journal of Medical Genetics?

    I’ll save the answer for tomorrow, unless one of you clever buggers works it out in the meantime.

  36. hotrats says:

    Just noticed that Sagan lost its capital in your nick…
    As for your puzzle, I don’t mind a little good-natured ribbing between friends. Let’s see if anyone else gets it.

  37. Myrhinne says:

    Fortunately the law can be criticised and it can be changed. Also the lawyer cannot set the burden of proof although their are some well known dirty tricks, especially in rape trials.

    I noticed during my law degree that a lot of traditional legal theory resembles theology. Fortunately, realistic approaches are more common these day.

    For those above engaging in lawyer hate, remember that oppressive regimes do kill the lawyers, those who aren’t compliant anyway.

  38. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I assume you know the connection already, hotrats, so thanks for giving others a chance of playing; very sporting of you. I’ll confirm the answer later tonight.
    No idea how the lower case* ‘s’ crept in there; that’s almost sacrilege.

    *Quiz 2, this one very simple;
    Why do we refer specifically to upper- and lower- case letters?

    Myrhinne, we don’t really hate the lawyers so much as that part of human nature that makes lawyers a neccessity. Since the lawyers are a physical manifestation of that part of our nature, we find it easier to direct our vitriol in their direction rather than projecting it inwards. Ditto politicians.
    Shit! Now I’ve started philosophising 😉

  39. omg says:

    Acolyte of Sagan :
    For your second quiz, upper and lower case came from the French in the printing industry. When they use to build text with letters that where in box (cases) the upper case (majuscules) where in boxes at the top since they where farther and harder to reach (but less used). The lower case (minuscules) where in the lower boxes (lower case) the ones faster to reach since there is more lower case than upper case.
    Excuse my bad English, but I think that I answer your riddle.

  40. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    The perfect answer, omg.

    Now for the answer to the first quiz. It’s a little rambling (as befits an answer from a Meanderthal) but stay with it, it all makes sense in the end.

    The males of all primate species (indeed almost all mammalian species, but let’s stick with primates) have a penis bone – the bacula or os penis, with the exception of spider monkeys and humans.
    Biblical Hebrew has no word for penis, a fact that led two Jewish scholars (Gilbert and Zevit, in an article in the AJMG in 2001) to suggest that Eve was made from Adam’s bacula rather than his rib, their reasoning being that men and women have an equal amount of ribs, but men have no penis bone.
    And the raphe? This is the apparent ‘scar’ that runs down the underside of the penis and scrotum, and is according to Gilbert and Zevit the scar left from where god ‘closed up the flesh’ of Adam after removing the bone.
    (with thanks to John Lloyd’s Book of General Ignorance, QI Ltd. 2006)
    That’s me convinced by all that science. I’m as kosher as Christmas all the way from now on 🙂

  41. Mary2 says:

    Thanks for that AOS. I got as close as ‘rib’ from hotrats’ clue and, by ‘googling’ now know a lot more about penises (and spider monkeys) than I ever thought I would want to. Love the theology: makes a lot more sense than Eve emerging from a rib.

  42. AofS I knew about upper and lower case though not the reason why (thanks for that omg) but the penis bone theology was news to me, and quite hilarious. This is the best local on the planet. Cheers mates.

  43. BTW I’ve read, though who knows where, that the number of ribs in both men and women can vary. This information was imparted by a biology teacher who was constantly being confronted by fundies who were sure that men have one less rib than women. He tried to find evidence that they don’t and was surprised to learn that his slapdown could not be delivered as biological fact. Strange, is it not. I’ll try to find a link.

  44. WalterWalcarpit says:

    DH, that last note is fascinating; I’d as much as taken it as given that the myth was bollocks because of course one does not have an odd number of ribs. That there is biological variance might indeed be a nod to the genesis of the story (no pun intended).

    However I much prefer the version that plays with reproductive appendages. It makes sense on so many levels, where the other made none.
    I wonder; was penis envy perhaps the original sin?

  45. Mike N says:

    I see that Scottish Bigot of the Year, Keith O’Brien has just resigned from his post with the rcc (I can’t capitalise it shows too much respect). Just strikes me as amusing that his anti-gay rant was reported so widely and now he’s been accused of inappropriate behaviour with other priests. The depth of hypocrisy that the rcc plums is amazing. Although to be legal I must point out that he has denied the allegations. (Almost on topic, law and theology?)

  46. Mike N says:

    Further I suppose that he will be ostracised as his alleged victims didn’t meet the age requirements for the rcc, they were much too old!

  47. omg says:

    Mike N:
    Can I remind you that the rcc is again gay mariage, not again hypocrisy. 🙂

  48. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    omg says:
    February 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm
    Mike N:
    Can I remind you that the rcc is again gay mariage, not again hypocrisy.

    Nice. I can see you’re going to fit in well around here, omg. Welcome to the Cock & Bull. Now, if you’ll pardon me, it’s ‘against’, rather than ‘again’ (unless you’re in HFB’s territory, in which case it’s ‘agin’).

    To all, glad you liked the quizzes. Shall we have some more? All contributions welcome.

  49. omg says:

    Acolyte of Sagan:
    Thank “again” to remind me that I should have say “against”. I’m ok for a visit to the Cock & Bull, as long as it isn’t for a Guinness 😉

    I spend a few years reading Jesus and Mo without commenting. I hope I will fit well here.

    English is not my native language, so I hope you will excuse me when I do some mistakes. By the way, I don’t take offence being corrected when I do a mistake.

  50. JohnM says:

    Are you Francophone by any chance. The verb “faire” translates into two English verbs, ‘to do’ and ‘to make’. Occasionally we all do make mistakes, but we make do anyway.

  51. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Acolyte of Sagan:
    Thank “again” to remind me that I should have say “against”. I’m ok for a visit to the Cock & Bull, as long as it isn’t for a Guinness
    I spend a few years reading Jesus and Mo without commenting. I hope I will fit well here.
    English is not my native language, so I hope you will excuse me when I do some mistakes. By the way, I don’t take offence being corrected when I do a mistake.

    Please call me AoS, you’re among friends here, I can’t speak for the others but you had me with your ‘gay marriage / hypocrisy’ comment.
    It’s good to know you don’t mind having your English corrected (any chance of a clue as to your native language?), you wouldn’t last long here if you did (Nassar excepted, of course: skin as thick as an elephant’s, that boy). I promise not to do this with every one of your posts, but have a look at the following re-write of your last post. I’ve highlighted the changes in bold;

    Acolyte of Sagan:
    Thanks ‘again’ for reminding me that I should have said ‘against’. I’m going to enjoy dropping in to the Cock & Bull, as long as it isn’t for a Guinness .

    I’ve been reading Jesus and Mo without commenting for a few years, and I hope I will fit in well here.

    English is not my native language, so I hope you will excuse me if I make some mistakes. By the way, I don’t take offence at being corrected when I do make a mistake.

    English can be a strange old language, but you’re doing fine so far.

    JohnM, that’s not playing fair. Funny, but not fair.

  52. omg says:

    JohnM: Yes, I’m Francophone

    AoS: Thanks for your kind comments. Your rewriting of my text is much nicer to read. I will try to improve.

  53. WalterWalcarpit says:

    And with the news of O’Brien’s very sudden departure the prediction posted by AoS towards the end of the last strip’s comments seems to have been most prescient. How many others to be outed before the conclave, I wonder?

  54. hotrats says:

    welcome aboard, omg.

  55. Mike N says:

    Hi omg, yes of course you are right, the rcc is totally for hypocrisy, I kind of forgot that :-). Oh and before I get a POTWA “plumbs” not “plums” in my earlier post. Also,, author, bugger, I’m not a spammer.

  56. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mike, don’t get too stressed over the ‘spammer’ check-box, it’s a very smple, but clever defence against ‘spam-bot’ programmes that roam the web looking for unprotected sites to download their effluent onto, the victims being sites with comments sections – such as J&M – that do not require users to log in before commenting. Luckily, the vicious buggers are unable to adapt themselves to comply with Author’s ingenious little checkbox.
    As well as being effective in the war against malware, the clever wording ‘I swear’ must play havoc with the simple little minds of religious humans wishing to take a dump here; it’s the only explaination I can think of for the lack of religidiots leaving BLOCK-CAPS RANTS threatening death and hell and no custard on our rhubarb; what godbotherer is going to swear to not be a spammer and then leave spam (even though it doesn’t say who or what they’d be swearing to, but keep that little nugget between us, OK)?
    If Author were to remove the checkbox and require registration instead, it would still prevent the ‘spam-bot’ programmes but do nought to hold back the tsunami of shit (Tsunami of Shit, now there’s a punk band name if ever I saw one) that would surely come this way from the malicious religious (malicious religious, and there’s a name just crying out to be adopted by a goth band). Plus, of course, it would mean one more password for my increasingly porous memory to have to try to remember.
    And finally, don’t worry, POWTAs are not issued for spelling mistakes or typos; they are issued only for the most serious crimes against language, and only against those who should know better.

    Now, whose round is it? My glass is empty.

  57. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Whoops! And ‘POWTAs’ are, of course, ‘POTWAs’. Saved myself from having to issue one to myself there, methinks. Only a typo maybe, but I really should know better as the POTWA was my idea in the first place, as an add-on to the language watchdog UPOTWA as suggested by DH and others.

  58. hotrats says:

    A recent offering to OEDILF:

    Hume said “Likely? An angel drops by,
    And biology’s left high and dry;
    Without even one sperm
    Came our Saviour to term?
    Or did one Jewish minx tell a lie?”

  59. MarkyWarky says:

    @ AoS, we could have a little game here:

    Acolyte of Sagan = Death Metal Band.

    (The) Hotrats = Indie Band.

    OMG = Electronica

    WalterWalcarpit = Jingle

    Darwin Harmless = Modern Classical Quartet

    Nassar Ben Houdja = Boy Band (i.e. no discernable tallent, but keeps coming back regardless)

    Author = Mozart


  60. botanist says:

    Marky Marky as the new kid on the block
    Don as the godfather
    botanist as some sort of flower power clone
    fks as a member of the beach boys

  61. hotrats says:

    OMG as Electronica, very good – Orchestral Manoevres in the Garden?

    How about:

    Ophelia Benson = Singer/Songwriter
    FreeFox = Psychedelic Grunge
    Haggis for Brains = Uplifting Trance
    Mary2 = Northern Soul
    MarkyWarky = 2Step Garage
    Botanist = Ambient Chillout

    I think that’s all the regulars acounted for.

  62. MarkyWarky says:

    Hotrats, I was thinking Orchestral Manoeuvres with the Godless (remember their hit “Marry a Gay”?), but yours works too 🙂

  63. MarkyWarky says:

    BTW, anyone in the know should recognise my genre from my avatar, though I don’t think I picked the best screen name to represent it!!!

  64. WalterWalcarpit says:

    I am not a Jingle!I sam a Free Man!

  65. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Ah Bollocks!

    I am not a Jingle; I am a Free Man!

    (and that was stuffed up on a real keyboard!).

    MarkyWarky, I see a sperm or a deconstructed symbol for a male. What am I missing?

  66. MarkyWarky says:

    That said, my favourite Peart lyric of all time is:

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that’s clear-
    I will choose Free Will.

  67. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Love the musical genre game, even though I can’t abide death metal. Please may I be a blues singer instead?
    re. Tsunami of Shit; it could be a punk band, but it could just as easily describe any T.V. listings guide. Or church service.

  68. MarkyWarky says:

    @ AoS, no you can’t. You just don’t have the name for it. If you refuse to growl like a bear (in a bad way) and hit things as fast as you can, you can be a court musician, along with Roderick of Camelot and Rupert of Lindisfarne.

  69. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oh, alright then. As long as I can wear ear-plugs.

  70. JohnM says:

    I hope AoS doesn’t rate this “not fair play” but you did say you hoped your English mistakes would be picked up on. So here goes:
    ‘Where’ is an adverb/conjunction/pronoun sort of word (I’m not a grammarian by a long chalk) and is a homophone of ‘wear’. The past tense of the verb ‘to be’ (1st and 3rd person singular excepted) is ‘were’ and is (mostly) a homophone of ‘whirr’

  71. hotrats says:

    Except in Liverpool, where ‘Where were you?’ is pronounced ‘Whirr wear ya?’

  72. JohnM says:

    I’ll see if I can find that in my copy of “Lern yersell Scouse” – if I can find my copy.

  73. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Surely that would be ‘Lern yersen Scouse’? I believe ‘Lern yersell’ is the Geordie issue.

  74. LD50 says:

    To be fair, the predetermined conclusion bit applies to a lot of people, even scientists, on occasion.

    I think that what we *want* gets decided in pretty small bits of the brain (thalamus, amygdala?). The massive cerebrum just figures out *how* to get it. And rationalizes *why* it’s a good idea. Even when it’s not.

    Example of management think: “we are conducting a study to show that …”


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