This is the biggest four-letter word.

Discussion (37)¬

  1. grouchy-one says:

    This is the best! I like this!

  2. Daz says:

    Well said Barmaid! I love short pithy answers. They have a way of deflating the questioner…

  3. ddntps says:

    this is so good!

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anthony Cunningham , author. author said: New comic: this […]

  5. Steve says:

    Very simple and profound too.

  6. Author, you are moving beyond comedy into profundity. Beautiful.

  7. I had a friend once, who would tell Me “God” created everything.
    I would ask for evidence.
    He would point out the window.
    I would say, “I see the occasional bird, the college, dirt, power-lines, trees, and tract houses.”

    That was thirty-plus years ago. “God” and/or “the Big Bang” has yet to send Me a message, so I still operate using the proposition that we may believe as we wish—the Universe is what it is, not what we project upon our perceptions of it!

    (One sees power-lines, not cars, from the third floor!)

  8. Alverant says:

    Why does J think that without a god this universe HAD to come from nothing? Couldn’t it come from a non-god? Say a black hole in another universe or two higher-dimensional branes meeting or even a massive computer simulation? All three theories has more proof behind it than either J/M can provide for their own ideas.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Zen koan-like simplicity. <3

    You should add a button so we can click on it, show our <3 and make you rich.

  10. jerry w says:

    As we say in Van Nuys, “Ex Nihilo, Nihil”.
    But then, Nothing’s always good.

  11. @Alverant “a massive computer simulation” is actually a plausible premise, as it is one hundred percent in keeping with Quantum Mechanics, and with the entanglement phenomenon. Carl Jung’s universal unconscious is then easily explained, too.

  12. William says:

    I like the line in Rebecca Goldstein’s 36 Arguments about theists’ question on why there is something rather than nothing, “And if there was nothing, they still wouldn’t be happy”.

    Vic Stenger was good in The Failed Hypothesis showing how as far as he can tell, many attributes of the universe are such that this is what it would look like if there was no god, so he’s happy to be a 7 on Dawkins’ scale.

  13. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Why would nothing become something unless something caused it to? Is something the absence of nothing or nothing the absence of something? Far easier to complain to an deity than admit that everything is nothing to begin with untill becoming something.

  14. Stonyground says:

    “Why would nothing become something unless something caused it to?”

    We are not even sure that it did but even assuming that this is a valid question, why would the something that caused it to have to be a god?

  15. DragonsDream says:

    and using the same logic, wouldn’t that same god-something have to have come from something? After all, you just argued that something can’t come from nothing.

  16. Prophet or Loss says:

    Theists have a problem with the idea of a universe that came from nothing.

    Atheists have a problem with the idea of a god that came from nothing and then created everything.

    Either way, the Bible is a load of old arse. FACT!

  17. Daoloth says:

    @Nassar. Why assume nothing became something? Maybe it was always here.
    Maybe time has no meaning without matter.
    Incidentally author- allow me to add my praise. Succint and well put cartoon.
    You highlight the real difference between atheists and theists- the world just looks different to us. Because we are grown-ups.
    (“Cute” enough for you Nassy-baby?)

  18. Didac says:

    And Parmenides said more than that: Why assume something became something other?

  19. Cat's Staff says:

    It reminds me of something I heard once… ‘people used to think that the Sun, planets, everything revolved around the Earth, because they saw them rise in the east and set in the west.’…’What would it look like if the Earth and the Planets went around the Sun?’ … ‘This’.

  20. @DragonsDream said, “wouldn’t that same god-something have to have come from something?”
    This has been My feeling on the subject for a few decades now, with no sign of changing:
    1) A god created the universe—What created the god?
    2) The big bang created the universe—What created the big bang?

    Who CAREs??
    [The question is rhetorical. It exists to separate the grups from the juvies.]

  21. @Mater David Goodman: I care. I care passionately. Not that it matters. 🙂

  22. carolita says:

    This is good enough for me!

  23. Strum says:

    what a brilliant retort there is literally no way to combat such a compelling and eloquent argument

  24. Neuseline says:

    This has to be the funniest ever. I am still laughing even after reading all the previous deep comments.

  25. nina says:

    funny how the god-people never seem to consider how god came into being then

    and how ridiculous the idea of an eternal being is when all the examples we see around us is a cycle of birth, existence and death

  26. Blamer .. says:

    >>What created the god?

    Believers: Nothing.
    Atheists: Agreed.

  27. Scott says:

    Just to throw it into here, but the argument “what dreated God” has the answer “He was not created, as He is the creator of time.”

    Atheists on the other hand cannot point to a timeless world since the world and universe are deemed not eternal and therefore had to have a beginning.

    from nothing, you get nothing. Since this is the case, if you had nothing prior to the big bang, then the big bang just wouldn’t occur unless you have an outside agent to start it off. If you contemplate the “massive computer simulation” or “alternate universe” you should also contemplate a timeless deity. Whether that be the Christian God or some other god is for you to work out!

  28. Tulse says:

    >>the argument “what dreated God” has the answer “He was not created, as He is the creator of time.”

    That’s not an answer, that’s just an ad hoc redefinition.

  29. Felix says:

    Scott, please explain how a deity outside inseparable parameters of time and space may create something, i.e. change the predicate “nothing” into “something” in absence of a state of spatiotemporal existence. Then explain how this deity’s mind exists in absence of substrate or even the time necessary to generate rudimentary thought.
    Make sure you accompany your explanation with evidence and the proper mathematical work.

    Seriously, “making stuff up” and passing it as fact is bad enough. But to crib nonsense from people you think were clever is worse when you’re doing it without ever considering the existing refutations, or the fact that all those people have simply been cribbing off predecessors in the same fashion, all the way back to one fantasising ignoramus who was just cunning enough to make a living by “explaining” the universe to his tribe fellows.

  30. […] I never fail to admire the barmaid’s ability to cut through nonsense to the heart of the matter. […]

  31. fenchurch says:

    What if the answer to “who created God” was Jeffty Jeff, whose Jeffness was born on the first of Jeff, nineteen-Jeffty Jeff?

    Does assigning a label help us at all? Do we know anything about Jeffty Jeff’s purpose, means, mechanism, etc.? Does this have explanatory value? Can we make predictions based on it? Or are the wills and ways of Jeffty Jeff mysterious as well?

    This is what I love about CFI’s slogan on their brochure:
    “You’ve Got Answers? We Have Questions.”

  32. dysamoria says:

    I’m not at all uncomfortable with the concept of infinity & eternity in scientific & universal terms. In a way, I entertain the notion that the scale of planets, galaxies, etc wraps around to subatomic particles (an idea I formulated for a cartoon I never illustrated, ironically). Once again I suggest that theists aren’t comfortable with such infinit scale because they can’t wrap their minds around the concept (what’s to wrap around, it’s just infinity), and they turn instead to easy “answers” that they can relate to the immediate world around them which is filled with beginnings, middles & ends.

  33. ottebrain says:

    rotfl. short and simple. lol.

  34. tinkling think says:

    So, Atheist Scum, what created the cosmos?”

    Well, in truth, what created the cosmos was … the cosmos.

    As I understand it, it goes something like this …

    When a huge star runs out of fuel to make it glow it can end its starry life as one of a number of thingys. If it is smaller than about twice the mass of Sol, it will most likely just cool down, go black and swim about the universe as a cooling, dead, infra-red then radio star gradually going dark. This will take many, many milliards of years but it will eventually happen to 70 to 80% of all stars, including the aforementioned Sol.

    Many smallish stars [and Sol, while larger than 75% of all stars is still considered not to be a giant] will puff out clouds of loose gases and dust to form what are mis-called “planetary” nebulae and will temporarily form White Dwarves, stars about the size of Earth with the mass of Sol and densities that are unimaginable. The others will simply stop glowing, grow slightly denser and slowly cool off over huge, vast lumps of Time.

    Stars slightly bigger than Sol-and-a-half might condense even more than into the degenerate matter state of a White Dwarf to become a Neutron Star, maybe even a Quark Star if those exist. These are the size of a large city but with the density of an atomic nucleus and the full mass of a whole star. Some of these are Magnetars, highly magnetically charged objects. Some are Pulsars, they emit beams of radio waves from their rotating polar regions. Some become novae and even repeating novae but eventually, like red and white dwarf stars they should all cool to ambient temperatures.

    Then there are the giants. Stars with masses up to two hundred times that of Sol. Stars that exist for a million years or so then explode, releasing more light and energies than their entire galaxy in a cataclysm called a supernova. These stars may, or may not, leave behind collapsed cores too heavy to be sustained as White Dwarves or Neutron or Quark stars. The cores collapse all the way down to a single point of mass leaving behind a well of spacetime warped by the signature of the gravity the star once had or the once-star had. The gravity remains even after the star vanishes into a singularity. The gravity becomes a “Black Hole”.

    There are, allegedly, trillions of those buggers in the cosmos. Some of them are in the cores of galaxies and “have masses” or image the gravitational fields of masses of thousands of millions of stars the size of Sol. There is a littlish one at the core of our very own Milky Way galaxy.

    “So?” Asks the theist, intrigued and puzzled as to the relevance.

    Well, there is this notion, maybe rising to the level of a conjecture that the singularity of a Black Hole may “cut a tunnel” through spacetime. That it may then erupt at a different time in a different place to form what some call a “White Hole” or “uncollapsing singularity”. A pop-up fountain of stuff that looks like it comes from nowhere. [And now some of the brighter sparks are well ahead of me and already forming theoretical objections. Please hold off for a while, I’ll get there.]

    There is, around any BH, a region, a sphere in the simplest models, called the Event Horizon. It is where an orbiting object would need to move at the velocity of light to remain in orbit. Closer to the centre, any orbiting object would needs move faster than light so there is no such thing as “closer”. Once an object, be it a Starship or a particle crosses the EH, it is gone from the universe forever. It does not come back. It ends up at the singularity at the centre, crushed into infinite density. Maybe.

    The other fate possible is that the infalling object [ignore tidal effects and such] swerves past the singularity by way of the mathematical phantom called the “spacetime tunnel” to appear elsewhere and elsewhen.

    There is absolutely no evidence that such tunnels exist or even can and there are no evident White Holes anywhere in sight of our tools to show that they ever did or will … but …

    If we assume that they do and must form as a consequence of the geometry of spacetime inside the warped singularity of a collapsed object, then we can calculate a modality which would both preserve their existence and prevent us from ever seeing their consequences, all of their consequences save one.

    It may be that all spacetime tunnels erupt at the lowest possible spacetime energy point, the “floor” of all potentials. They erupt at the place and time where there isn’t a place and time because that is where and when the non-surrounding fields would have been weakest were there any.

    All Black Holes become White at the beginning of Time.

    Why? Because that is the only place within easy reach that has nothing to stop them from erupting. They could erupt at the end of Time, at the Heatdeath of the cosmos, when spacetime is again flat and empty enough to allow for this but that may be – for the time being – far, far more distant and harder to reach than the big, bright Dawn. So the Dawn, for now, gets hit.

    Of course, Black Holes crush matter so it is no longer recognisable as separate stuff, so what is fountained out won’t be Starships and astronauts but smooshed energies and they will drag spacetime frames with themselves so the Physics that pops up would be the physics they started with; the beginning time would inevitably have the physics of this time.

    So, what created the cosmos? This!

    The cosmos created it. The cosmos exists because it exists because it went back into its own past to make itself.

    Neat, yeah?

    We live in a temporal paradox created because we live in a temporal paradox that allowed for one temporal paradox. Had the universe never existed, as indeed it didn’t, the universe would necessarily have reached back to ensure that it did because that’s the way it works.

    Of course it all depends on spacetime tunnels, bridges of probability between spacetime point events, and the singularity being able to access those. It also depends upon the Initial Point being stress-free and empty at the point of eruption and upon every single singularity finding it “at the same time” but that is logically supportable.

    It also make looking for a Prime Cause rather a waste of time, sort of like counting the angels dancing on pins or the temperature of Hell.

    Still, it’s a neat idea.

    We exist because we exist. ‘Nuff said.

  35. tinkling think says:

    And were the lovely, wise Barmaid to explain the cosmos to the boys in such a fashion, she would sell a lot of beers.

    Though she would need more than four boxes.

  36. tinkling think says:

    Tulse, the god of the creation is infinitely powerful. It didn’t need to exist “forever”, it simply reached back from a random “now” in some spacetime frame it created to create itself.

    Or, if it was in a whimsical mood, it reached forwards, sideways and blue-vanilla-G-sharp to create itself.

    A god that can create a reality can do pretty much whatever it likes. Even create a boulder it, itself can not lift – then lift it.

    Thinking in Human terms doesn’t work for beings on that level.

  37. tinkling think says:

    Those who seriously promote atheism with the question of limits on the powers and abilities of a creator super-entity should read more superhero comics and Science Fiction. These genres broaden the mind, make it more flexible and allow one to recognise the utterly childish oversimplification that such questions represent.

    Studying higher mathematics, including but not limited to non-Euclidean geometries and topologies would also help.

    “What created the god?” asked seriously does not show the cause of Reason in a good light. Any decent first year theology student could shred that enquiry with word salads.

    We need to be far more sophisticated, to ask deeper, more meaningful questions such as: if there really is a loving, personal god who loves us all, why are weekend shorter than the working week?

    And: how the Hell could any benevolent deity allow Mr. Blobby and Clippy?


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