Merry Christmas.

Discussion (47)¬

  1. HaggisForBrains says:


    Merry Christmas, Cool Yule, Happy Festivus etc to one and all, and especially to Author.

  2. Nope, Jesus. Sorry. You’ve got it backwards. Something’s “true” because you believe it & it works.

    Like Euclidean geometry.

  3. Everyone,


    Have a wonderful one of whatever it is you celebrate at this time of year!
    Remember that ultimately the season IS the reason!

  4. Roger says:

    Happy Christmas, Author!

  5. Don says:

    Happiness and lots of it.

  6. Edward says:

    Check out “The Debunking Handbook” (freely available online) by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky to read a great discussion of the phenomenon the barmaid mentions and how to deal with it if you care enough to bother with trying to change someone’s not yet completely closed mind.

  7. jean-françois gauthier says:

    happy christmas author, thank you for you do, it’s much appreciated. take care!

  8. Alastair says:

    Merry festering and a happy new year

  9. Michael says:

    The old fashioned “my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts” ploy.

    Have a safe Guy Fawkes day.

  10. two cents' worth says:

    When I finished reading the cartoon, I imagined the Barmaid thinking, “QED!”

    Among the holiday card I’ve received this year was one from my brother, with Fact No. 25 on the front: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/279012139385923807/ πŸ™‚

    May happiness visit everyone in the Cock & Bull crowd during this holiday season, and may 2015 bring us all the best!

  11. two cents' worth says:

    Ahem! That should have been cards. All I want for Christmas is the edit function πŸ˜‰

  12. XANADU says:

    Joyous SOL INVICTUS. So look forward to Thursday morning. I have never before given to anything but I can’t afford to lose you!

  13. tfkreference says:

    richardelguru: “The season is the reason.” Excellent – that says a lot.

  14. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Christmas with Jesus and Moe
    And the barmaid, ring master of the show
    Their inspirational banter
    Of things that do matter
    Contemplation material, you know.

  15. Author says:

    Thank you, Nassar.

  16. Jack Straw says:

    Ho Ho Ho! A breath of fresh air during this season of waste and excess under the guise of religion.

  17. machigai says:

    Merry Happy Joy to all!

  18. Macha says:

    Happy Christmas, Author and All.

  19. white+squirrel says:

    and what makes their beleifs true – the fact that they are in the ‘holy’ book lol

  20. Stephen Mynett says:

    Enjoy your Thing, whatever it is, everyone.

  21. Gordon Greatbelly says:

    Long time reader, first time poster….. I’m an Englishman living in California, and love Christmas for all the tradition and memories that it invokes from my childhood. I always used to wish everyone I knew a ‘Merry Christmas’ at this time of year, but find myself increasingly using the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ here in the US. I felt much more comfortable expressing my non-belief in the UK than I do here, and will pretty much avoid the whole Jesus thing at all costs in my current environment.

    Author, your weekly dose of jolly sensible, terribly well observed, and frightfully amusing musings keep me right in this crazy world. Thank you!

    To all the C&B regulars, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and I look forward to a pie and a pint with you all in the future.

  22. Paddy says:

    I think the effect is partly one of loyalty. We care much more about what we perceive to be threatened.

    Merry Christmas one and all! πŸ˜€

  23. blackflag1961 says:

    Happy humbugs!
    Gawd bless us, everyone!

  24. Patrick says:

    If I were a swineherd, I would bring a ham.

  25. two cents' worth says:

    Patrick, thanks for the laugh!

    Author’s a wise man*,
    He sure does his part.
    So what does he give us?
    He gives us his art.

    *Author, if you happen to be female, please take “man” to mean “human.” I considered “wise one,” but it seemed to me to obscure the reference to the carol πŸ™‚ . Thanks for J&M! I admire your ability to make people both laugh and think.

  26. Lewis+R.+Lowden says:

    Thank you J & M, now I know more than ever that the Koreshanity belief in Cellular Cosmogony (Hollow Earth) is, more than ever, true.

    Mary Christmas to each and everyone of you.

  27. Henry+Ford says:

    Thanks author and happy Christmas everyone

  28. Mother+Goose says:

    Happy Solstice, y’all !

  29. Robert+Andrews says:

    Right…Happy secular, non-denominational holiday. That’s as generic and non offensive as i can get; and still express any feeling.

    Too bad Jesus & Mo don’t have the same ‘true’ beliefs. it would then be a happy holiday.

  30. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Nassar, nice work. I’ll take it that was your Christmas gift to Author.
    Please don’t make it your resolution to retire your trademark faux-ignorance though, I look forward to your contribution (and the occasional outraged responses) almost as much as I eagerly anticipate each new cartoon.

    two cent’s worth, as Author is officially a demi-god he is technically neither one thing nor the other, but he does pass amongst the unworthy in the guise of a male. And I am steadfast in that belief because that belief is true.

    p.s. I enjoyed the card from your brother. πŸ™‚

    Here’s hoping that everybody’s day went as well as could be expected. I know mine did.
    Happy post-Christmas to you all.

  31. Jerry www says:

    Ah yes, the eyes wide closed syndrome…

    The corollary to “I’ll believe it when I see it”, which is most often expressed as “I’ll see it when I believe it”.

    How sad, yet how prevalent, and (appropriately) no cure in sight.

    And a happy whatever floats your boat to all…

  32. Three-tigers says:

    Just changing my email address. Happy winter solstice to one and all.

  33. Thomas says:

    Merry Newtonmass to all.

  34. Stephen Mynett says:

    Three-tigers, as you are changing email, did you know that http://www.mail.com/int/ offers addresses that end @atheist.com.

  35. Max T. Furr says:

    I’m reminded of a quote that went something like; If you could reason with a fundamentalist, there would be no fundamentalists.

  36. hotrats says:

    Max T Furr:

    That would be Dr. House (or his scriptwriters).

    Ben Goldacre put it even better – ‘You can’t reason someone out a position they didn’t reason themselves into.’

  37. Steeve says:

    Io Saturnalia!

    Thanks for a great year, Author

  38. Robert+Andrews says:

    @Acolyte of Sagan:

    I love you guys’ poetry.

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Cheers Robert. Not quite sure why you’re praising me for poetry but I’ll take it anyway.

    What d’ya know? I’m a poet and…….you know the rest. πŸ™‚

  40. Doc says:

    This is one of my 5 top sites. Bless you for your sanity injections, and may you remain the thorn in countless sides. I would be curious on references to the studies made by the barmaid…did a quick google and didn’t come up with something.

  41. Author says:

    Thank you, Doc. This is where I got the idea – there are some references there.

  42. JohnM says:

    A truly frightening piece of research, Author. But let’s have faith that in the C & B, at least, the regulars will be taking steps to remind themselves of it – even as they chat. Knowing what your brain is up to behind your back is surely part of the battle to get reason and reality accepted as the universal norm.

  43. Mary2 says:

    You know that god-botherers will say this is exactly why atheists ignore all the ‘evidence’ for a god.

  44. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Yet what do they do when we ask to see that evidence? Wave vaguely at the pretty flowers and show us that ‘God’ gets a mention I’m their holy tomes.
    Not exactly empirical!

  45. plainsuch says:

    People can change their minds because of empirical evidence though. If you are not emotionally invested in the subject it’s much easier to rely on logic and empirical evidence.

    I think that research applies to most strongly to cases that are either a matter of identity or efficiency. If you identify with some group, the symbols and opinions that those in the in-group share can be a big part of your own identity. Being told that your opinions are false is a direct attack on your identity; as well as everything you have said and done based on that identity. At the minimum, accepting that you even *might* be wrong requires research and evaluation of facts, i.e. time and energy. Sometimes it’s just easier to look Reality square in the eye and deny it.

  46. plainsuch says:

    The research usually focuses on issues like religion or global climate warming where there are at least two vocal sides promoting opposing viewpoints. If you would rather think that pork causes immoral conduct, that the Catholic priests are all innocent victims of a feminist gay jihadist conspiracy and that the climate will never change because Jesus won’t let it; there are plenty of people waiting to tell you that you are right. There is such a cloud of Fear,Uncertainty and Doubt being thrown up that it becomes difficult to tell what the facts are. Metaphorically, emotionally, it is as if people just have to pick a team to back. How many people who strongly identify with a sports team will switch allegiance to the winning team after every game?

  47. two cents' worth says:

    Author, thanks for the link. It is depressing that “our hard-wiring makes democracy hopeless,” but other forms of government seem to be even more hopeless. As Winston S. Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” The founding fathers of the USA relied on their powers of reason when they established the republic (which has become more democratic over time), including checks and balances in the system, to help tip the scales in favor of reason–but I think that they understood that there is no guarantee that reason will prevail.

    There is a child rearing philosophy popularized by Dr. William Sears et al. that states that when children feel right, they act right. Maybe the best hope for reason to prevail in society is to bring up children to feel secure (rather than threatened) when dealing with others, to internalize the rule that they ought not to do to others what they would not want done to themselves, to value the trait of making decisions based on known facts, but to value even more the trait of changing decisions when the known facts change. If values are based on emotions, and reason is a tool that we use to support our values, we must be very careful about the values that we teach our children. (Or, as my dad puts it, how are you going to brainwash your kids?–since one man’s teaching is another man’s brainwashing πŸ˜‰ .)


NOTE: This comments section is provided as a friendly place for readers of J&M to talk, to exchange jokes and ideas, to engage in profound philosophical discussion, and to ridicule the sincerely held beliefs of millions. As such, comments of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature will not be tolerated.

If you are posting for the first time, or you change your username and/or email, your comment will be held in moderation until approval. When your first comment is approved, subsequent comments will be published automatically.