Yeah, but we're a vocal minority

By Phil Plait | September 16, 2009 4:30 pm

Doonesbury for Sunday Sept 6 2009

I was at Dragon*Con and too busy to post about this, but approximately eleventy bazillion people sent me this Doonesbury comic from last Sunday. Read the whole thing: he nailed it.

But we are a vocal minority. I know I am, and will always be so as long as I can be.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Humor, Skepticism

Comments (36)

  1. Rod Mollise

    Well, yeah…BUT…I will say, people tend to believe in outrageous government conspiracies because the government perpetrated so many of them over the last 50 years.

    Ghosts, shmosts. I don’t worry much about believers in ghosts and such. I think it’s been proven the ones you have to worry about are the ones who believe in that invisible old man who lives in the sky. You know, the one who will condemn you to an eternity of torture–but he loves you! LOL

  2. cameron

    Ermmm… was there a joke in that comic?

  3. Yeah, kind of missing a punchline in there…

  4. dhtroy

    That’s not funny, that’s the sad truth of it all.


  5. Brian

    He forgot to include ‘religion’ in the comic as something that can’t be verified.

  6. kingnor

    never really been a doonesbury fan, but it’s nice to see someone on our side ūüėõ

    to those asking why it’s funny, Doonesbury isn’t usually intended to be a calvin and hobbes style riot, his “jokes” are often super SUPER dry.

  7. Very clever. It’s also very depressing.

    Oh, and as for the punchline, switch over to Fox News, you’ll get the joke then.

  8. Just forwarded the link to a few budz….

    I have always been a doonesbury fan… maybe it was a Jane Pauley kinda thing? i dunno.

    I do find humor in this. To many of our fellow Americans we are a fringe movement and as such many would equate us to Scientologists, Eugenicists, (is that a word, and did i spell it correctly?), uhhhmm maybe even Mormons.

    We must be more vocal and at the same time rational.

  9. eleventy bazillion people

    I am, shall we say, skeptical. ^^

  10. NewEnglandBob

    Right, Naked Bunny, you should be skeptical.

    It was twelvety bazillion people.

  11. What’s wrong with Bazillions? They have a great carnivale.

  12. llewelly

    I believe in Alien Abductions.
    I believe the reason we have no evidence for Aliens visiting Earth is that the Aliens keep getting Abducted before scientists can find them.

  13. mus

    “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing”

    -Edmund Burke

    We NEED to be vocal.

  14. There are way too many hyphens in those word balloons.

  15. Christina Viering
  16. Travis

    If our town hall fiasco’s have taught us anything it’s that a blathering, bellowing idiot will always be paid more attention than a calm, reasonable intellectual.

  17. @Shane:
    I prefer a Brazilian

  18. Cory

    Guys, newspaper comics are almost universally unfunny. Calvin and Hobbes is one of the few comics with “moments”, but no comic gets much more out of me than a chuckle or “that’s clever, I guess..”

    @14 “Good and evil” can’t be verified, either. Do remember Burke’s strongly conservative (don’t rock the boat or it’ll tip over!) positions on just about everything and thusly contextualize the quote. The quote sounds epic, sure, but it should mean virtually nothing to a skeptic.

  19. fernando

    We are not a minority… Most industry is based on rationalism, NASA is based on math, martians don’t come into the equation when governments calculate taxes… Science rules the world… Another thing is entertainment, that usually succeeds doing the opposite thing to the rule. When science becomes box office be scared, but not now. We tend to whine a lot about the non science guys and the power they have. I don’t think they have much. Those are the ‘funny’ guys to me. Vocal minority in the media is not that important if we have the power to move the world. Let the other guys have the power of entertainment. At the end of the day matters the machine that feed us. And machines are rational.

  20. vanderleun

    Well, somewhere around a declining half even believe in Obama. Can I get a Venn, please?

  21. Big Fat Earl

    Ermmm… was there a joke in that comic?

    It’s Doonesbury, so no. There’s never a joke, or at least never anything funny about it.

  22. I’m normally not a Doonesbury type of person but that was pretty good. I don’t think it’s a “funny haha” type of joke. It’s more of a “wow, sadly, you’re right…” kind of joke. :)

  23. Pisces

    Yeah….count me in too. But does that mean i hafta give up the Easter Bunny?

  24. Kevin

    Nice, but… I’m wondering about something. I don’t mean to hijack the posts here, but I’ve been thinking about this a bit.

    I’m a science student, majoring in biology. I’m a big fan of evidence-based reasoning. However, I am concerned about the idea that if we don’t have verifiable evidence of something, then it must not exist. This seems to me to be the scientific equivalent of the phrase “no body, no crime” that gets used often in cop shows on TV. The idea being that, if we haven’t found a dead person, there’s no reason to believe that the person is dead.

    How do we reconcile the fact that many things in science were observed but unknown until someone put the right clues together in their head? Many civilizations had noticed the motions of the planets, but it wasn’t until much later that the heliocentric theory came to be accepted. Much was known of genetics, but the idea of DNA being the source of genetic transfer between generations wasn’t accepted until relatively recently.

    Not to be glib or make light of the situation, but it seems evident to me that, until science is right about something, then it has to be wrong about that same something.

    So how do you account for things that we don’t know yet, but might be known in the future? There may be no evidence of them now, because we haven’t thought of them yet. That is by no means proof that those things don’t exist.

    I’ll stop here… I don’t feel that I’m explaining this very well. If you get what I’m saying, though, please comment. I’d like to hear from others on the topic…

  25. “Ermmm‚Ķ was there a joke in that comic?” Reminds me of reports that neither Ozzy Osbourne nor Robert Plant thought Spinal Tap was a joke; they just wondered why they had never heard of the band. “I thought we must have run into them sometime on tour, mate.”

    Don’t believe in conspiracy theories: they are just a plot on the part of the intelligentsia to keep us from finding out the truth.

  26. Yojimbo


    I don’t think there are many people saying “if we don‚Äôt have verifiable evidence of something, then it must not exist.” If they do, then they’re off base. The point is that if we don’t have verifiable evidence of something then we should not assume that it DOES exist (which is what many people do). Without evidence either way, the most we can say is we don’t know. What we see, though, is claims being made (about religion, vaccines, UFOs, 911, etc.) without supporting evidence, with the claimants simply asserting that they are right.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know”.

  27. 25. Kevin Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Not to be glib or make light of the situation, but it seems evident to me that, until science is right about something, then it has to be wrong about that same something.

    It’s not necessarily a matter of right and wrong, it’s a matter of constantly refining the model based on the best possible observation. We used to believe that all the stars and planets orbited the Earth, because that’s what our naked-eye observations told us.

    It was only with the ability to create precise measurements that we learned that this wasn’t true, and that we and the other planets orbited the Sun.

    And once our instruments were even more refined, we learned that this also wasn’t exactly accurate, and that the Sun and the planets actually orbit a common barycenter.

    It doesn’t necessarily make the current model “right” and the old models “wrong,” it just means that our observations have gotten better.

  28. Molly


    I’m absolutely with you.

  29. Quiet Desperation

    I’m not really a Doonesbury fan either (I’m neutral), but a comic is not required to have a setup/punchline structure. I mean, look at things like Mary Worth. Actually, no, don’t look, unless you want to experience narcolepsy.

    Although as someone who despises smoking, I do enjoy his strips with the giant cigarette mascot thrashing on the smoking industry. :-)

  30. Quiet Desperation

    Guys, newspaper comics are almost universally unfunny.

    Agree, but I have come to enjoy Pearls Before Swine and Lio.

    Stephet Pastis, who creates Pearls, sometimes satirically laments the state of the modern comics page in his strips. He also has a blog which provides a window into his very bent mind. He sometime even appears in his own comic strip.

    Lio is by Mark Tatulli and is what Calvin and Hobbes would have been if Watterson had done serious drugs.

    I particulary like the Da Vinci Sudoku in that one, not to mention spot on satires of some other strips.

  31. Les

    I think this is a reference to the birth certificate issue which Doonsberry has been poking at.

  32. Pisces

    I think this where you’re goin’ …. There’s currently no evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations, but we shouldn’t shut down SETI. In other words,we don’t want to let skepticism get in the way of investigation.

  33. Levi in NY

    I come from the same tiny village as Garry Trudeau!

  34. mike burkart

    I have seen ghosts I put them up on the wall every halloween I have seen alien abductions on my ps2 and I have seen both on the big screen and my vcr and dvd .In fact thats the only place i’ve seen them.

  35. mike burkart

    I have seen ghosts I put them up on the wall every halloween I have seen alien abductions on my ps2 and I have seen both on the big screen and my vcr and dvd .In fact thats the only place i’ve seen them.


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