Calamities of Nature

By Phil Plait | January 20, 2010 2:00 pm

calamitiesofnatureI like a lot of web comics, but it’s sometimes hard to find good ones. I was recently twigged on to Calamities of Nature, which commonly has themes dealing with science and critical thinking. I particularly like this one, excerpted in the picture here. The last panel is awesome.

In the character guide, the artist describes the mole (the white guy with earmuffs) as a cynic, but I don’t think so. A cynic is in many ways a pessimist, but a skeptic can see the good in things while still asking for evidence of claims. I think Aaron is a skeptic.

Tip o’ the virtual ink to Carl Spackler.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Science, Skepticism

Comments (15)

  1. Robert E

    The January 17th one is good as well.

  2. Reminds me of the J.C. and Mo comic where they say something to the effect of “Science is hampered because it can’t just make up stuff.” How true. And now I have a new web comic to read!

  3. squirrelelite

    Yes, I liked January 17th as well.

    December 21 was also funny. Sort of like Rube Goldberg.

  4. Klaus

    Ha, thanks for that link – yet another cartoon to see every morning.
    In the not-too-distant future I’ll do nothing else… 😉

  5. Levi in NY

    It always amazes me when people complain about the things science *doesn’t* know, as if it’s some sort of flaw that it hasn’t answered every conceivable question. We take for granted just how much our ancestors were ignorant about that science has come to explain pretty well: Lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, disease, anatomy, biological diversity, the atomic nature of matter, space-time, light, sound, the heavenly bodies, fire, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and on and on and on.

    “But science doesn’t know how life originated!” “Science can’t explain where the Big Bang came from!” “Science doesn’t have a complete theory of consciousness!” As if science is bad for admitting ignorance given the paucity of evidence regarding those things, and as if there is some kind non-scientific way to come up with answers that we can verify as being true.

  6. Sam

    Phil: You are such a polite linker, not posting others’ content and encouraging people to click through to the source of the material. It doesn’t go unnoticed. 😉

  7. Larian LeQuella: You took the words right out of my mouth. That Jesus and Mo cartoon you are referring to is at

  8. squirrelelite

    They also take on Reiki.

    Check this one.

  9. BF

    Thanks for the link, this is great stuff.
    Here’s another one thats relevant to this blog: :)

  10. After reading a bunch of their strips, I’ve decided that there is such and incredible amount of pure WIN in that comic!

  11. Pieter Kok

    So… where’s the joke? This comic seems more like a statement of fact to me.

  12. Gus Snarp

    The current (Jan. 20) comic is awesome, even if it isn’t about science. How many peaceful infant nap times have been ruined by middle aged men trying to have the adolescence they watched in movies?

  13. Harry Tuttle

    As if science is bad for admitting ignorance given the paucity of evidence regarding those things, and as if there is some kind non-scientific way to come up with answers that we can verify as being true.

    Science is not (in their view) bad for admitting ignorance. It is bad for demeaning belief systems that do “answer” the questions science has or can not. They want to know ‘why’ more than ‘how’ and science either can not address that question or, even worse, presents an answer that is ontologically disturbing.

    People’s senses and memory don’t jive much with a fundamentally chaotic universe. Sure, that’s because human senses and cognition are drastically limited, but it’s still understandable why people can’t or won’t accept the cold, meaningless truth.

  14. Gus Snarp
  15. Gary Ansorge

    There are several meanings for cynic. I prefer this older meaning: from Wikipedia:

    The Cynics (Greek: Κυνικοί, Latin: Cynici) were an influential group of philosophers from the ancient school of Cynicism. Their philosophy was that the purpose of life was to live a life of Virtue in agreement with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health, and fame, and by living a life free from all possessions.

    Of course, there IS the modern interpretation:

    By the 19th century, emphasis on the negative aspects of Cynic philosophy led to a new and very different understanding of cynicism to mean an attitude of jaded negativity, and a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of other people.

    Gary 7


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