Dilbert gets it right

By Phil Plait | April 17, 2010 8:00 am

This sounds about right.

dilbert_homeopathy

I like the cartoon, though I’m not a huge fan of Scott Adams himself; his creationist/Intelligent Design leanings make that difficult. Some people say he’s a gadfly, just trying to get people to think. But I’ve never found his arguments persuasive, and they’re generally just repetitions of some of the more basic (and easily debunked) ID claims. PZ Myers has dealt with him any number of times, and a web search will yield all sorts of interesting results.

Life is full of such conflicts; Jenny McCarthy is actually very funny when she’s not trying to infect the world with measles, Oprah does a lot of actual good work in contrast to her support of McCarthy, and Fred Phelps… no, my mistake. Phelps is just 100% awful.

Tip o’ the tie tip to my brother, Sid.

Comments (75)

  1. Zucchi

    I wrote to Scott Adams once, after a series of “Dilbert” strips that I thought unfairly misportrayed how skeptics think. He wrote back, “Accuracy is a heavy burden to place on satire,” which is true enough, I guess.

  2. Messier Tidy Upper

    Nice cartoon. LOL. :-)

    Off-topic but thought y’all may be interested the Iceland volcano is still casing trouble – this time for the awesome documentarian David Attenborough who is apparently stranded in the Arctic and running low on supplies – see :

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/entertainment/1041367/volcano-traps-attenborough-in-frozen-arctic

    Hopefully he & his team will come out from this okay, he has made some of my favourite nature documentaries all his life and is at least 98 % great, ie. the opposite of Fred Phelps! ;-)

  3. Jya Jya Binks Killer

    Jenny McCarthy is actually very funny when she’s not trying to infect the world with measles

    Deliberately I wonder? ;-)

    And she’s very easy on the eye too! ;-)

  4. CyrusZ

    I heard Phelps was actually a successful civil rights attorney back in the day. Funny how he went from fighting racism to becoming such an extremely bigoted homophobe and all around nutjob.

  5. QuietDesperation

    David Attenborough who is apparently stranded in the Arctic and running low on supplies

    Attenborough? Pfft! By now the man has lashed together several polar bears to pull the sled he constructed from a mammoth skeleton. No worries.

  6. Ron

    Nah, Phelps is a great LGBT fundraiser! Every site he pickets gets a huge upswing in donations. Why, some of his events are like telethons with folks donating to local LGBT organizations for every hour he’s on the street.

  7. Messier Tidy Upper

    ^ Ron : I think that falls under laws of unintended consequences – but good to hear! ;-)

    @ 7. QuietDesperation Says:

    Attenborough? Pfft! By now the man has lashed together several polar bears to pull the sled he constructed from a mammoth skeleton. No worries.

    Nice image & good ocker phrase! ;-)

    PS. Hope all smoothly & my best wishes for the undocking from the International Space Station & landing of the current shuttle flight – see links via :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/04/07/space-station-crosses-the-dark-side-of-moon/#comment-259827

  8. I too have misgivings about Mr. A and his leanings, but I applaud anyone who gets it right AND funny.

  9. Adrian Lopez

    I’ve never cared much about Dilbert.

  10. Old Rockin' Dave

    Fred Phelps does have the valuable effect of testing our commitment to the First Amendment.
    And Scott Adams did do that wonderful piece on “Why the Future Will Not Be Like Star Trek,” which can be read on the Web. I highly recommend it.

  11. Phil,

    “I’m not a huge fan of Scott Adams himself; his creationist/Intelligent Design leanings make that difficult.”

    You should attack the false beliefs, not the man himself.

    I’m sure you also have false beliefs you have claimed publicly, we all do. (Admittedly I don’t know what exactly they are). But I think what needs to be attacked is your, mine, his false beliefs and not you, him or me *personally*. He might be a great guy, and so might you or I despite our false beliefs about certain things.

    Nevertheless, keep up the good work! You do a great job with this site. :)

  12. @13 Joseph Smidt: I don’t mean to speak for Phil, but I’m sure if he has any false beliefs, they are supported by mounds of evidence, which is more than you or I can say for any of the intelligent design/creationist type (or homeopathy, astrology, etc.) If he turns out to be wrong, he was at least wrong in good conscience.

    People who believe things despite a complete lack of evidence, and a preponderance of evidence against those beliefs, deserve ridicule, if you ask me.

  13. Just to be clear: I’m not making the “Since we all have false beliefs about something, we are all equally wrong” argument. We’re not, some clearly have more false and damaging beliefs than others. Just saying attack the false beliefs, not the person.

  14. The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth‑that the error and truth are simply opposite. – H.L. Menken

    I don’t think someone with a different set of ideas than mine is a useless person. As you say the world is full of conflicts and probably because life isn’t simple enough to have one right way of doing or thinking. I consider anyone who spends time constantly reviewing their ideas and revising them as necessary when they learn something new to be worthy of my respect. Even if I don’t agree.
    Reviewing what they know and using it to debunk whatever new information they get is not the same thing.
    Scott Adams spends time thinking about ideas and from my limited knowledge of him seems willing to change them as he learns.

  15. I’ve tried to find where Scott Adams actually says anything about ID/Creationism and have no idea what people are talking about. If anyone could bring me up to speed- much appreciated.

    If you watched the short-lived Dilbert series on TV, the opening has an evolving “ascent of man” into Dilbert that would at least seem to contradict the idea that he’s into creationism, and he actually had an episode with James Randi as an important character. So color me skeptical that he could be an ID proponent. 8-)

  16. @The Chemist: It’s not as if he personally designed and animated every single aspect of the TV show.

    Also, I remember Adams having a very ridiculous “The Secret”-esque outlook on things which he expounded on in the back of one of his management-for-dummies style books, long before “The Secret” came out, and went deep into the same crazy What-The-BLEEP?!-style quantum philosophy garbage (affirmation as a prediction, after using the all-too-common misinterpretation of the word “observation” in dual-slit experiment to mean that electrons have a consciousness).

  17. Nemo

    Oprah does a lot more harm than just promoting McCarthy. She’s heavy into woo like “The Secret”, for instance. I’m not sure her influence is positive, on balance.

  18. Actually, even Fred Phelps has some weird silver lining: he fought a lot against racism as a civil rights attorney in the fifties. Go figure…

  19. vegaz

    As far as I know, Scott Adams is a funny/weird atheist/agnostic cartoonist…
    I think Phil is completely off the mark on him

  20. Chris Evo

    Morrigan: . . . which is why the KKK has a disclaimer about him on their website.
    “Disclaimer :

    NOTE: The Ku Klux Klan, LLC. has not or EVER will have ANY connection with The “Westboro Baptist Church”. We absolutely repudiate their activities.

    The Ku Klux Klan, LLC.”

    Even when he does something right, he ends up making the KKK look like comparatively reasonable, well informed people for a few seconds.

  21. Cassandra

    “People who believe things despite a complete lack of evidence, and a preponderance of evidence against those beliefs, deserve ridicule, if you ask me.”

    Ah, so atheists deserve to be ridiculed?

    How terrible, how lacking in basic ethics and morality, to proclaim that any people deserve to be verbally abused.

  22. csrster

    Actually I hear Fred Phelps does a _wicked_ impression of Oprah Winfrey.

  23. Back to the cartoon: If the artsy guy tried the homeopathic cure and it removed his irrational belief in homeopathy, would that validate homeopathy? (See Kurt Goedel for a detailed mathematical discussion of this conundrum.)

  24. jcm

    Nice take on the purveyor of woo.

  25. Cain

    @25 Your concern is noted

  26. JMW

    I used to love reading Dilbert, until I read the Dilbert Principle, Scott Adams’ book.

    The Dilbert Principle states that anyone can be an idiot at any time. He cites as evidence the time he took his beeper to the store where he bought it because he wasn’t working. The guy behind the counter took out the batteries, turned them around, and put them back in. Beeper worked.

    But, and this is the part that ruined Dilbert for me, he seemed to morph from “anyone can be an idiot at any time” to “everyone is an idiot all of the time, and deserves to be treated as such”. It seemed mean-spirited, and it turned me off Mr. Adams.

    Pity.

  27. mike burkhart

    This is acurate I mentioned hearing about stock brokers on Wall Street that use astrology ,tarot cards,and other fortune telling methoids to predict the Stock Market.Iv’e been wacthing James Bond movies most have no science inacurates (other then the crazy plots the bad guys come up with to take over the world ) execept in the movie Live and let die that has Jane Seymore playing a mystic who can acureitly read tarot cards,that is untill she dose it with Bond .

  28. Posted this yesterday on Bipedalia. I love Dilbert, even if Adams himself is off the mark.

  29. Ad Hominid

    ….and Fred Phelps… no, my mistake. Phelps is just 100% awful.

    Fred Phelps is so evil that other disbarred lawyers spurn him. It boggles the mind.

  30. QuietDesperation

    I like Adams because he might be one of the few people more cynical than me, and I can respect that much like, say, a musician respects a better musician. :)

    I really think he posits things just to get a rise or get people to think. I gotta love a guy who theorizes the Big Bang was God committing suicide.

    But, and this is the part that ruined Dilbert for me, he seemed to morph from “anyone can be an idiot at any time” to “everyone is an idiot all of the time, and deserves to be treated as such”

    So what you are saying is he injected too much reality into the strip. ;-)

    I miss the cartoon. There was a great episode about Internet fads, and a thinly veiled religious parody where all references to God are replaced by some imaginary fix-it guy named Todd.

    That being said, Pearls Before Swine owns Dilbert in every way.

  31. QuietDesperation

    I mentioned hearing about stock brokers on Wall Street that use astrology ,tarot cards,and other fortune telling methoids to predict the Stock Market.

    They call them “financial neural nets”, “econometric models” and “market prediction algorithms” but the results are about the same. :-)

  32. Rob

    @The Chemist: you want a good reference? Try this:

    Chapter Fourteen of “The Dilbert Future” (which he claims is the “serious” chapter) begins with “Prediction 63: The Theory of Evolution will be scientifically debunked in your lifetime.” His basis for this prediction is that the widely-accepted geocentric model was eventually overturned. The rest of the chapter is full of equally painful misinterpretations of quantum physics and causality. Just because you used to hang out with smart people does not necessarily make you smart.

    My suspicion is that Adams is a pseudo-skeptic: someone who takes a controversial stand against the overwhelming majority for the sole reason that he will be able to say “I told you so” if his long shot pays off. I know far too many of these people: egomaniacal, impotent, and desperate to be right just once.

  33. MadScientist

    @Ad Hominid: Was Phelps disbarred or did he simply cease practice? There’s a huge difference there. To say he’s fundamentally evil is also pretty silly. Ironically it is probably his own family and acquaintances who suffer the most from Phelps; the rest of us can happily ignore him even when he is doing his best to rile people by doing things such as harassing the friends and families of soldiers killed in war. He’s strange and loud, but I see folks such as Rush Limbaugh as being much worse for society than Phelps.

  34. CB

    I often read the Dilbert blog, and have never sensed any ID or creationist leanings. I have thought at times that he must be an atheist.

    I looked through his recent posts for some comment on religion and came up with this:

    “A Muslim, a Christian, and a crazy guy walk into a room. The one thing you can know for sure is that at least two out of three of them organize their lives around things that aren’t real. And that’s the best case scenario. Atheists would say all three have some explaining to do. And atheists are the minority, which is the very definition of abnormal.” – Scott Adams from the Dilbert Blog (http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/crazy_or_disciplined/)

    His writing style is often along the lines of “I’ll make some bold assertions based on superficial knowledge of a topic, and let people have at me in the comments”. I think that is fine. He is a cartoonist not a scientist.

  35. Trebuchet

    Scott Adams is very fond of yanking the chains of people who will react violently based on not really reading what he said. PZ Meyers is a classic example, unfortunately. Phil, you need to stop getting your info from PZ on this one. Adams is not a creationist, at least not of the evangelical Christian variety. Or any other religion, I think. He does like to speculate on subjects he freely admits to knowing nothing about.

  36. Korou

    Fred Clark, Slacktivist, points out that Fred Phelps does do one very good service (I’d link to it, but I’m in China, and can’t read Slacktivist now, aaaargh!). Anyway – the article should be easy enough to find, and it raises a very interesting point. What good does Fred Phelps do? Well, you know all those people screaming that their liberties are going to be taken away if gay marriage is legalised? (Fred Clark wrote this at the same time that the NOM adverts came out). He points out that Fred Phelps is still perfectly free and able to exercise his right to be a bigoted son of a bitch – so whatever liberties these wholesome-looking people in anti-gay adverts are worried about losing, they must be the liberties to do worse things than Fred Phelps does.
    “Are you planning to do something worse than Phelps?” Fred Clark asked. “No? Then shut up about your liberties. They’re safe.”

    That’s the service Fred Phelps does for us.

  37. ND

    Tree Lobsters!!!

  38. Pi-needles

    ^ND: What about ‘em?

  39. Newton

    by “getting people to think”, you mean think like you do right?

  40. pc

    I also thought Scott Adams was an atheist (believes we’re all just moist robots, if anything), did some digging around and found this archive of his old blog http://web.archive.org/web/20060107052222/http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2005/11/intelligent_des_1.html . In it, Scott says “I said I DON’T believe in Intelligent Design and PZ attacks me because I “blindly accepted the claims of the Designists.” Then he attacks Intelligent Design as if it were my view.”

    I enjoy both Adams and Myers’ work. I agree with Rob that Adams likes to provoke people with controversial ideas, without bothering to fact check (though he usually points this out).

  41. I remember the Adams-PZ “debate,” and I think Adams was just amused by PZ’s over-the-top reaction. It’s a classic case of someone being absolutely right and yet hurting his own cause in the debate. Adams waded into the subject by raising a couple of questions that could’ve been simply and rationally answered.

    The “serious” chapter in The Dilbert Future, though, always struck me a classic case of what happens when someone starts to get a complex about himself, thinking he’s some sort of visionary well beyond the bounds of what he knows well. He actually proved The Peter Principle instead of the Dilbert Principle.

    His comments on business and fads (like homeopathy) are brilliant.

  42. Alan

    Scott Adams wrote the following:
    “If you are new to the Dilbert Blog, I remind you that I don’t believe in Intelligent Design or Creationism or invisible friends of any sort. I just think that evolution looks like a blend of science and [BS], and have predicted for years that it would be revised in scientific terms in my lifetime. It’s a hunch – nothing more.”
    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/03/fossils_are_bul.html (probably over-cautious but NSFW language)

  43. @Cassandra

    I wonder how you could possibly think that atheists are “people who believe things despite a complete lack of evidence, and a preponderance of evidence against those beliefs.”

    In fact, that is quite the opposite of what an atheist is. Do you know any atheists, or are you just making assumptions about them based on what people who hate atheists say?

  44. Mike Burkhart

    About people with false belefs being made fun of 1st The 1st Admendment gives every one the right to beleve what they want no mater how weird it also give Phill and others the right to be skeptics and athests the right not to beleve 2nd If you insult people with belefs you consider false it won’t get these people to stop beleveing insted the will see themselfs as marters for the cause it may encorage the belef not destory it .

  45. Matt T

    @Cary (#42): At first I thought maybe Cassandra was just being clever. After all, aren’t most atheists atheists precisely because of a complete lack of evidence? But the second half of the statement made it a lot harder to interpret her comment along those lines. Oh well. It would have been funny.

  46. Ray

    Oprah has done good things that balance the woo? Name 3.

  47. Matt

    “I like the cartoon, though I’m not a huge fan of Scott Adams himself; his creationist/Intelligent Design leanings make that difficult.”

    Yes, how can anyone possibly be a decent chap and also believe in something so pedestrian as “creationism”?? blech! LOL. Bit full of yourself don’t you think?

    I really wish Discover would issue a ban on anything related to religion at this site. I won’t dispute the scientific credentials of the authors who write for Discover but I’m damn sure they know next to nothing about theology so they would be doing everyone a favor if they just avoided the topic all together. Trust me, the level of ignorance on display here when the topic turns to matters of faith is just staggering.

    I realize that a lot of folks here believe they’re somehow defending science from the “dim-witted religious zealots” but that’s just the problem. Too often, a conflict doesn’t even exist (ie. the incalculable number of silly posts suggesting that there is a conflict between evolutionary theory and MAINSTREAM Christian doctrine) but readers are forced to endure brain-dead defenses of theories not even in dispute.

    Please, just stick to science. That’s what we come here for. If I want an opinion on theology, I’ll go to an authority on the topic.

  48. Matt (#52): First, read this about my posts on religion, and then if you don’t like it, you are free to go away and never come back. It’s a big web with lots of room for me to write about topics I want to write about.

  49. cgray

    How many scientists have created something out of nothing? Zero? Not even a stick of juicy fruit gum? Amazing when you compare that to the creation of the entire universe. Well, I guess I’ll leave all you sophistimicated smart folks alone now, and go back to thumping my Bible. P.S.–If atheists are just as capable of being as moral and decent as believers, how come they all seem to be insufferable a$$holes like you, Phil?

  50. Doug

    “P.S.–If atheists are just as capable of being as moral and decent as believers, how come they all seem to be insufferable a$$holes”

    Because you come to our blogs and call us “insufferable a$$holes” for pointing out that your beliefs are based on wishful thinking?

    Not that there was anything in this blog post about religion anyway – from a scientific standpoint alone ID/creationism is completely worthless. I suggest you quit whining and learn to laugh at yourself.

  51. “Life is full of such conflicts; Jenny McCarthy is actually very funny when she’s not trying to infect the world with measles, Oprah does a lot of actual good work in contrast to her support of McCarthy”

    And, of course, Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. (Tip of the riverboat paddlewheel to Mark Twain)

  52. Chris G

    I’m sure Scott Adams is well capable of defending himself.
    My observations:
    He appears too smart to believe in creationism; he enjoys a ‘wind-up’, so will drop outrageous statements into his blog to get reaction from his ‘moist robot’ readers!

  53. JMW

    @ cgray #54
    “P.S.–If atheists are just as capable of being as moral and decent as believers, how come they all seem to be insufferable a$$holes like you, Phil?”

    I’ll take a stab at that. Like any other group of people, there is a broad spectrum of atheists. Most sit quietly at home and make no noise about their atheism. Some are almost as insufferable as people who wander the streets and go up to strangers and ask, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal saviour?”

    Funny how it’s the a$$holes who are vocal (although not all vocal ones are a$$holes).

  54. Sean H

    By the end of this comments thread I predict a complete resolution of conflict between all theists, atheists, nontheists, agnostics, and anti-theists(blame Hitchens for the last one).

  55. So, getting back to the topic of homeopathy, it would be really nice if we could get hospitals and academic medical centers to understand that homeopathy is just water (or ethanol). Places like Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Massachusetts.

  56. MartinM

    The juxtaposition of comments 52 and 54 is fairly amusing.

  57. David Mead

    I do disagree about attacking a person’s viewpoints but not the person themselves. That’s like saying that Hitler and Stalin had bad ideas but gee, they loved dogs and little kids. The views of a person are generally what makes that person who they are and therefore one and the same. Reagan and little Bush were crappy Presidents but great people- bulls***t!

  58. Cheyenne

    And finally Hitler is introduced into the blog comments. Amazing.

  59. JT

    “If atheists are just as capable of being as moral and decent as believers, how come they all seem to be insufferable a$$holes like you, Phil?”

    You come into Phil’s territory, spout all sorts of self-righteous BS, and HE’S the ***hole. Typical.

    Oh, and as far as being “moral and decent” I would consider such things as genocide and institutionalized child rape to be just a smidgen higher on the immorality scale then slight rudeness. So why don’t you take your smug self out of here and go take care of that beam in your eye before you bother lecturing us again.

  60. Gary Ansorge

    52. Matt

    “Trust me, the level of ignorance on display here when the topic turns to matters of faith is just staggering.”

    Oh goody, a theist who thinks all rational materialists know nothing about theology.

    I describe my personal attitudes as “agnostic, rational materialist” because I HAVE studied the subject in some depth and have decided that ALL organized religion is a rip off.

    NONE can provide the experience of our connection with the esoteric.

    ,,,but you, as an individual, could possibly experience that thru science. All you have to do is stimulate your “god module” and voila, instant metaphysical connection.

    Of course, that’s not to say that particular experience is what mystics throughout the ages have endured. The “spontaneous” mystical experience usually leaves the recipient totally worthless as a functioning member of society whereas our technologically induced variety allows one to return to our daily lives inspired but functional.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d probably do the techno approach. It would have saved me about a million dollars in lost income.

    I KNOW what those old time prophets experienced. I know WHAT they called god.

    It was amazing but,,, it was PHYSICAL. Not some magical, granted from on high experience.

    I say, if there IS a god, we’re it.

    ,,,and that totally undermines the lock religions claim to have, that THEIR approach(to an experience of god) is the only valid one.

    They’re wrong!

    GAry 7

  61. Calli Arcale

    cgray @ 54:

    How many scientists have created something out of nothing? Zero? Not even a stick of juicy fruit gum? Amazing when you compare that to the creation of the entire universe. Well, I guess I’ll leave all you sophistimicated smart folks alone now, and go back to thumping my Bible. P.S.–If atheists are just as capable of being as moral and decent as believers, how come they all seem to be insufferable a$$holes like you, Phil?

    Respectfully, cgray, I’d like to point out that the first person to use profanity in this thread was you. That’s probably not a very effective way to show that believers are moral and decent, unless your definition of those terms is something rather un-Christian.

    The God of all Creation, who sent his son to die for our sins….. I believe in Him. I believe He made this universe. That doesn’t mean evolution is false. Evolution says nothing whatsoever about how it got started; if you want to criticize evolution, bringing creation into the story is rather silly because it’s irrelevant. Like criticizing the book “Ulysses” by demolishing “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, it really just makes you look like you have no idea what you’re talking about. (And honestly, even the Big Bang doesn’t contradict the idea that God created the Universe. I’m not quite sure what could, because it’s a pretty much untestable thesis.)

    One does not need to be a Christian, or even a believer in any god, to be moral or just or ethical. These things are inherent in the world; they do not depend on faith. The world becomes a better place when we care for one another. God had to send His son to tell us that, which says far more about us than it does about God. If we need to be Christians to know that we should be nice to others, than we’re not very pretty people. It should be something we accept *regardless* of faith.

    ————————–
    Matth @ 52:

    really wish Discover would issue a ban on anything related to religion at this site. I won’t dispute the scientific credentials of the authors who write for Discover but I’m damn sure they know next to nothing about theology so they would be doing everyone a favor if they just avoided the topic all together. Trust me, the level of ignorance on display here when the topic turns to matters of faith is just staggering.

    I’m a Christian myself, and greatly enjoy this blog. I haven’t seen a massive amount of ignorance on display; if you’re troubled by Phil’s perception of certain Christians, perhaps you should consider what sort of a picture those Christians present of the faith. And I think Phil’s made it pretty clear that he draws a distinction between the whackaloon element and Christians as a whole. That coverups of abuse were institutionalized in the Church is shocking, and Phil was within his rights to say so. Do we hedge our words if it has to do with religion? Are you seriously saying that religion is above criticism? I hope not, because men and women have done untold damage using religion as their weapon through the millenia of recorded history.

    Phil hasn’t talked theology much at all. He’s talked science, and how religion tries to muscle around and prevent science from being done, when the results of that science would be inconvenient. He’s talked about religions interfering in the educational system, and he’s talked about racism and abuse and bigotry perpetrated by people doing so in the name of God. He’s given his opinions on matters which religions have also expressed opinions about. None of that is theology. Just because it involves faith doesn’t mean it’s theology, nor does it mean anyone who lacks a theology degree is disqualified from expressing an opinion. Note also that just because you believe in God doesn’t mean your theology is any better. I know a lot of Christians who never crack open a Bible except to follow along with the reading on Sunday morning; faith doesn’t ensure any sort of expertise.

    Frankly, you should be opposed to a lot of the things Phil has spoken against, because they are also contrary to many religions. Yet I see few believers openly criticizing the likes of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, despite the dubious theological standing of many of their views. Instead, believers rally around them, blindly defending them against the supposed hoards of anti-Christian attackers, without for a moment realizing that they’re not defending something very nice. It’s like a lot of people think religion is something you’re not supposed to examine very critically, and that’s dangerous. If you believe in the existence of an anti-Christ, that should terrify you, because *that* is precisely how an anti-Christ would operate. Not by demolishing Christianity from the outside, but by infiltrating it, dividing it, and turning it from a message of love and charity to a message of hate and selfishness. Think about it. A closed mind is a bad thing to have in science, but it’s at least as dangerous in matters of faith.

  62. Calli Arcale

    Gary Ansorge @ 65:

    I KNOW what those old time prophets experienced. I know WHAT they called god.

    It was amazing but,,, it was PHYSICAL. Not some magical, granted from on high experience.

    I say, if there IS a god, we’re it.

    ,,,and that totally undermines the lock religions claim to have, that THEIR approach(to an experience of god) is the only valid one.

    I agree (about the last part). For one thing, it’s not sensible to say that God is real *and* there is only way to find Him. If God is real, and involved in our world, *inevitably* there will be more than one way to find Him. If you can only find Him through one religion, that’s a pretty good sign of a fake. To draw an analogy, if a salesman tells you he, and only he, can find the deadly toxins lurking in your drinking water, and you are indeed unable to replicate any of his tests, he’s probably faking the results. This is a no-brainer. Yet many people will claim freely that their religion is the only one that can really show you God, that the others are all fakes. Why does the same standard not apply?

    I regard Christianity as a very good path towards God, but it can’t possibly be the only one. Assuming, of course, that God exists. Only if God did *not* exist could Christianity be the only path, because it could only be true if Christianity were a fraud.

    BTW, on the “we are God” thing — have you read “Stranger in a Strange Land”? Very good book. It makes that assertion, and puts it like this: “thou art God.”

  63. Gary Ansorge

    67. Calli Arcale

    “BTW, on the “we are God” thing”

    I read “Stranger,,,” in 1962(as I recall). I was traveling from Saudi Arabia back to high school in the US. Picked up the novel in the London airport and consumed it on that long flight.

    I’ve always enjoyed Heinliens SciFi. He was a very thoughtful man.

    He was not the first person to state “Thou art God”. I believe Quakers say the same thing or at least imply it by addressing everyone as “Thou”.

    On the subject of faith;
    When people say they have “faith in God” what they really mean is they have faith in some human who is expounding on what THEY think it’s all about.

    Unless that particular individual has had his “mystical experience” he don’t know squat.(see; Thomas Aquinas last words).
    ,,,and I’m pretty sure the Pope hasn’t had that particular experience or, for that matter, has any other church elder.

    Which is why I say ALL organized religions are bull.

    Just my two bits,,,

    Gary 7

  64. Calli Arcale @ 66: You have rekindled my waning hope for humanity. Thank you so very much. May your words reach far and wide.
    Respectfully Yours, Regner

  65. Gary Ansorge

    54. cgray

    “How many scientists have created something out of nothing?”

    Scientists don’t “create”, we DISCOVER and one of the things we’ve discovered is that the universe itself “creates” virtual particles, which, under the right circumstances, can become “real” particles.

    ,,,but you’d have to have actually STUDIED quantum physics to know that.

    Gary 7

  66. ND (#50): Ha! I was wondering why I was getting traffic from a post about Dilbert. :-D

  67. ND

    A minister, a priest and an astronomer were discussing finances …

    Edit: hmm… I think those Vatican astronomers are smarter than we realize.

  68. Drew

    As many others before me have mentioned, Scott Adams DOES NOT believe in ID. I find it somewhat troubling that the Bad Astronomer, someone who is supposed to be curing ignorance and fighting the good fight, failed to discover this for himself.

    There are lots of good reasons to dislike Scott Adams, but his “belief” in Intelligent Design isn’t one of them.

  69. t-storm

    good points about phelps. he does get people thinking. thinking about evil, and other things.

  70. Toothygrin

    Continuing along the Phelps line of thinking.

    Just for a moment, consider:

    Could the entire Phelps/Westboro Church thing be one, long-term, over-the-top “Poe?” Could this be a dedicated, premedidated, and (extraordinarily) committed act with the intention to shame absolutist fundamentalism?

    Could he in fact be playing, “Devil’s Advocate?”

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