Two cartoons for Tuesday

July 22, 2014 • 12:30 pm

A different take on evolution vs. religion, from Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller:

nq140720

 

And, out of the mouths of swine. . .From The Atheist Pig, a great webcomic that has gone defunct, as the artist appears to have lost interest.

alien+abductions

The last panel reminds me of the “one god less” trope of Dawkins and others.

h/t: Linda Grilli, jsp, Mark

15 thoughts on “Two cartoons for Tuesday

    1. My geography teacher used to describe the inverse argument as the “Five million American Housewives can’t be wrong” Argument, after a profoundly stupid (by the standards of TV adverts) TV advert of the time.
      Anyone care to try to make that into d*g Latin? Argumentum di pente milliones?

  1. The comparison between religion and alien abductions is not just snark. Read psychologist Susan Clancy’s Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens for an entertaining and thought-provoking exploration on how otherwise normal, ordinary people can come to believe in the most extraordinary things. Clancy was interested in examining the topic of ‘invented memories’ for I think her doctorate and quickly discovered that child abuse was a hot wire … but extraterrestrial abduction was safe. So she put out a bunch of ads and gathered together a bunch of subjects, trying to figure out what made them tick.

    It’s a fun read. As I recall, one of the most surprising things she found was that most of the believers admitted they had no memories whatsoever of being abducted. So why did they think it had happened? Because as they saw it only alien abduction “made sense” of their problems. It connected all the dots and wove their lives into a larger narrative of drama and significance. Sound familiar?

    I have friends who are — if not true believers — very sympathetic to the possibility of aliens visiting our planet and kidnapping people. They treat my skepticism on this topic with the same combination of pity and indignation they use on my expressions of doubt for any and all religious/spiritual beliefs. That’s wrong. It’s rude … and closed-minded … and disrespectful of other people’s “truths!” (Unless I’m attacking fundamentalists or … oh please please … other atheists (which I don’t — I’m one of the Bad Ones.)

    Alien abduction is included into the privileged position of “faith,” in other words. No belief is ever supposed to be questioned if it is “deeply held.” And literally anything is supposed to be considered possible.

    1. It is a ‘respect for others’ approach to life combined with a cautionary “there is so much we don’t understand” approach. Nevermind that “The Laws Underlying The Physics of Everyday Life Are Completely Understood” [http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2010/09/23/the-laws-underlying-the-physics-of-everyday-life-are-completely-understood/] and that being able to distinguish between reality and fantasy should be a pretty minimal mutual expectation for a sapient being.

    2. I forget what it’s called, but there’s a form of sleep disorder where you wake up suddenly and are completely paralysed, but the dream continues. I used to suffer a lot many years ago. It was always pretty terrifying. I once went without sleep for three days after experiencing about 8-10 episodes in a single night and finding it difficult to face more sleep. I was familiar with the typical alien abduction description and there seemed an obvious parallel. You wake up. You’re paralysed. You’re terrified, and you hallucinate. If you believe in aliens and are aware of abduction stories I could see how you might start attributing such experiences to ET. Thankfully, I never believed in such crap, so I just put it down to a sleep disorder.

      1. “Night Terrors” I think, with hypnagagic hallucinations occurring while falling asleep and hynopompic hallucinations taking place before waking up — both being a blend of waking-and-sleeping states which feel absolutely convincing while having them. They’re usually interpreted to fit cultural expectations, with ghosts and demons being popular in times past.

        Although alien abductions themselves don’t require supernatural elements, they often take them on. Same for UFOs. There’s a strong tendency for believers to see space aliens as not just technologically advanced, but spiritually, too. Sometimes they’re supposed to come from another dimension which pretty much sounds like the spiritual realm. Like God, they are always obsessed with human well-being, watching and waiting for those who are “enlightened” enough to come accept their all-important universe-crossing message (which is usually something like “don’t pollute,” “nuclear war is bad,” or “the material world is only an illusion which we can change with the force of our intentions.” Wow.)

        Years ago I hosted an atheist/skeptic/humanist booth which was set up right across from a Urantia booth. This is a sort of New Age religion channeled through space aliens. The very nice man saw my setup and came over all excited, telling me that Urantia was ALSO a science-friendly, science-based world view just like secular humanism. I smiled and kept telling him “no, it’s not the same. Not even close. Not really.”

        He took some of my literature, and came back later without a smile to tell me I was right.

        1. Science fiction films (“ET,” “Starman,””2001,” etc.) often depict aliens as god-like beings. ET performs miracles and instructs humans “Be good;” he even rises from the dead and ascends to Heaven in the final scene! Hmmmm, I wonder where they got that idea?
          Old wine in a new skin.

          1. I remember reading (so it must be true) that the sleep disorder you mentioned is attributed to the left hemisphere of the brain being asleep while the right hemisphere is awake. So you’re awake/aware, but can’t move. Though the right hemisphere still controls movement of the left side, so it seems illogical. Anyone else hear of this explanation of the phenomenon? I guess I could google it, but don’t have time right now.

            1. “quickly discovered that child abuse was a hot wire”

              So true. I was dating a psychologist (a starbucks barista with a BA in psychology and a minor in women’s studies who very occasionally blogged about the subject) when the subject of a high profile child abuse scandal came up in conversation. Her reaction was to make blanket indictments and cite laughably hyperbolic statistics about the prevalence of child abuse. I brought up the McMartin Buckey case as an anecdotal example and cited the wholly unjustified “satanic panic” of the early 1990’s. She broke up with me on the spot. Which , in hindsight, I’d have to regard as a good thing since I am not currently dating a self-absorbed know-it-all who can’t back up her arguments and is willing to believe anything as long as it conforms to her misandrous worldview. If you have to remind your girlfriend on a regular basis that most men are not, in fact, violent sexual predators . . . it’s time to get a new girlfriend.

      1. “Scotty, where were you keeping that anal probe hidden?”
        “On second thoughts, I’d rather not know.”

  2. Reblogged this on Think Blots and commented:
    Brilliant cartoons. And if you don’t follow ‘Why Evolution is True’ I suggest you take a look. Great posts by an author whose book (same name as the blog) I greatly admire. Plus the comments on posts are, on the whole, witty, pithy and erudite. Nice work.

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