56 thoughts on “We’re wrong about just one thing less. . .

  1. Hopefully being an atheist means that there is one fewer obstacle to becoming right about a lot of other things.

  2. Off-topic, but did anyone else watch President Obama’s presser today? He was as articulate, on-point, and incisive as I’ve ever seen him. Plus, that’s two times in a row he’s rocked the no-tie look. Barack may end up doing for the cravat what JFK did for the chapeau.

          1. I am 73 and know the English meaning of both words.
            Jackie hated the French apparently. My French wife does not like them much either.

          2. I seem to recall the French going nuts for Jackie when she and Jack made a state visit to France — to the point where JFK took to calling himself “the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.”

            Not sure how Jackie felt about the French, but I believe she had spent some time studying in Paris during her youth, developing a taste for French cuisine, couture, and culture.

          3. “I seem to recall the French going nuts for Jackie…”

            Who didn’t?

            I can’t recall another president’s wife so… personable till Michelle Obama.


          4. “Based on sex appeal, I presume?”

            Well, no. Not as such.

            ‘personable’ seems to be defined as ‘pleasant, amiable, attractive’ to which I’d add ‘intelligent’.

            Being good-looking and sexy (in a suitably refined way) certainly doesn’t hurt but it’s not the same thing.


          5. I like Jackie and Michelle for a lot of reasons, but there’s no denying that they’re both fine-looking specimen of the human female form. I’ve also liked some First Ladies who didn’t fit that description — Eleanor Roosevelt foremost among them (although, of course, she was well before my time 🙂 ).

            Come to think of it, I’ve liked most of the First Ladies of my lifetime, some of ’em a damn site more than I’ve cared for their husbands.

          6. I said most. Nancy was never a favorite of mine while in the White House. I’ve gained some respect for her over the years nonetheless, especially the way she dealt with Ronnie’s Alzheimer’s.

            BTW, I thought it was an inspired bit of casting to have Nancy played by Jane Fonda in The Butler.

      1. Just to show what old is, I remember when the military use to have a cravat. I never had to wear it but then I was in the working class.

      2. Nobody under 60 can remember JFK going hatless at his inauguration (or how haberdashery hat sales tanked immediately thereafter).

          1. I saw Senator Jack Kennedy in person, from the sidewalk in front of my grade school as his convertible drove by while he campaigned in the Fall before his election.

            He looked tanned, rested, and ready, as I recall.

          2. Never saw JFK in person, but I saw & heard an inspiring stump speech by RFK less than a month before he was shot. A matter of days, I believe it was…

          1. I hate hats but, unfortunately, I do wear one on hot days. It avoids the risk of getting sunburn on my, err, alternatively hirsuitally enabled area. As a sort of protest, the once-white ‘Aussie hat’ I wear is now a mottled shade of off-white, with the odd oil-stain, coke-stain etc. Strictly a functional sunshade.

            By contrast, I cannot remember the last time I wore a tie (maybe st someone’s funeral), since ties have no practical function whatever.

            Well done Obama.


          2. Men started wearing ties when they stopped wearing codpieces.
            And that’s not the Piece of Cod that passeth understanding.

          3. “Men started wearing ties when they stopped wearing codpieces.”


            By the way, I was wrong. Ties used to have a function, of sorts. Just one. In older cars, if the fan belt broke, and a nylon stocking wasn’t available, a tie (if sufficiently long) could make an emergency replacement. (However, I thought it more sensible to carry a spare fan belt).


          4. I’m trying to think what use a fan belt would be as an item of apparel.

            Less use than socks (which, reputedly, Albert Einstein didn’t bother to wear).


  3. I would suggest that it is more than one less thing that we are wrong about. This is because belief in a god or gods usually comes with a whole package of other wrong beliefs attached to it.

  4. This would make a great poster – to be hung outside every student union*, as well as every atheist convention and, of course, our own bedrooms.
    *’though it would probably be torn down by someone who thinks it might hurt the feelings of those who, through no fault of their own, are sexist, misogynistic, etc.

    1. being tolerance actually means not tolerating tolerance

      it;s not a way for people to find other ways to be self centred jerks

      so at least the bigots have the comfort of being correct in their understanding they are being told to shut up and yield the public square for others to have a turn

      and the longer they drag it out, the more in affirmative action social compensation it’s going to cost.

        1. “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” — Karl Popper, _The Open Society and Its Enemies_ (1945)


          1. Yes and no, yes when it equalizes and no when it becomes aggravated… although, there is really no polite way to tell someone either “you are hellbound” or “adults with gods are stupid” … so there is private held views vs publically expressed positions and the need for an arm swing to end before someone’s nose space … honesty without brutality and the discourse of civilization at least as a veneer, thus the reason to understand optics of politically correctness. 🙂

        2. Well that depends on what you define as ‘intolerance’. I suspect my definition might not be the same as yours.

          The “your ‘terrorist’ is my ‘freedom fighter'” sort of thing.


  5. Logically, this is redundant. I doubt anyone’s overconfident enough to make categorical claims that could be easily disproved by showing just one nutjob atheist. The interesting question is whether atheism (or a tendency towards atheism, such as agnosticism and secularism, if you want to be broad) correlates with a decrease of some undesirable trait.

    The stats of Western versus Middle Eastern countries, for instance, is pretty clear, and the stats across US states is suggestive: the less religious a country or state, the less socially dysfunctional it is. That suggests that some problems would go down if there was less religious belief. Emphasis on some. Linking correlation to causation is the hard part.

    That said, it’s not religion that’s the main problem. The main problem seems to be more fundamental: the mindset behind “alternative” medicine, ufology, astrology, extremely unlikely conspiracy theories, and all manner of widespread irrationalities. Religion is just another symptom, and one that varies in its severity depending on the religion in question.

    It’s the root cause that you want to target: irrational thinking wherever it occurs.

      1. Good one!

        That said, I think putting “philosophy” in there is a bit unfair. At heart, it is at least the only one there which can claim something worthwhile: a rational inquiry into relevant subjects like ethics and epistemology. Many philosophers like the Ancient Greeks and Hume and Popper and Russell and Dennett are pretty good. But I guess it would’ve ruined the joke to make such a distinction.

        1. I don’t look at either of these cartoons being blanket indictments, just reminders that 1) healthy skepticism in one area doesn’t always spill over into other areas, and 2) as you say, the real problem is less about the particular tool kit you use and more whether you use it to investigate the world or simply to fortify your own biases. And although I see theology being used most often in the later way, I’ve see lots of examples of this from the other two as well.

  6. Being an atheist might not make me a better person than someone else, but being an atheist has indeed made me a better person than my old self.

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