Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ skepticism

Wednesday is Jesus and Mo Day, and today’s strip, called “guard”, came with an email note:

Today’s strip was inspired by this book review.

The book, “Not Born Yesterday” by Hugo Mercier, is on my to-read list.

Here’s the book from Princeton University Press, and if you click on the screenshot you’ll go to the US Amazon link. It was published on January 28 of this year, and looks well worth reading.

Now to the strip, which shows another example of religious doublethink:



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Interesting. The theme of the book seems to go against reality.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      My thought, too.

    • sted24
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      What about the evidence it presents? I haven’t read it. Mercier had a so-so editorial in the Guardian a couple of days ago.

      More interesting, perhaps, was a piece about his and others’ work a year ago in the Observer (the Guardian’s rather less woke little brother/sister).

      It ended with a quiz, which readers here seem to like. Probably too easy, but the last one made me laugh:

      Test your powers of reasoning
      1. A bat and a ball cost £1.10 in total. The bat costs £1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
      2. It takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets. How long does it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
      3. A patch of lily pads on a lake doubles in size daily. It takes 48 days for it to completely cover the lake. How long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

      • Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        1 The ball costs a shilling, the bat costs a guinea.

        2 It depends on if there’s enough raw materials in stock and how long it takes to order if not.

        3 No time at all. It’s already covering the whole lake.

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    OTOH, if you’re Born Again, you likely were born yesterday.

  3. Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Well, it’s consistent with the author’s line of reasoning to predict that people *are* gullible to *certain kinds* of stories. Stories that tell them they’re great, everything they’ve done is right and proper, and they deserve everything they steal. (Only don’t call it stealing.) Those stories will pass the “whose side is the speaker on?” test. These stories will sell like hotcakes, no matter how much BS they’re packed with.

  4. rickflick
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    It’s nice to see JC reading something other than the bible. Doesn’t he usually defend against new ideas get into his brain?

    With so many gullible people evident around us, I wonder if the book will explain that.

  5. robb mcallister
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Funny, the last 3+ years I’ve found more friends and family whom I love, and thought intelligent, to be gullible, and I’d never had thought them to be. I knew them to be indoctrinated as to religion and conservatism but not to the shocking and disturbing extent that they’ve shown. I love them dearly and struggle with how to relate to and with them. And I’m serious. I wrestle with it daily.

  6. Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be interested to see how this author reconciles what seem to be contradictory positions.

    For example, in the cartoon it is said that we evaluate information based upon who is offering it, and what their motivation might be, but this is not inconsistent with being gullible! In fact, deciding who you trust can be an indicator of your gullibility.

    Some of us do a better job than others at making such decisions.

  7. Posted April 1, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    The problem IMO is it is very hard work and needs constant attention not to fall prey to false, misleading shysters.
    Lack of energy, over inflating ones abilities, even a warm pleasent day can preload the unwary to deception.
    The brain has lots of tricks to make sense of the world but living in complex societies for a social ape with a primitive organ for hardware and software on board, has it’s downside.

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