Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ confirmation bias

August 25, 2021 • 11:40 am

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “ton”, came with this Patreon note:

You never see these tête-à-têtes between Jesus and the barmaid, when Mo is down the mosque and Jesus is having a crafty pint.

The Divine Duo finally agree not only that God (or Allah) works in mysterious ways, but also that He/She/It imbues us with delusions to keep us following the faith.

14 thoughts on “Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ confirmation bias

  1. Heh.
    I remember having a long discussion with a Catholic who asserted that the Miracle of the Sun in 1917 at Fatima was strong evidence for the existence of God. A large crowd of devout worshippers had gathered due to a prophecy and presumably witnessed the sun “dancing” around the sky. Multiple witnesses and ‘an atheist reporter who converted on the spot’ — answer that!

    When faced with the obvious counterpoint that the sun could not possibly have behaved in such a fashion without 1.) everyone around the world noticing and 2.) the destruction of the solar system, the pious apologist admitted that yes, it must have been a delusion — from the entire crowd! God sent a delusion as evidence of His Presence! It’s a miracle!

    Everyone eventually ended up agreeing that you’d have to already be Catholic to find that compelling.

    1. Heh indeed. I’ve always said, that was a seriously lame miracle! Maybe after expending the effort necessary to fool the faithful sungazers, it was too much for the BVM to intervene in WWI, or prevent the Spanish Flu. All She seems to have accomplished is to make the whole idea of miracles into an object of derision.

    2. I think my favourite-ever such line went (uttered without irony):

      “God wouldn’t be mean enough to allow me to believe in him if he didn’t exist!”

    3. When I was young and a newly minted ex-Catholic, I found the Miracle of the Sun disturbing and difficult to explain. The thing is, it never occurred to me that anyone would think the sun really moved. That was obviously impossible — not because it was beyond the power of God (who could easily have preserved the integrity of the solar system if He had wanted to), but because the rest of the world would have seen it as well.

      No, I always understood the miracle to be the creation of an illusion, and I assumed everyone else saw it the same way. But as miracles go, that’s still extremely impressive! Even with all of today’s technology I can’t see any way you could assemble a large crowd in an open field on a clear day and create the illusion of the sun moving erratically around in the sky. If I could do that on demand, wouldn’t it bother you? Wouldn’t you pay attention to what I had to say?

      As I got older and more cynical I realized that I had been putting too much trust in the reporting of the event. I wasn’t actually standing in that field, I have no great confidence in the reliability of the people who were, and just because something appears in a newspaper (especially a foreign newspaper that you know nothing about) doesn’t mean it’s true. But if I had been standing in that field, and I actually had seen the sun dance across the sky, it would have been extremely difficult to come up with a rationalist justification for dismissing it as something other than a miracle.

      1. Skeptical literature has often addressed what happens when an anticipating crowd suddenly “see” the same phenomenon — flying saucers, moving statues, dancing suns, what have you. Apparently it quickly spreads by suggestion.

        “Look — over there! It changed color, it’s BLUE!” And those who hear then see, and remark, and on it goes. I think studies have been done on this, with unwitting subjects in a room full of stooges agreeing with whatever the majority says. Not just saying so, but interpreting a somewhat ambiguous situation according to prompts.

        Couple that with malleable memories, high stress situation, and staring at a bright object and it’s not at all difficult for me to come up with an explanation for why I, a doubting atheist, saw that sun dance, too.

  2. Re the Fatima ‘miracle’, Joshua said to the Lord “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon” nothing particularly new under the sun, methinks.
    Reminds us of Lamartine’s: “Ô temps, suspends ton vol” . The question that immediately comes to mind is: “for how long?”

    1. I think that the sun’s standing still to give Joshua sufficient time to defeat the Amorites in the Valley of Ayalon was one of the areas on which Clarence Darrow cross-examined William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes “monkey” trial — or at least on which Spencer Tracy cross-examined Fredric March in Inherit the Wind. 🙂

    1. I think it is the delusion that than makes people susceptible to the illusion to which they can later allude resulting in ‘an allusion to an illusion to support a delusion’. So the whole thing goes around and around. It’s a bit confusing, but there you are.

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