Tuesday, November 25, 2008


In response to some of the comments I got from the previous post, I'd like to clarify a few things.

I do not think that all religious faith is dangerous or stupid. As an atheist, I don't believe in spiritual beings or forces, but neither do I believe that all such beliefs are dangerous. The Noah's ark satire is aimed at people who blatantly ignore science in favor of ancient parables. In my opinion, people with this kind of mentality should not be in positions of power in our government. This description does not include all politicians who believe in a higher power, it does include people like Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson. Their brand of faith almost invariably ends in the abuse of people who do not share it, as the abuser believes he or she is doing god's will.

Many fundamentalists I have spoken with have ridiculed the way science changes and contradicts itself constantly, citing that the Bible has not changed in thousands of years. First, the Bible has, indeed, changed fairly dramatically over time and its various translations, but more importantly, the ever-changing landscape of science is precisely what is good about it. As we learn more, we alter our understanding to reflect the new evidence. Yes, one could say it takes a modicum of "faith" to believe certain aspects of scientific theory, but the difference between those theories and ancient texts is that scientific theories are based on evidence, while scriptures tend to be based on principles. That fact doesn't make the principles any less worthwhile (or more worthwhile, for that matter), but nor does it make the stories used to express those principles literally true.

Finally, the ark in the cartoon is not meant to be scientifically feasible or historically accurate. It's just a satire based on a commonly known Bible story.

My blog, my two cents worth. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments!


isee3dtoo said...

Good answer.

And if we don't laugh at our own beliefs be it science, religion, or both, then we probably need a beer.

Whoopeddog said...

It's amazing to me that our times are such that you would even need to offer such a clarification. The cartoon is hilarious.

ldisme said...

ah luvz your sense of humour, dan. would you translate that cartoon into the original hebrew please? and @isee3dtoo: ah'll havz a beer too

Anonymous said...

and the "evidence" you speak of is ultimately supported by mere principles.

Kevin said...

Dan, love this satire and most of your work even though I am one who thinks that 17th century Enlightenment has screwed up our categories for truth and thus wrongly fooled us into trusting the god of science and its priests, scientists.

My only challenge to you would be to reflect on how many things in life you accept as being true or that you know to be true without any evidence or evidence you can't corroborate yourself. It's the philosophical notions underlying knowledge and truth that can push dialogue deeper and help in our understanding of one another.

Thanks for making us smile and laugh!

SAYOTTE316 said...

Yes, one could say it takes a modicum of "faith" to believe certain aspects of scientific theory, but the difference between those theories and ancient texts is that scientific theories are based on evidence, while scriptures tend to be based on principles

You couldn't of said this any better.

Anonymous said...

You could've said it better, Sayotte. Try "couldn't HAVE said this any better."

SAYOTTE316 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stevie G.B. said...

I thought it freaking HI-larious...

Jeremy said...

What I find the funniest is when people ridicule something they say isn't possible (scientifically, logically, etc) while being just as impossible themselves.

Combat fallacy with logic, not more fallacy.

Anonymous said...

Great cartoon, Dan. Keep it up by making us laugh AND think.

This post was a great read.

As an atheist myself I find it funny how a group who claims that they should forgive and turn the other cheek has such a hard time accepting people for having a different opinion than themselves.

If you are a Christian and like that, fine and good for you, but please stop the preaching.

And please, you claim God exist, you are the one with the responsibility to prove his existence, not me.
Same as if I claim I can fly like a bird. It's not up to you to prove that, it's my responsibility to prove I can fly like a bird.

Now, let's be friends and have fun. :-)

Mr. Johnson said...

But DAN, science tells us we're all gonna die. Religion tells us we're all gonna live! It's as simple as that. Science is scary, and I don't like it. It makes me think about the exhaust from my SUV. Why should I?

I think the bible translation got all screwed up when the monks who were copying it got jazzed on wine and ergot. The arc story was actually told to us by God to give us the idea that we are on an arc RIGHT NOW. We are currently pulling off the hull planks to use as XBox 360s and pooping in the galley, so the ship... she's starting to list a little. But wait a second. It's just science telling us that, and I don't believe in science. It tells us we're all gonna die for Chrissakes.

Thinking hurts.

SAYOTTE316 said...


fallacy...what does act of giving bj have to do with it

Jodie said...

I think the cartoon is funny. It's sort of like the Far Side cartoon of dinosaurs smoking that said, "Why dinosaurs became extinct." I believe your humor is up there with a number of my favorites in that it takes at least average intelligence to understand it and sometimes much more. It's funny when people take it seriously as an insult to religion or something. Of course, I'm not a Christian. I grew seeing religion in society all around me. I think it gives you a different perspective to not belong to a majority group.

Unknown said...

Isee3dtoo: I'll drink to that.

Also: fine, caught me. My faith covers the null-set.

What's the sound of one hand clapping?

All hail the intersection of A and B (where A = {2n, n = 1 to infinity} and B = {2n - 1, n = 1...})!!!
Just doesn't have the right ring to it...

My point is that science itself should not require faith. But I will admit that when accepting the results of those outside your field, it takes some faith in those people to believe their results. But a good scientist shouldn't take it on faith, and should point out that it's not 100% certain those rocks came from Mars, just somewhat likely.

Mr. Piraro himself: You often seem to mention restraining your political impulses in your cartoons, or noting the ire raised by their (perhaps inadvertent) political content- ever consider doing a separate run of just political cartoons?

Anonymous said...


Yeah, those people remind me of the people that wave the "freedom of speech" flag but then cry for censorship when they can't dominate the speech. Sound familiar, Piraro?

munchy365 said...


Anonymous said...

Dan, thanks for your excellent example of clear thinking. It's so rare these days. There is hope, though, we got rid of Palin and Bush in one fell swoop!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,
Your cartoons are hilarious !!! I do not know exactly why my local newspaper no longer publishes your work. I love them and read your blog almost everyday.

Although I am a Christian and I named my son Noah, I agree that mixing religious beliefs with other things, is dangerous.

I have been thinking of writing a book, tentatively titled, " Why People Stop Believing In God / I Am Not A Dog ". Even within the church, there are power plays in the mix. These other things really turn me off, because people in positions of power are abusing their authority, and passing it off as God's holy will. My Muslim friends tell me that this also happens in the mosque. In my book, power plays is only one of several reasons why people stop believing in God.

If it ever gets published in some form, would you be willing to write the Foreword ?

Please email me at honda_stream1211@hotmail.com

Thanks & Best Wishes,

Unknown said...

You couldn't have said it better.

I loved the very proper way in which you told these fanatics to grow a sense of humor. ^^

Go science!

Anonymous said...

Suiz - you are not a member of this club. Go elsewhere.

isee3dtoo said...


Suiz, come on in, take off you shoes, and stay awhile you will brighten the place up.

Prof. Rick Duncan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh Duncan said...

"In my opinion, people with this kind of mentality should not be in positions of power in our government."

That idea is Orwellian, Dan.

Anonymous said...

suiz, isee3dtoo is our resident nutjob. pay no attention to him. no one does.