Scooby-Doo is Veggie Tales for secular humanists

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101 Responses to “Scooby-Doo is Veggie Tales for secular humanists”

  1. dfletcher says:

    It’s all fun and games until Scrappy shows up. After that, the show is impossible to watch without vomit inducing nausea ensuing.

  2. Teirhan says:

    I too like to catch out crooks and liars by running through ostensibly haunted houses to zany music while chased by said crooks and liars.

  3. GawainLavers says:

    Dammit, our secret is out!

  4. esme says:

    I first saw this in Tim Minchin’s Storm — where he references Scooby Doo and says “Throughout history every mystery ever solved has turned out to be Not Magic.”

    • Clicked through to mention the superb work of Tim Minchin, but I see esme already beat me to it. “Not magic” indeed. Hurrah. [93]

    • sagodjur says:

      I came here to say the same thing:

      “If you must watch telly, you should watch Scooby Doo.
      That show was so cool
      because every time there was a church with a ghoul
      Or a ghost in a school
      They looked beneath the mask and what was inside?
      The fucking janitor or the dude who ran the water-slide.
      Because throughout history
      Every mystery
      EVER solved has turned out to be
      NOT magic.”

  5. cramerica says:

    Sonny: And this dog f***in talks, man!

  6. Ultra Fem says:

    It USED to be. These days, there are ACTUAL witches, zombies and aliens in these damn Scooby movies.

    • It’s 50/50 actually – some have real, some don’t, many have both fakers and real supernatural goings on. I kinda like that they’re mixing up the formula but underneath it all, I think the message is still the same – question everything, look for the facts, think for yourself.

    • Ambiguity says:

      This is true. I was disappointed when I realized this (my kids used to watch it).

      Don’t get me wrong — I have nothing against supernatural fantasy as a genre. But must it eat everything in its path? When I was a kid I ENJOYED the fact that it was always a slide projector, and my friends and I used to try to figure out how we could get stuff like that to work in real life.

      • Jorpho says:

        The problem, as illustrated by Scooby-Doo, is that supernatural fantasy has considerably more potential.  Reading children’s lit as a young’un, it grew very tiresome to read story after story about children who think there’s something spooky or unknown going on, only to find out again and again that no, there is no such thing, and they are just being silly kids.

    • Matt Miller says:

      That’s true of the movies, but not of the most recent series, “Scooby Doo: Mystery, Incorporated,” which is mentioned (and highly praised) in the linked article.

  7. franko says:

    and FWOOSH, just like that, i suddenly have a ton of respect for scooby-do again.

  8. Tuff Luke says:

    I liked that very much, thank you Maggie

  9. Now I feel silly for never having picked up on that very consistent pattern. And I’m pretty sure I saw every episode at least twice.

  10. Lobster says:

    I’d buy this if once, even ONCE, someone said, “Shaggy… you know Scooby can’t really talk, right?”

    • Vnend says:

      Says you.  We had a dog once that could talk.  At least, he was convinced that he could, and he certainly worked hard at it.  We just never could get through his accent.

      He also loved to have a cup of coffee in the morning with my Dad (extra cream, hold the sugar).  Strange, brilliant dog.

  11. melxspringer says:

    For the Original Scooby Doos this applies.  once the team up With Vincent Price shows up they are battling real ghosts and demons. I use the term real here as in they treat them as real.

  12. Neal Starkey says:

    The problem with the argument is that due to the length of the franchise and the variety of people working on it, the skeptical side has not always won out:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/06/the_corruption_of_scooby_doo.php

  13. petertrepan says:

    That’s not the son of God! It’s (shloop!) Emperor Constantine!

    That’s right. I needed to shore up my crumbling empire with the soft power of hegemonic religion. And I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you  secular humanist kids and your mangy mutt!

  14. blepom says:

    It…makes sense! I thought it was just a group of stoners and monsters, but it suddenly strikes as fridge brilliance…I guess I was just too young to think of it.

  15. schadenfreudisch says:

    i’m missing the veggie tales connection.  i know it’s chick fil-a.  christian stories, etc.  but what?

  16. Ryan Alons says:

    Brings new light to the Scooby Doo Chase Song “DayDreaming” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqM7dfcW7L8

  17. LILemming says:

    “Nothing under here but a neck and some tendons”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GHpW9vyMl8

    • Mark Morey says:

      This was great…better, certainly, than anything in FRITZ THE CAT. The naming of the dog (“Ring-a-Ding”) reminds me that, in addition to lifting a Frank Sinatra catch phrase for the character, the entire concept (according to its creator in an old interview) was the radio show I LOVE A MYSTERY, in which three detectives (grown-up, no dog) travel around and expose various supernatural occurrences as earthly contrivences designed to scare people away from valuable property, etc. The tradition goes back to the so-called “Gothic” novels of the early 19th century through LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT and its remake MARK OF THE VAMPIRE and virtually all the comedic variations involving Abbott and Costello, the Dead End Kids, etc. I admit that, as a kid, I got really tired of this plot device and wanted the spooks to be “real” once in awhile. Later on, though, I was caught flat-footed when I saw ROSEMARY’S BABY and viewed it as a study of a pregnant woman’s psychological state right up to the end. I was too old to watch SCOOBY-DOO, but my kids liked it a lot. This was a great article and a terrific springboard for discussion. 

  18. Nathaniel Stephens says:

    that shit is deep.  best thing i read all day.

  19. Rich Keller says:

    So, Maggie, when do we get to see a Scooby-Doo episode taking place in a haunted dairy barn where Velma says, “Maggie Koerth-Baker, what are you doing here?”

    You’d fit in the show better than Don Knotts ever did.

  20. When I told my Dad at age 10 that I didn’t want to go to church anymore because the ministers were making things up, Scooby-Doo was right there with me.

    Yes, I actually experience distress every time a Scooby-Doo re-issue has (?)real(?) ghosts in it.

  21. coffee100 says:

    The “produce the evidence” bandwagon rolls along until it can no longer engage in sleight-of-rhetoric context-switching inherent in unsound reasoning like “God is magic.  Magic doesn’t exist.  Therefore God does not exist.”

    When you buy a house, the only “evidence” you have that you own it is the title:  words written on paper by other people.  All other activity related to the ownership of that house, including it and your relationships with the government, neighbors, utility companies, etc. is based on faith.   The neighbors don’t call the police to evict you because they have faith you own the residence.  The utility companies turn on your lights for the same reason.

    Rarely will anyone even ask for the title, and even if they did, the title is not scientific proof you own the house, because there is no such thing as scientific proof you own a house.  There is no experiment that can be performed that produces evidence-based proof of that sort.

    It’s part of the same line of thinking that forms the foundation of the classic response to “prove God exists” which is “prove Justice exists” or “prove Love exists.”   You can’t, because God, justice and love are transcendent things that don’t have mass, dimension and molecular structure.  They are above and beyond the reach of science.

    Science is concerned with facts and intellect.  Philosophy and religion are concerned with truth and wisdom.  There is a difference.  There are some questions that cannot ever be answered by science, and every time rationalists try to turn the scientific method into some kind of Grand Unified Key to the Universe, the attempt fails and betrays science in the process.

    • Chris Stehlik says:

      That’s the best explanation I have ever heard, I am totally taking that and using it. 

    • Ryan Alons says:

      Don’t we still need to unmask the ghouls and frankensteins of dogma in regards to the relational and transcendent aspects of faith, justice and God. It requires for constant dialogue between those who have faith in each other and God. It requires discernment that is informed by the needs of others and your own convictions to be just.

      I really like that your statement broadens the discussion, seriously, I love this. We should always be asking more of our established institutions of faith and community.

      • coffee100 says:

        Don’t we still need to unmask the ghouls and frankensteins of dogma in regards to the relational and transcendent aspects of faith, justice and God. 

        Absolutely, because whenever superstition and magical thinking are used to justify faith in God, it betrays God in precisely the same way attempting to scientifically prove transcendent things betrays science.

        “Prove all things.  Hold fast that which is good.” 
        1 Thessalonians 5:21, the official Bible verse of science.

      • Root Simple says:

        I’m also enjoying the discussion Coffee100 started. There are certainly plenty of charlatans out there, and you are right to point out we need to use discernment.  We also, as coffee100 points out, should not attempt to explain everything through a materialistic lens. Science is a wonderful tool. But, like a hammer, it needs to be used for the right job. It’s not a good tool with which to approach art, love, metaphysics or philosophy. The Scooby-Doo argument above is a Straw Man fallacy. 

    • fett101 says:

      You’re mixing up a whole bucket of bs there.
      Ownership of a house is a legal claim, not a scientific one. (even then examination of title would prove ownership. I’d love to see your arguments against such a concept hold up in court.)

      “Does god exist” isn’t really a scientific claim either because it all depends on what you mean by god. Every person has a different concept of god. However, there are specific claims made by religions that can be tested. Was there a flood that covered the entire Earth? Can a man rises from the dead? Are Native Americans a lost tribe of Israel? All of those claims can be tested.

      And actually science has quite a bit to say about love. You could check out Wikipedia on the subject.

      • Carl Berglund says:

        Also, why do people who believe in the Abrahamic god (for example) criticize non-believers, while they themselves tend to be non-believers of Hindu gods or what-have-you?

        ETA: assuming that non-belief in a deity is, per force, simply a failure of understanding.

        • elix says:

          I don’t have the exact quote, but Yasser Arafat once said the history of religious wars is the history of people fighting over their imaginary friends.

          And who would like to be told that their imaginary friend doesn’t exist and they picked the wrong one?

      • coffee100 says:

        You’re mixing up a whole bucket of bs there.

         
        I realize you dismiss out of hand anyone who believes in God as inherently irrational and lacking in intellect, but I assure you my education and study in logic, rhetoric and science is equal to whatever category of human learning you wish to examine.  

        Ownership of a house is a legal claim, not a scientific one.

         
        I believe I made that point rather elegantly.  To address your second assertion, producing a title is not proof you own the house.  It is evidence and it does strengthen your claim but there is no such thing as proof of legal ownership.  A court of law may find that you own the house, but that is simply a legal authority expressing its faith in the legitimacy of your claim, which settles the issue for all intents and purposes under our system of government.

        A year later, the title could easily be discovered to be a forgery, which would overturn the entire process.  Any “truth” that can be overturned by something as simple as forged document is not proven.  Truth cannot be disproven.

        However, there are specific claims made by religions that can be tested.

         
        Once again, by using the word “claim” you are trying to nudge matters of faith onto your home field so you can employ scientific skepticism in an attempt to weaken and discredit them.  People make claims, not religions.  

        As to whether a man can rise from the dead, this can be scientifically proven, as people rise from the dead all the time.  There are documented, scientifically tested cases of people who have been brain dead for hours coming back to life and describing the experience.  You may not agree with their conclusions or beliefs on the subject, but the evidence can and has been placed on a table and examined by medical doctors and scientists for hundreds of years. 

        The implication that the Resurrection was some kind of combination magic trick and hoax has been debated for two thousand years.  My only question on the matter is a simple one:  why would a group of peasants in occupied Judea stage a hoax that would have no other effect than to forever make them political enemies of the Roman Empire?  What would they stand to gain?

        Further, if a Resurrection can be so staged, why are there no other examples of such a “hoax” as well-known as the version described in the Gospels?

        As for lost Tribes of Israel and worldwide floods, I’m afraid those are out of my area of expertise.  Personally, I don’t believe the Earth was miracled into existence 6000 years ago, but the difficulties other believers have defending that interpretation of Genesis is far from conclusive in the matter of whether God exists.

        On a side note, the obsessive campaign against using a capital letter ‘G’ when writing the name God is really tiresome and juvenile.  God is a proper name, and should always be capitalized.  It has nothing to do with your personal beliefs.  Even scientists, stalwart defenders of fact they, in wishing to be consistent, should have some respect for the rules of grammar.

        • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

          there’s no doubt that the deity you believe in should be called God. but if the ones you’t don’t believe in are referred to, are they god or God? If they are God, and “God” is a proper name, doesn’t that imply multiple gods? and if so, why don’t you believe in them? you believe in God (it seems), i don’t believe in god. the grammar/syntax is utterly consistent and entirely correct.

          • coffee100 says:

            The grammar is wrong (I have a university education on this subject, complete with a degree) and there is no syntax issue.   God is a proper name and should always be capitalized.   Other deities’ proper names should also be capitalized. 

            Your statement implies you don’t believe in a noun.   It is the equivalent of saying you don’t believe in ice cream.  As a rationalist, I’m sure you would agree such imprecise expression of meaning is unnecessarily confusing and damaging to the credibility of your arguments.

            The rest of your response is a straw man.  Skillfully constructed, but a straw man nonetheless.

          • Pentashagon Pentashagon says:

            Perhaps, out of respect, other posters are not presuming to properly name your particular god.  You appear to be Christian, but that is not specific enough to describe you as Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, or another branch of Christianity.  While all branches refer to their deity as “God” and ecumenism has seen much progress in the last century it’s clear that each conception of “God” has subtle differences that may not make one Christian’s “God” another’s “God.”  For instance, would you call a transubstantiated piece of bread God?  If not, I’d safely class you into Protestantism and assume you mean by “God” the triune deity who doesn’t reveal His true Body and Blood in the bread and wine of the Eucharist, as opposed to the Catholic “God” who does.

          • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

            meh, BB use of disqus limits my ability to respond to your response. the word “God” is a proper name. the word “god” is not. “Humans believe in a variety of gods.” “coffee100 believes in a particular god”. “coffee100 believes in God”. these are all correct.

            the problem with your claim is that there is no other commonly used word in english to refer to a divine being, so the letters “g”, “o” and “d” are used as both a proper noun (God) and a noun (god).

            as for not believing in ice cream… its certainly the case that i do not believe in fairies. or in angels. or in hobbits. none of which I would both to capitalize.  if someone claimed that there was only one true Fairy, Angel or Hobbit, i wouldn’t capitalize it then either, i would say that there is no fairy, no angel and no hobbit.

            i don’t believe in gods, nor do i believe in a god. if i did believe in God, i would say so, and refer to God appropriately. however, given that my position is that there are no divine beings, and no divine being, attributing a proper name to a concept that does not actually exist in the world appears to me to be confusing nouns and proper names.

            if i believe in a something that i consider to be an intentional being and i refer to it as  Snagafufu, are you under any obligation to honor my assertion that Snagafufu is a proper name? Or are you under an obligation to your own belief that there is no such thing, and thus my term Snagafufu refers to a concept that exists only in my head, and is thus not a proper name?

            perhaps you believe that politeness requires me to refer to the divine being of your belief as God, since in your belief system, it refers to an intentional being. this is a better argument, and i’m entirely open to politeness. but i reserve that as a choice for me to make, rather than it being a rule of grammar.

        • fett101 says:

          I realize you dismiss out of hand anyone who believes in God as inherently irrational and lacking in intellect

          Very nice putting words in my mouth.

          producing a title is not proof you own the house.  It is evidence and it does strengthen your claim but there is no such thing as proof of legal ownership.

          As I said, there’s a difference between a legal claim and a scientific one. A title would be legal truth that you own a house. It’s a human construct. God is supposed to exist outside of humans.

          People make claims, not religions.

          You’re saying all the religious institutions have never made any specific claims?

          There are documented, scientifically tested cases of people who have been brain dead for hours coming back to life and describing the experience.

          Please do tell. These stories are well studied and well within the realm of science. Many times is simply poor reporting or limitations of medical equipment and understanding of the brain.
          http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/back-from-the-dead/
          And does the fact that people of different faiths have near-death experiences that correlate with their faith mean that they’re all correct? Aliens as well?

          would a group of peasants in occupied Judea stage a hoax that would have no other effect than to forever make them political enemies of the Roman Empire?  What would they stand to gain?

          They’d get a messiah that had been promised to them a long time ago.

          Further, if a Resurrection can be so staged, why are there no other examples of such a “hoax” as well-known as the version described in the Gospels?

          Why did Beanie Babies take off? How about Scientology? Right time, right place. If you consider your own religion to be the correct one, than aren’t all the other ones no more than well played hoaxes?

          On a side note, the obsessive campaign against using a capital letter ‘G’ when writing the name God is really tiresome and juvenile.

          Asl PaulDavisTheFirst said, which god are we talking about? Jehovah? Zeus?

          • coffee100 says:

            Many times is simply poor reporting or limitations of medical equipment and understanding of the brain.

            So in your opinion, the medical doctors and scientists who have studied these occurrences are just wrong.  Fair enough.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

            And does the fact that people of different faiths have near-death experiences that correlate with their faith mean that they’re all correct? Aliens as well?

            I’m afraid I’m not qualified to draw any specific conclusions.  My education is in language.  The statement there is no evidence these people experienced consciousness after death, however, is false.

            They’d get a messiah that had been promised to them a long time ago.

            Staging a hoax produces a messiah?  Why would a group of peasants deliberately provoke the Roman Empire by committing, in writing, an act of treason?

            Let’s employ one of the skeptic’s favorite devices:  Occam’s Razor.   What is more likely:  a group of peasants saw and heard something they didn’t fully understand and attempted to explain it by coming together in faith and recording their knowledge, or a group of peasants simultaneously became psychotic, formed a suicide pact, managed to recruit numerous notable converts, including learned writers and at least one free-born citizen of Rome, and set out on a 100-year campaign to implement it before they were hunted down and tortured to death?  

            Why did Beanie Babies take off?

             
            Are you suggesting that billions of people will be devoted to the doctrine of Beanie Babies in the 41st century?

            If you consider your own religion to be the correct one, than aren’t all the other ones no more than well played hoaxes?

            Your question implies any assertion that one religion is correct presumes all others to be incorrect.  That’s called “begging the question.”

            Zeus?

              
            Why capitalize Zeus?  Leaving aside the issue you were forced to capitalize God in your last response because you began a sentence with the name, shouldn’t rational consistency demand that you avoid capitalizing any deity’s name so as to dispel any ambiguity regarding your beliefs or lack thereof?

            For that matter, why capitalize Jehovah and not God?  According to your own assertions, isn’t that contradictory?

          • fett101 says:

            Appear to have hit the reply limit…

            So in your opinion, the medical doctors and scientists who have studied these occurrences are just wrong.

            It’s more a problem with the reporting of these issues than the doctors.

            I’m afraid I’m not qualified to draw any specific conclusions.  My education is in language.  The statement there is no evidence these people experienced consciousness after death, however, is false.

            They did not die. That was the point of the article I posted.

            Let’s employ one of the skeptic’s favorite devices:  Occam’s Razor.   What is more likely:  a group of peasants saw and heard something they didn’t fully understand and attempted to explain it by coming together in faith and recording their knowledge, or a group of peasants simultaneously became psychotic, formed a suicide pact, managed to recruit numerous notable converts, including learned writers and at least one free-born citizen of Rome, and set out on a 100-year campaign to implement it before they were hunted down and tortured to death? 

            That’s a bad application of Occam’s Razor since the resurrection of Jesus raises far more questions than a conspiracy of people to, especially considering how other suicide cults have and still do exist. Mass delusions occur rather often.

            Your question implies any assertion that one religion is correct presumes all others to be incorrect.  That’s called “begging the question.”

            And yet many religions make that very claim.

            For that matter, why capitalize Jehovah and not God?  According to your own assertions, isn’t that contradictory?

            Because Zeus and Jehovah are proper nouns. Tom Sawyer doesn’t exist but I still capitalize his name.

        • Donald Petersen says:

          I assure you my education and study in logic, rhetoric and science is equal to whatever category of human learning you wish to examine.  

          I, for one, will have to take your word for that, bub.  I’m not about to demand that you prove the existence of a supernatural deity through hard, reproducible, “scientifically” satisfying evidence.  As you imply, you’re probably not going to be able to measure the beard of God with the Hubble telescope or the latest and most expensive electron microscope.  But surely you’re intellectually honest enough to recognize that equating the legal fiction of real estate ownership to the provability of the existence of deities is akin to comparing apples to angels.

          But whatever.  Seems to me that you’re more bent out of shape by people who try to use shallow bumpersticker arguments against theism that aren’t fundamentally more profound than the “Bible said it, I believe it, that settles it!” stickers one finds festooning the north ends of many southbound Chryslers in the Bible Belt than you are by people who disbelieve generally.  And for that I can’t say I blame you.

          Many of my atheist friends rail against my faithful friends, expressing contempt that they’d believe they were destined for Heaven while the faithless were sadly hellbound.  Many can’t believe a loving yet omnipotent God would allow so much death and destruction, especially when it comes to natural, non-manmade disasters.  I daresay you yourself know what questions made you lie awake at night questioning the validity of your own faith in your darkest hours, and I suspect that things like God’s apparent unwillingness to answer each and every one of our prayers, or the pronounced shortage of demonstrable miracles performed in modern times (at least on the scale of the Resurrection, the Passover, the Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the parting of the Red Sea, the loaves and fishes, or the ever-pending and long-awaited events foretold in St. John’s Revelation) are a too simplistic to have worried you overmuch.  Smarter people than I (though maybe not smarter than you) have contended that faith requires many things but evidence, if anything, works against faith, and Christianity in particular is founded on faith against reason.  Christians are mocked and disbelieved and persecuted dating back to the stoning of St. Stephen (if you don’t count Christ’s own crucifixion), though few would argue that the earliest or most zealous persecutors of Christians were atheists.  But the core of the faith is John 3:16, and without that particular belief (no matter how hard it might be to swallow that God sent his Son to die for your sins so that you might obtain everlasting life), Christianity is nothing.  And since few Christians since St. Thomas have been afforded the luxury of poking their Savior in the spear wound to make sure He’s really resurrected from the dead, Christian faith is not designed to be a comfortable, easily-defended position.  I get that.

          So please continue fighting off the weak attacks with the dismissive brushoff they deserve.  But do keep in mind that many of us utilize the human faculty of faith in support of an atheistic mindset that is no less supportable or defensible than your own.  We have faith that the sun will come up each morning, even if that faith is buttressed by innumerable past results and what we flatter ourselves to possess as a fairly sound understanding of celestial mechanics and gravitation.  We still can acknowledge a minuscule possibility that, for one reason or another, this morning may have been the last.  And yet our faith is that this is not so.  Probably.

          You may feel comfortable asserting the impossibility of scientifically disproving the existence of God, but it’s just as easy for us atheists to believe that you do so based upon a childish belief in an invisible, magical Geezer who’s just too darned magic for us to get a handle on with our newfangled scientific contraptions.  Nobody can win that particular argument.  The faithful must necessarily eschew a certain degree of logic when it comes to their faith, else that faith is cheapened in the eyes of God, as I understand it anyway.  At the same time, the argumentative atheist might be well-advised to consider the ways it might be possible for an educated, rational, and logical person to be able to believe in the existence of God without such belief merely being a fearful and illogical clinging to the comfort of an essentially caring cosmos in the face of our own insignificance, impermanence, and eventual annihilation.  At the very least, it makes for a healthy thought experiment.

          But you’re probably going to have to make your peace with the idea that most people without a theistic faith are going to believe that your faith is, in fact, childish and fearful and uninformed.  It may be our weakness, but it’s pretty close to the way we view grownups who believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, elves, werewolves, and boogeymen under the bed.  If it helps, content yourself with the knowledge that we’re destined for the Lake of Fire, and that Vengeance is His.

          Until then, we will continue to seek explanations that suit our own conditions of believability, logic, reproducibility, and scientific consensus, and we’re pretty much going to do what we ourselves believe to be moral and just and defensible, and not necessarily follow the instructions laid down at the end of the Iron Age by agrarian slaveholders who needed specific instructions to pay their employees on time, to not pimp their daughters, to not have fun at the expense of the deaf or blind, to never wear blended fabrics, and the proper way to trim their beards.  It may be hubristic and arrogant of us, but don’t be surprised when we judge God’s treatment of Job to be obnoxious and immoral, or the Flood to be both preposterous and evil.

          God’s law is His own, but many of us don’t recognize it.  So He’ll have to come and get us.

          That is, if He can.

          • coffee100 says:

            The faithful must necessarily eschew a certain degree of logic when it comes to their faith, else that faith is cheapened in the eyes of God, as I understand it anyway.

             
            I wouldn’t believe for a moment that God expects me or anyone else to choose between Him and logic.   On the contrary, He would expect me to vigorously question anyone who would suggest such a thing, as that would be the first step in truthful discernment.

            My orders are to “be not deceived.”  

            most people without a theistic faith are going to believe that your faith is, in fact, childish and fearful and uninformed.

            Perhaps, but I believe we have nothing to fear from God, nor from our search for truth.   In fact, I believe it is our sacred duty to acknowledge the truth wherever we find it, and further, to encourage and support those who honestly join that search through science, art, music or any other human study.

            If it helps, content yourself with the knowledge that we’re destined for the Lake of Fire, and that Vengeance is His.

             
            I content myself with no such thing.   I believe the rationalists and scientists journey beside the faithful, all three carrying banners honoring the truth.

          • Donald Petersen says:

            I wouldn’t believe for a moment that God expects me or anyone else to choose between Him and logic.   On the contrary, He would expect me to vigorously question anyone who would suggest such a thing, as that would be the first step in truthful discernment.

            Well, of course you wouldn’t believe it.  The reasoning gets circular when the god you believe in is believed to be a logical god.  Logic itself is not dependent on our five senses but upon reasoning, and if you come to believe in the received wisdom of a religion, or if you find within you the peace and glory of God in a way that seems at least as genuine as the most beautiful things your eyes have seen, or the loveliest music ever heard by your ears, then the trappings of faith that support your favorite explanation for the presence of those sensations will be perfectly logical to you.  Not knowing just how limited our understanding of the universe is, but knowing that it is limited to an infinitesimal amount of its fullest nature, it’s very easy to assume that there are some things that science can never explain, and that there are some things that are entirely beyond the capability of mere mortals to comprehend.  And that was even easier to say two millennia ago, when Boeing 787s and iPhones and Curiosity Rovers and refrigerators and the Salk vaccine and even Model Ts would have been viewed as the most incomprehensible witchcraft that the hand of humanity could never dream of conjuring up.  The stars are still up there, not too terribly far from where they were two thousand years ago, and we can get better looks at them and their planets every year, and the Christian faith has no more to say about their potential inhabitants than it does about the dinosaurs of prehistory.

            We’re not encouraged to apply Occam’s Razor to proofs of God because it only slices so thin.  An elementary theist might say that God created the universe because, well, here it is, and something had to create it, right?  The atheist would respond, well, not consciously, no.  The theist expresses disbelief that all the wonders of life, from symphonies to sunsets, could be the result of random particle collisions, molecular compounds irradiated just so, and the passage of a sufficiently lengthy period of time, with no intervention by an all-powerful, benevolent omniscience.  The atheist says yeah, given the right circumstances and a truly staggeringly unimaginably long period of time, this is what results… would you seriously be more comfortable postulating the tinkerings of a bored, short-tempered, vengeful, jealous Deity who’s stuck in his bedroom for a rainy epoch, playing with his new Earth-building kit, watching it grow, occasionally rinsing off an unfortunate fungal growth of Wickedness, and using it to play a quick game of Celestial Risk with the Lucifer kid from next door?  Both positions arise from unprovable postulates: maybe our world began after a big bang a few billion years ago, or maybe all this was deliberately created by a Creator.  On the surface, we can’t know which is true.  We can look for scientific evidence, which may tend to support one postulate.  Or we might seek the truth in our hearts, which might incline us to believe in Creation.

            Logic won’t help us decide which is true, because the limitations of today’s science prevent us from explaining everything, and unless and until God decides it’s time to reveal Himself in a particularly obvious way, Christianity will still rely on faith rather than logic.  You know it is true because you know it is true.  You might be proud of your faith if you’ve wrestled with it, if you’ve questioned it from every angle you can think of.  But if you keep it, it’s still faith, and it’s still dependent upon ineffable, evanescent things that are well removed from logic.  There’s something about belief in God that’s akin to what Douglas Adams described as the knack of flying: the knack of throwing yourself at the ground and missing.  It shouldn’t be so, and for us atheists it isn’t so; when we throw ourselves at the ground, we hit quite hard.  And we see theists bouncing off the ground just as hard as we are, and yet they insist they’re flying… until they don’t.  You may pity us our earthbound hearts and our hard-fought self-determinism, but we pity those who really believe that there is no morality without divinity.

            Science, however, keeps growing to fill mankind’s insatiable curiosity.  Religion, on the other hand, is what it is. Convocations can argue for years about minor differences in doctrine; schisms and wars can result in differences of opinion regarding the Trinitarian vs Unitarian views of God.  None of that brings us closer to an understanding of ourselves, our planet, our neighbors, our distant past, or our future.

            Perhaps, but I believe we have nothing to fear from God, nor from our search for truth.   In fact, I believe it is our sacred duty to acknowledge the truth wherever we find it, and further, to encourage and support those who honestly join that search through science, art, music or any other human study.

            Nothing to fear from God?  Our goals are not His.  If we do not serve His goals, then we are told in no uncertain terms that we have everything to fear from Him.  He tells us not to kill each other, to no avail.  We keep killing each other, sometimes in His name, and sometimes for the hell of it.  After seeing two slightly different sects of Christians slaughtering each other in Ireland all my young life, it began to dawn on me that religion wasn’t about to pacify humanity any more than it had succeeded in doing so for the last several millennia.  I felt more confident betting on science and technology to begin addressing human want and suffering, assuming greed didn’t get in the way (which it always does).  But we have been told for twenty centuries now that the meek are blessed and shall inherit the Earth, that the just will be eventually rewarded and the wicked punished.  Eventually.  Not necessarily right here on Earth, but in God’s good time.  And that Judgment is coming.  The hour is at hand.  No, seriously.  Any minute.  No man knoweth the hour, but any second now.  And while we wait, the innocent are tortured and slaughtered, the evil profit off the backs of the downtrodden, and the only justice we see is that which we engineer for ourselves, through whatever integrity and honesty and hard work we can muster in ourselves, with or without a desire to please some all-seeing Deity.

            No, we’ve got nothing to fear from Him all right.

            I believe the rationalists and scientists journey beside the faithful, all three carrying banners honoring the truth.

            Can I be the limping fife player?  Lovely as the image is, it doesn’t mean a thing.  The “truth” honored by the faithful is nothing but their faith, just as the “truth” honored by rationalists is what they believe to be true, and there isn’t enough overlap between those truths.  There’s actually a fair amount of falsehood included therein.  And we marching bannermen look askance at each other, knowing the falsehood is marching with us, and assuming it’s one of the other guys.

            And at least one of us is right.

          • Mark Morey says:

            That’s a very good entry in an argument I am usually too lazy to participate in. Kudos.

        • Sorry, I also have a degree that included rhetoric and syntax, and your argument is entirely invalidated by traditional and current semiotic usage. ‘God’ is used as a title, not as a proper name. Jehovah, YVWH, Adonai, Elohim, etc. have been argued at different times and places as either name or title of the Abrahamic god (most of them in fact translate out to ‘lord’), but the name of god is (at least no longer) actually mentioned in any version of the modern Christian texts that I have encountered (around twenty, if you’re curious). As for the Judeaic traditions – well that’s a debate that has preoccupied rabbis for over a millenia. Hell, the name ‘Jesus’ isn’t even accurate, it being the Latin bastardization of the Hebrew Yeshua – which in most Romance languages would be considered a version of the English Joshua, most likely changed intentionally by editors in order to prevent confusion with the character of the same name found earlier in the biblical text. Perhaps the most telling point: the origins for the word ‘god’ predates the existence of any Judeo/Christian system – in every single language I can think of.

          As for your original assertion: I call logical fallacy. You’re basic argument attempts to cherry pick the existentialist argument. From a purely intellectual standard we COULD argue that since the senses are knowingly untrustworthy, all perceived reality must be untrustworthy. Your reversal – that since nothing is provable, all things must be true – is such a basic tenet of fallacious logic that Aristotle first published a definition of it around 350 BCE. Your argument encompasses every variation of Circular Logic from Begging the Question to the Fallacy of Many Questions. With a healthy dose of falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus thrown in for good measure.

          If you genuinely believe it is ‘faith’ that supports the law, than my questioning your lease on a house should be enough to render it intangible. Yet, if I call you out and you hold this
          ‘mystical’ piece of paper, what do you think the odds of my not feeling the application of societal, judicial, or even, physical pressure to recognize this literal ‘article of faith’ are? The law is itself a provable construct whose existence may be nebulous, but whose physical ramifications are immediate, observable and repeatable. So far however, and despite gross blasphemy and heresy on my part towards the Catholic church that nurtured and confirmed me, no immediate, observable or repeatable harm has befallen me from an entity based solely in faith. In fact, my personal quality of life improved measurably in a very observable medical sense.

          I would also be willing to argue your assertion that religion and philosophy share any inherent goal. Religion was a system of stories designed to explicate existence. It’s initial provenance was to provide an EXACT answer as to the why of nature. As a science based on rational, repeatable observation became more and more dominant (as it does over and over again throughout all cultural histories), the science of philosophy was developed to propose arguments as to the nature of existence. Most practitioners of this ‘soft’ science recognized that their experiments and hypotheses would be inherently unprovable by the same criteria that their more ‘concrete’ fellow scientists used, but also recognized that the posing of such questions was useful in the development of society and science as a whole. Philosophy does not claim to have answers, it claims to seek answers.

          At the same time, in order to remain relevant, religions continually reinvented their charter, trying to justify their stories not as factual recountings, but as allegorical systems that could be used as evidence for the existence of higher forces – as well as structures to hang more nebulous and unprovable proclamations from. This whole system should fall apart to any critical reader or historian, based solely on the religious texts themselves. The Old Testament Lord does not hide, does not “move in mysterious ways” (a phrase which does not in fact appear in any version of old or new testament, but was coined by a bloody composer) His is a fairly direct, if circumspect, involvement in everything. Sure, he has his ordained mouth pieces (another clue that should tip us off to the historical accountability of these tales: why Moses alone? Why not deliver your message directly to the gathered diaspora? If all these gods are so bloody all powerful, why do they keep needing a mouth piece to offer their directives? Are they shy? Hmm, who could possibly benefit from a terrifying all powerful being that only one guy at a time can receive messages from…), but the Lord of the bible is not a being who shys away from conflict. Or involvement.

          And yet, by the end of the life of His son, his influence vanishes. Conspicuously, this is also around the time the recording of modern(ish) history, and the development of the sciences in Western culture, starts improving remarkably (even the Dark Ages have a reasonable track record of historical/scientific observation, especially when compared to what came before). What an odd coincidence.

          (edit: surviving records. I’m aware the ancients were great fans of the sciences, but we lost a lot of data during the failure of Rome. Still, the Dark Ages saw the sciences bounce back – under persecution, and the recording of history remained a central tenant of Western culture even during the worst years of Papal over zealousness)

          Said coincidence, of course, leading to the latest reinvention of religion – that of the answerer to questions untouched by science… or at least that maybe we kinda don’t want science to touch… or that may be inconvenient if too many people started having their own particular ideas about…

          P.S. – Adonis, Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, Odin, Persephone, various Bodhisatvas, nearly the entirety of the Hindu Pantheon, Hermes Trismegustis (depending upon source) etc. etc. I have yet to see any historical evidence provided outside of the text of the bible that purports any resurrection occurred. With that in mind, my textual based examples were all widely believed at various times and places – many still are.

          • coffee100 says:

            ‘God’ is used as a title, not as a proper name. 

            That’s patent nonsense.  Starting off your reply with two inconsistent statements is not the way to add lustre to your flourishing conclusion with all those impressively-sourced names.

            Your reversal – that since nothing is provable, all things must be true

             
            I made no such statement.  I can only wave as your argument spins off into the cosmos, my friend.

             trying to justify their stories not as factual recountings, but as allegorical systems that could be used as evidence for the existence of higher forces

             
            Once again, the word “evidence” casts your argument in favorable terms.  Religious allegory is not concerned with evidence, conclusions or science.   It is concerned with truth, some of it self-evident, something which is outside the realm of science.

            but was coined by a bloody composer

             
            Those bloody composers.  How dare they.

            If all these gods are so bloody all powerful, why do they keep needing a mouth piece to offer their directives?

             
            Because God probably prefers that people not think they are hearing things.

            There is this persistent myth, even among believers, that there is some kind of “ultimate magic show” that God could perform which would once and for all settle the question of His existence. 

            But if man can look upon the Himalayas, or the Marianas Trench, or the Great Barrier reef, or the Andromeda Galaxy, or even a honeybee and see nothing but dust and noble gases, how loud will man applaud at some alternative performance? 

            Millions have seen with their eyes and not believed. The reason is you don’t see God with your eyes.  You see Him with your heart.

            And yet, by the end of the life of His son, his influence vanishes. Conspicuously, this is also around the time the recording of modern(ish) history, and the development of the sciences in Western culture, starts improving remarkably (even the Dark Ages have a reasonable track record of historical/scientific observation, especially when compared to what came before). What an odd coincidence.

            An interesting paragraph, since it so concisely illuminates two ways of interpreting the influence of Christianity.   Jesus announced that “man would know the truth, and the truth would set him free.”  How much truth has come into the world in the last 2000 years compared to all the hundreds of thousands of years of human history that came before it?  

            We went from horse-drawn carriages to the moon in 70 years.    Yet it has only been during the scarcest fraction of human history that language, art, science, government or agriculture have flourished.  Why?  Why for only six of the hundred thousand years that intelligent humanity has existed has he enjoyed any of the modern trappings of civilization beyond crude shelter?  

            It is an odd coincidence that mankind truly began making progress not long after Jesus’ ministry.   One wonders how much further we might have progressed by now had man actually put into more perfect practice what he was taught in and about Galilee so long ago.  

            What is clear is that absent the meticulous attentions of the monks and scribes who recorded the useful knowledge of man’s progress, and the persistent stability of the Catholic Church and the courageous accomplishments of other profound faiths, mankind may yet be steeped in a dark age.

            Science may today consider religion its enemy, but there can be no disputing the fact that religion frequently gave science a hot meal and a place to sleep over the centuries.

            I do not look upon science as a pest destined to expose faith as a mass delusion inspired by impostors.  I look at it as a natural tool of our species, fulfilling the charge that we take dominion over the Earth.

            Man has everything he needs to turn Earth into paradise starting tomorrow.  As far as I’m concerned, that by itself is compelling evidence somebody out there wants us to succeed.

          • “Raggy, rot are ray torking arout?”

            “Scoob, you don’t want to know.   Let’s go get a sandwich.  Velma?”

            “I think I’ll come with you.”

          •  coffee100:  I’m just going to point out one particularly specious argument of yours right here, right now.  The “Christianity touched off a technological revolution” thing is a load of meerkats. 

            The first point is that we seem to have been on an accelerating technological curve for tens of thousands of years.  Domestication of animals, the creation of fire and language and mathematics and reason, the use of the wheel, metalworking, even agriculture, all were huge technological breakthroughs that freed up people to specialize in things beyond subsistence.  Thus, each breakthrough opened the way for more frequent breakthroughs in the future.

            It’s a classic self-accelerating trend.  It’s misguided to point to any point on an exponential curve and claim that here — HERE — is where things really took off.  You’re placing the starting date of the revolution at 33AD.  I could just as easily place the starting date of the technopocalypse at 1830, when Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Ascension of Mohammed in 620.  What fun.

            Second, if we start from the premise that this technological explosion had to happen *sometime*, wouldn’t we expect the religion that was predominant at the time to have had relatively recent origin?  I mean, the requirements for a long-standing and widespread religion would have had to be in place (the written word, for example).  There isn’t much chance that we’d be worshiping Tuk-Luk, the god who helped Og miraculously survive a sabre-toothed tiger attack.

            To approach the same subject from another angle, darwinian evolution seems to govern religions as well as critters:  those which are best suited to the needs of believers tend to thrive, while less well adapted ones fall by the wayside.  So new religions tend to be more common at any given moment than old ones.

          • engelbrecht says:

            Just a minor point. The name ‘Jesus’ isn’t ‘the Latin bastardization of the Hebrew Yeshua’. It’s from the Greek, Iesous.  This in turn is a transliteration of  Yeshua which was a shortened version of the Hebrew Yehoushua or Joshua. In the Aramaic of Galilee he would have been called Yesu.   
            So the name comes from a transliteration into koiné Greek. It wasn’t ‘changed intentionally to avoid confusion’ that’s how the Greeks of the time wrote the name Yeshua.  I don’t know of anyone who does claim that the phrase ‘God moves in mysterious ways’ appears in the Bible. And it wasn’t coined by ‘a bloody composer’ but by a poet, William Cowper. And since you were nurtured by the Catholic church, I’m surprised you didn’t come across the Jerusalem Bible which regularly uses the name Yahweh for God. 

            And I don’t know what you mean by ‘we lost a lot of data during the failure of Rome’. What failure was that?

      • Niel de Beaudrap says:

        Love, property ownership, Justice, and God are three *very* different things from each other.

        Love is a description for a motivator of observable behavour, which almost certainly has a neurochemical basis. Many times it’s painfully obvious even from a strictly behavioural perspective, and we have every reason to believe that even well-hidden crushes could be tested with the right apparatus (though whether there’d be a point in doing so is another question). Love is in this sense objective.

        Property ownership is a description of a social convention for resource usage. Resources are (lamentably) finite and sometimes difficult to attain; many societies have converged on the idea that people should be given priviledged access to some resources, which they are said to “own”. This is not a property of the object, but a convention developed to minimize conflict. It is both stable and productive in general (though you can have badly dysfunctional ways of implementing the concept). Property ownership is not objective, but it is a very robust convention.

        Justice is a description of behaviour having the correct consequences, according to the conventions of society. Different societies — even in the same country, having the same legal system! — have different notions of justice. Take the death penalty, for instance: is it just to kill someone who has killed many other people? The answer will depend on the context of the killing the person did (Was it in a war? In self-defence? Was it pre-meditated?) but also on the moral tastes of the person you ask (Is there any justification for killing, even if the person being killed has themself killed many times?). Thus, most people agree that killing is bad in general, and agree that there should be *some* consequences, but disagree on what they should be. The notion of justice is one meant to promote the stability of society, but is contantly under negotiation, because people are complicated and do very interesting things with/to each other, and have complicated ideas about what things should be acceptable. Justice is not objective, and also not completely universally agreed upon in its details, though accepted as a general concept because it promotes stability.

        God is a description of the idea that there is a person, or force, or something, that did a lot of things to bring us here, and who may or may not be interested in every minor thing that we do, and may or may not punish or reward us for our deeds. As you note, we have no good evidence for God’s existence: very few people claim to have ever seen or heard from him/her/it in any unambiguous way, and a noticeable fraction of those who have are seen to either require psychological help or to be people in power giving speeches. Those who promote the notion of God most fervently tend to do so because they believe the notion is good for the stability of society, like that of property ownership and justice. However, we find that the notion of God can be used to direct people to do things that would otherwise widely regarded as unjust, possibly even to themselves.

        This rather strongly suggests that, like property ownership and justice (and unlike Love), God is not objective; and we find that there is very little agreement on a social convention about God, though it is not clear that it would be any better for God to be a mere social convention which the wise may safely regard as false and the rulers (or unscrupulous) may rightly regard as useful.

        (TL;DR: I disagree — Love is objective, and property ownership / justice can be seen as useful social conventions with varying degrees of agreement throughout society. Comparing God to love is incorrect for the reasons you noted, and to ownership / justice is not only unfair to ownership and justice, but also not what you might want in a God.)

    • gijoel says:

      What a colossal load of codswallop.

      First of all your argument is barely specious. Yes there is a thing called title and it can be proved. Titles are record by the government, which can be accessed in order to prove that you have the claim you state. Sale of a title is done by a contract which again is recorded and can be produced to prove or disprove a claim.

      There are laws, again which are recorded and accessible, that determine who owns a title, how it can be transferred and what to do when there is dispute over a title. These are derived from common social conventions which were developed by everyone in society agreeing upon certain definitions and conventions and agreeing to make them binding.

      Your argument seems to be land title is all in your head, faith is all in your head therefore god must exist. Despite the fact that though things like contracts, titles, royalties and other social agreements are all real even though “they’re all in our heads.”

      Yes there are somethings in our heads that don’t exist. Like pegasi, or gorgons or Mothmen. The thing is we know they’re not true because these ideas make a certain claim i.e. some horse like creatures have wings. Then we can go out and test these claims. So  whilst I can find numerous documents that afirm by ownership of my house I am yet to find a flying horse.

      “Science is concerned with facts and intellect.  Philosophy and religion are concerned with truth and wisdom.”

      What complete bollocks. Somehow in your world facts don’t equal truth. Wikipedia defines facts as “something that has really occurred or is actually the case.” Truth is defined as “being in accord with fact or reality.” Facts are truth and truth is full of facts.

      Your god is a tiny god of gaps, scurrying in the dark corners of the library of our minds, constantly fleeing the light of inquiry and reason.

      • coffee100 says:

        What a colossal load of codswallop.

        While I’m sure Mark Twain would be proud, archaic and homey terminology does not an argument make.

        Yes there is a thing called title and it can be proved.

         Laws, titles and contracts are pieces of paper with words on them.  They are evidence, not conclusions and not proof.  It is not possible to “prove” ownership of a house any more than it is possible to prove someone was taught to speak French.

        Claiming evidence is proof is simply utilizing an imprecise definition of the word “proof.”

        which were developed by everyone in society agreeing upon certain definitions and conventions

        QED

        Wikipedia defines facts as “something that has really occurred or is actually the case.”

        Well it’s good to know the bastion of intellect and rigorous scholarship called Wikipedia has spoken.  One might think man bereft of learning otherwise.

        Facts are truth and truth is full of facts.

        Please describe the facts from which the truth “all men are equal under the law” is derived.

        Facts are simply accurate.  Truth is transcendent and immutable.

        Your god is a tiny god of gaps, scurrying in the dark corners of the library of our minds, constantly fleeing the light of inquiry and reason.

         
        God dwells in the heart, where He bids men rejoice in truth.

        • gijoel says:

          While I’m sure Mark Twain would be proud, archaic and homey terminology does not an argument make.

          Ooh, a tone troll right off the bat. Verily my monocle did shoot straight off my eye and I almost fell off my leather chaise perched atop my steam boat when you hit me with that witty rejoinder.

          Codswallop is a pretty common expression in Australia and I thought you might appreciate me expressing my derision in less vulgar ways. Instead of say calling you “a fucking moron”, which was the first thing that went through my mind when I read your inane post.

          Well it’s good to know the bastion of intellect and rigorous scholarship called Wikipedia has spoken.  One might think man bereft of learning otherwise.

          Ooh a telling shot sir, you’ve cut me to the quick. Wait…, wait, no you haven’t. Wikipedia has it’s flaws I’ll grant you, but I’ll put more trust in it than the delirium dreams of a bronze age, genocidal  goat-fucker.

          Why? Because every assertion can examined and challenged. But by trotting out this truth is above facts what you’re really saying is the Bible/Quoran/whatever is above examination and challenge.

          “Pay no attention to that imaginary friend behind the curtain.” You thunder.

          But at the end of the day it’s a sly argument from the Bible, carefully repackaged to have all of the serial numbers ground off. And if you can’t prove it then it isn’t real in my book.

          For fucks sake this is an article about a kid’s cartoon series from 1969. Where a bunch of inept, stoner teenagers harass shonky businessmen with a rubber fetish.

          Real evil doesn’t wear masks. Real evil has an excellent tailor.

          Do you see atheist making broad statements like “Dawkins has great hair, that’s why the bible is wrong.” on Veggie Tales forums?

          At the end of this I must apologize to all of you other readers for my angry rant. As Professor Internets says just walk away. Anything you do now now is a better use of your time.

          And so I do safe in the knowledge that I’ll never change your mind, coffee100. Your belief is too strong. But you’ll never change mine because my reason is far stronger.

        •  Erudite nonsense.  And no, I’m not making an argument there, just expressing an opinion, so no need to go off again.

          “Truth is transcendent and immutable?”  Yet the truth you cite as an example (“All men are equal under the law”) isn’t an immutable truth, but a useful convention of recent origin, which we neither follow perfectly nor can we logically demonstrate it.

          People are not equal in fact, in capacities or resources or temperaments.  Deciding to treat them equally under the law anyways seems to promote a well-ordered egalitarian society.  We also have extreme examples, such as the mentally ill, the brain-dead, small children, etc., who are not treated “equally” under the law, even in theory.  In practice, your success with the legal system depends on how much “equality” the money in your bank account can buy, and society as a whole doesn’t seem too troubled by that particular inequity.

          Which brings up the question:  what definition of “truth” are you using?   And what specific examples of universal truths can you give us to demonstrate that “Truth” apart from scientific inquiry actually exists?

    • William George says:

      It’s part of the same line of thinking that forms the foundation of the classic response to “prove God exists” which is “prove Justice exists” or “prove Love exists.”   You can’t, because God, justice and love are transcendent things that don’t have mass, dimension and molecular structure.  They are above and beyond the reach of science.

      Actually, they’re chemical reactions in the mass of neurons lodged between the ears of the meat machine. If it didn’t develop as part of our species’ survival needs, we wouldn’t have created any such concepts.

      Science is concerned with facts and intellect.  Philosophy and religion are concerned with truth and wisdom.  There is a difference.

      Sorry, there no difference between facts and truth.

  22. Marko Raos says:

    jeez, i thought that was painstakingly, even irritatingly obvious, even when i was a kid…
    what planet am i living on? where am i?

  23. ultranaut says:

    Scooby snacks are all I really need to face down the monsters of this world.

  24. C says:

    This would be a lot more convincing if one of the main ‘rational skeptic’ characters wasn’t a talking dog.

  25. Charlie B says:

    Didja ever notice that the smoke cloud left behind whenever Shaggy takes off in the Mystery Mobile comes from the windows and not the tailpipe?

    http://www.eeggs.com/items/1653.html

  26. mat catastrophe says:

    I suppose I have to rethink my dislike of Scooby-Doo now.

  27. dahlia says:

    the only scooby doo version i’m able to stomach watching with my scooby-obsessed daughter is What’s New Scooby Doo — i don’t know what decade this version comes from, the 90s maybe? — because daphne has ninja fighting skills and whips together macguyverlike devices from the stuff in her purse. 

    i can’t watch the new one because the idea of shaggy and velma as a romantic couple is just WRONG.  move on if you must, scooby gang, but i just can’t go there with you…

  28. Excellent!

    I still think those first 17 1969 episodes are worthy of a lot of respect and love — easily watchable even now by adults.  Hitchcockian suspense; genuine, well-written characters; good dialogue. 

    After a while it all went downhill, of course, but you can alway console yourself by listening for Mickey Dolenz doing the odd guest voice.

  29. pipenta says:

    *sigh*

    I was too old for Scooby Doo, when it first came out. I’m glad the early years of the show provided a model of reason, never thought of those weird fake hippy/beatnik whatever they weres as champions in the war on woo. So now, years after the fact, I’ll give them that. All Scooby Doo ever meant to me was yet another example of crappy HB animation. Having grown up on Betty Boop and Popeye and Superman, the early Warner Brothers (back when Bugs was a psycho and Daffy was dangerously demented, not a fall guy) and things of that ilk, I couldn’t watch Scooby Doo without cringing. And when I saw this new wave of nostalgia for the show, it kicked in my gag reflex. 

    So it’s nice to realize it had a redeeming feature, that it was Captain Planet for skeptics. I can applaud the intent, if not the aesthetics. Because, while I am a big Tim Minchin fan, in Storm, he had me until he said “You should watch Scooby Doo, that show was so cool,” and I thought, well, I’ll believe THAT when angels fly out of my ass.

  30. Morgan Schulz says:

    YES!!! Somebody finally gets it! The newer incarnations of scooby doo all get it wrong, because the ghosts / aliens / whatnot are often supposed to be real. The original scooby doo was all about using logic to divine the world, the newer ones are about kids chasing ghosts.

  31. Richard Lord says:

    I have been saying this to my kids for years, Scooby Doo the witches Ghost, or at least that’s what I think its called, The book itself is somewhere in the toybox or under a bed at the moment. WELL the book ends with the Rock and Roll Goth Sisters actually having supernatural witch powers.  I have been objecting to read it to my kids for the reason mentioned. Scooby doo is supposed to be about science and Logic.  The kids say OK Dad we get it just read the story its ONLY a cartoon.

  32. Deidzoeb says:

    Skeptic Magazine has an insert called “Junior Skeptic” aimed at kids, which praised Scooby Doo. At least the older iterations of the show have a worldview where all things seemingly supernatural were explained as hoaxes. Like Chris Sims, I’ve been kind of disappointed by the versions of Scooby Doo where ghosts and monsters were presented as real, until I thought, oh yeah, the talking dog might be a tip-off that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
    http://www.skeptic.com/junior_skeptic/issue34/

    • Seraphim_72 says:

      Do they take the show  task for a talking dog? No? How very skeptic of them.

      • William George says:

        A pendant walks into a bar…

        Well, it’s a restaurant with a bar. Technically it’s really a brewpub since it has an onsite microbrewery.

        • Deidzoeb says:

          Good way of showing you’re not a pedant, by inserting that typo, “pendant.”

          • William George says:

            Ooo! Pedantry within pedantry. It’s like I’ve stepped into the Boing Boing comments version of Total Recall!

            Show us your biceps, Deidzoeb!

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            A pendant walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey, do you know that this is a gay bar?” The pendant says, “That’s alright, I swing both ways.”

      • Deidzoeb says:

        I would say they probably compartmentalizing which aspects of the show are meant to be cartoon fantasy, for which we should suspend disbelief (the talking dog, the supernatural amounts of food that Shaggy and Scoob are able to ingest, the implausibility of people trying to carry out similar ghost hoaxes everywhere around the world constantly, the way Mystery Inc serendipitously stumbles across these ghost cons every week, etc.), while ghosts and monsters and supernatural things are so absurd, they wouldn’t have us suspend disbelief.

        But yeah, that’s the dilemma for skeptics trying to embrace this show. If it’s a cartoon fantasy where a dog can talk, why not set it in a world where other fantastic or supernatural things can happen.

  33. Dale Clark says:

    OR they were just making a zany drug induced kid show.

  34. sean says:

    And all this time I just thought it was another horrible Hanna- Barbera abomination, what with the crap animation and the vapid, cookie-cutter stories and the one- dimensional characters and all.

  35. And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.

  36. exitr says:

    How is accepting a police officer’s badge as proof of his or her right to break down your door any different from believing that the spooky glowing figure is actually the Phantom of Mysterious Lake or whatever?  If anything, it’s worse.  Crap argument.

  37. The part I’m dubious about is the idea that “reason triumphs over fear.” Sure, the villains in Scooby Doo might not be supernatural, but evil people can certainly inflict very secular harm. Trying to relate Scooby Doo to real life doesn’t work in the first place because in the real world, bad people often win, bad people often hurt or kill “meddling kids,” and many mysteries remain unexplained. As a vehicle for reason and truth, it’s pretty defective.

    • Donald Petersen says:

      The part I’m dubious about is the idea that “reason triumphs over fear.”

      The takeaway is, more accurately, that “reason triumphs over superstitious fear.  Scooby & the gang don’t often address actual, physical peril or materialistic dangers.  Scoob and Shaggy are the chickenshits of the outfit, jumping at every shadow and often being initially quite credulous of whatever the monster-of-the-week is.  But half the time their monster traps incorporate some pretty physically dangerous stunts that don’t worry even Shaggy and Scooby nearly as much as the haunted-amusement-park owner with the rubber mask and the sound FX tape will.  And Velma and Freddy’s efforts shine the light of reason on the superstition (poor “danger-prone Daphne” just tends to literally stumble over evidence all the time, unless my memory fails me), enlightening Scoob and Shaggy and us, the audience, showing that the ghouls and ghosts and things going bump in the night can usually be explained away as harmless misunderstandings (or, at worst, someone capitalizing on our own fears and superstitions to try and pull a fast one on us… and of course they would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids).

      That’s what makes the point.  Not that there is no evil to be feared, but that we need not have fear based upon our superstitions.

  38. The modern ones are the opposite of this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaLTwJFfVBA

    That’s right, a talking owl.

  39. anharmyenone says:

    I’m waiting for “those meddling kids” to turn their attention to the retrospective curve-fitting that masquerades as science. Read into that what you will.

  40. Aaron Swain says:

    See, this is what happens when philosophy students get too stoned.

  41. dilletante says:

    Still waiting for the episode where Lloyd Blankfein is being led off to jail while muttering at  Occupy Wall Street, “…and it would have worked too if it weren’t for you meddling kids”

  42. teleny says:

    I’ve often felt the same way about the PowerPuff Girls: notice how many of their villains have names that mean “ignorance”, “superstition” and “magic” — Mojo Jojo, Boogie Man, and, nervy barstards, “HIM”. Then look at the “good guys”: the Mayor excepted, they’re all not only smart (in names) “Sarah Bellum”, “Professor Utonium”, but sexy as well. (The Professor is based on a widely distributed photograph of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who vies with Brian Cox for the tastiest guy ever to work on gravitational collapse…)

  43. stuck411 says:

    Read the headline and could only think of that phrase from the era of the cartoon’s creation, “Don’t trust anyone over 30″.

  44. trickgnosis says:

    I’ve been telling people for nearly twenty years that Scooby Doo turned me into a skeptic at a young age. But honestly the supernatural is secondary in Scooby. The real moral of the story: watch out for real-estate developers.

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