52. PHIL PLAIT: Welcome to science

Discussion (198) ¬

  1. Cole
    Cole

    “You’re gunna like it here”
    Lovin that last frame!

    • Ash
      Ash

      Totally loving that last frame, Now to find a telescope and some dark skies. :)

    • Ali
      Ali

      I love science since the day my dad gave me a set of encyclopaedias – This just reminded me of that.

  2. Bill

    Yeah, Phil’s BA Blog sent me here, Gavin. Grateful to you both! Thanks for this… it’s a great connection.

  3. Carlos
    Carlos

    Always loving what you do with your art.

  4. Walkiria Nubes
    Walkiria Nubes

    I also discovered you via Phil’s Blog. It has been one of the greatest recommendations he’s given. Love this art.

    Welcome to science!!!

  5. Nate St. Pierre

    Love the art, as usual, and it’s a fantastic thank-you to Phil for all his contributions to good science.

    One line struck me, however, and seemed to ring a bell, so I went to look it up.

    “No creationist ever cracked the genetic code.”

    Except he did. Francis Collins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins), noted physician, geneticist, and Creationist Christian, was the one who led the Human Genome Project to its completion, mapping and sequencing all of human DNA. He was most recently nominated by President Obama to run America’s National Institute of Health.

    He’s scientific elite – you can check his stats and contributions on genome.gov: http://www.genome.gov/10000779 – and he advocates for the view that God created the world, and evolution is the mechanism he used to reach the point of humanity.

    Not saying he’s right or wrong, and I’m definitely not going to argue theology vs. science, but I at least wanted to make it clear that Christians (even Creationist ones) can still be some of our best scientists.

    • Gav
      Gav

      Good point Nate, thanks for the info

      • Krishna Chandra Singh Sanger
        Krishna Chandra Singh Sanger

        Please remember that in addition to the Christian faith there are other religious philosophies also. It seems that both, the advocates of Creation and of Evolution, seem to forget this fact. Is this FAIR. I do not belong to the Christian faith. So people of other faiths seem to be left out of the discussion regarding the truth about such an important issue. I believe that fanatics from all religions including atheists should be asked to join in the pursuit of truth in this matter of great import. I believe that it is not sufficient to put the fear of some UNKNOWN ENTITY into people and make them believe in a theory that is leaking water. Let me clarify. Galileo Galilei was tortured by the Christian Church and forced into retracting his statement about the ‘HELIOCENTRIC’ nature of the solar system and toeing the line of of the Church, which held the view that the solar system was ‘GEOCENTRIC’. If the Church was wrong once, what guarantee is there that it is not committing the same mistake again. Please include people from all religions in this discussion before announcing your decisions.

        • FakeKraid
          FakeKraid

          Please, if you’re advocating for correctness, get correct historical data yourself. The Catholic Church did not ‘torture’ Galileo; they banned him from the public forum and placed him, in modern terms, under house arrest – a very mild punishment. And they did so not because they felt their theology was threatened by his theory (the Church was already advocating the study of heliocentric theories under Copernicus) but because Galileo was a social agitator who continually sought to humiliate and demean anyone who disagreed with his ideas, clear proof for which was never even found in his lifetime.

    • Nick
      Nick

      Well, the term “creationist” nowadays mostly refers to literalist creationists who believe God created humans directly and deny the reality of evolution. This is what Phil means when he uses the word, in any case. While Mr. Collins could be called a creationist in the general sense that he believes in some initial divine creation, he clearly does not share the literalist view (I don’t think there would be any anti-evolution genecists..?). He rather appears to be a follower of theistic evolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution), which is not what Phil meant to be denouncing here.

      • Gav
        Gav

        Well put Nick, thanks

    • Rubbs

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins#Christianity he’s only nominally Christian. He’s not a creationist. “In his book Collins rejects Young Earth creationism and intelligent design.”

      • Max
        Max

        Actually you’re mistaken, he describes his parents as “nominally Christian”

    • GeekMom

      Yes, I’m a scientist! I’m also a Christian. Let’s not make enemies of anyone who doesn’t share the same label as we assign to ourselves. Let’s celebrate all of the stuff we have in common! :-)

  6. Ashwin
    Ashwin

    This is beautiful, but I always thought it was Sagan and not Feynman who said: science is a way to not fool ourselves. Maybe they both did, and it doesn’t matter, science indeed is our only means to discover reality without possibly deluding ourselves.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous

      Sagan has a quote along the same lines: “For me, it is far better to accept the universe as it is rather than persist in delusion, no matter how reassuring.”

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen

    I absolutely love this! Just 2 nights ago we gave our daughter a telescope for her birthday and tomorrow we will be watching the transit of Venus because Phil Plait inspired her to want to more about the universe.

  8. Laemming
    Laemming

    “Cure” for smallpox?

    • AdInfinitumSpero
      AdInfinitumSpero

      Thank you for not making me the only one who caught that. I was starting to wonder if I had missed some major event. Also polio. There are vaccines, not cures. Very important distinction.

      Not that that reflects on the quality of this, it’s very well done, just reflects on the quality of the quote. Maybe it was made by some crazy future-man who comes back to tell us about the wondrous future-cures ?

      • GRISHA
        GRISHA

        True, but in the case of smallpox, the distinction is pretty academic. Smallpox is effectively “cured” by virtue of it’s absence in vivo. It was eradicated in 1979. (yes, there is some, controversially, in cold storage at the CDC and in Russia.) If you vaccinate a virus out of existence, it’s as good as a cure.

  9. Alex

    You’re good Gav!

  10. Alex

    PS. This makes me want to re-watch Wonders of the Universe!

  11. K.B.

    LOVE THIS. I found your site though Neil Gaiman, and I’m glad I did!

  12. Kane

    Killer texture work!!!

  13. sagar
    sagar

    Brilliant! A fitting one for @BadAstronomer :)

  14. chetana
    chetana

    excellent! Being in research myself, I can completely relate to what you say!

  15. Lexi
    Lexi

    This is a wonderful comic and one of my favorties so far. I too found this blog through Phil Plait and am so glad that I did.

  16. Marcia
    Marcia

    Hey! I think this is good, but in my opinion your discourse exaltate to much science, i belive science is just a tool, a perception method, but it doesn’t answers everything, science commonly has mistakes, as a human activity. Maybe, as a science “fan” just like me, you could be interested on reading Gregory Bateson’s “Mind and Nature” here he talks about science and some of our presuppositions, under systems theory, complex thinking, information theory, complexity theory. Google it!

    regards

    • sagar
      sagar

      Science is ‘just’ a tool just as much as a life is a ‘only’ bunch of atoms. Science is a way of looking at the world rationally and curiously. Science doesn’t claim to answer everything and neither does it claim to be perfect. Most good students of science will tell you that. In fact the more you find out about the world the more you know about how much more there is to know and that’s the beauty of it!

    • Lawrence D'Oliveiro
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro

      Science is, by definition, whatever works, and can be shown to work.

  17. Patricia

    Thank you, this is beautiful.

  18. Jennifer

    The caricature of Feynman is brilliant. The bored psychic and homeopathy-lady cracked me up :D

  19. Calibur
    Calibur

    I knew these places before this, and I’m not a scientist.
    Store bought telescopes, in my experience, fail.
    Otherwise, though, good quote and… Comic?

    Why the bananas in the creationist picture?

  20. Thea
    Thea

    Love the BA! He has great stuff on his blig. Awesome comic.
    Calibur – I think the banana is a reference to a creationist who claims that god designed the banana to fit perfectly in a human hand. It would be better if I could remember his name, but it is easy enough to waste a few minutes of your life that you will never get back looking it up. And, you would never have known that neutron stars even existed if it weren’t for science!

  21. J. L.
    J. L.

    I don’t believe in a God specified by any religious group. But I do believe that there is way more to discover than what we’re able to discover by mere natural science!

    And i doubt that one day we will be able to explain everything and every little wonder there is; least i would be very sad if said day ever came to be true.

    Love lots of your other comics/quotes though ;)

    • CE
      CE

      How do you know that there is way more to discover than what we’re able to discover by mere natural science?

      • nk
        nk

        ah now this is a good question :)
        natural science is a study of nature, it answers “how”; religion is an answer to the “why” – and of course a ‘why’ always leads you to an intelligent source, generally called, God.
        But really, I don’t see science and religion as contradictory to each other, and I do wonder why fanatics are so self congratulatory…

        • GRISHA
          GRISHA

          OK, I’ll bite. Why?

          You don’t have to be a fanatic to keep asking why. An intelligent source, generally called God, leads to infinite regress, for the simple reason that, if it existed, it too would need your same explanation. Why not stop one step earlier. If God doesn’t need God to explain himself, why do we? By the way, in my experience when someone posts a reply using the words “of course” one is being self-congratulatory.

    • Lawrence D'Oliveiro
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro

      >But I do believe that there is way more to discover than what we’re able
      >to discover by mere natural science!

      For example?

  22. karthik
    karthik

    awesome !!

  23. Alex
    Alex

    Wow. Brilliant, Gav. And great speech by Phil.

  24. Patricia GW

    Brilliant work, Gav!

  25. James
    James

    I want (!!WANT!!) this. One question though. Is there any way to purchase a print that is in the same vertical format as the on-line version? I feel that the horizontal layout of the print loses a lot of character.

    • Gav
      Gav

      No, they can’t be printed in such a vertical size unfortunately.

  26. Daniel
    Daniel

    Why use Isaac Newton? He believed in God.

    • Andre

      So what? He always made distinction between Science and Religion. There’s no religion in the Principia.

    • John
      John

      Most scientists do. Most scientists are content with the idea that the universe can both have some kind of logical order to it and that a god can exist (and perhaps have created that order.) Myself, I’m an atheist, but I can respect folks’ belief in gods if it works for them spiritually, just so long as they’re willing to look at the material world scientifically.

    • Lawrence D'Oliveiro
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro

      But he was a heretic believer.

    • Gentleman Mummy

      I also disagree with using Newton, for the same reason I disagree with using Tarot cards in a derogatory fashion. Newton might have been a great scientist, but that came at the cost of his mental health and his social skills, and he is one of the scientific figures – alongside, say, Dawkins – who helped perpetuate the stereotype of the scientist as joyless, purely rational and with no passion for anything beyond fact, including religion or art.

      Tarot cards are only stereotyped as being used to tell the future – most serious Tarot readings involve the reader’s personal interpretation of symbolic artistic representation, in understanding past events, their present state of mind, and how they might want to modify their behaviour in future. That’s not equivalent to TV psychics – it’s a form of psychology, which (ta-da!) is a science, even if only debatably so.

      And on a purely personal level, despite my avid thankfulness that scientific thought and discovery has given so much to the world, I find there is no denying that religious and spiritual thought have made a more-or-less equal contribution. Neither is more important than the other – science cannot possibly hope to explain everything, and religion cannot possibly hope to be the cure for all ills.

      This is WHY we have to destroy Creationism – because it tries to amalgamate the two, when simply having them coexist is the best option. Scientists can’t prove or disprove God, and Priests can’t claim that Jesus shepherded Velociraptors and made the sun turn around the Earth.

      They’re simply two alternate ways of understanding the same basic truths. What makes Newton’s third law of motion any different from “The Golden Rule” shared in every religious text? The basic principle is the same: that everything is equal. Scientists say that all matter is being continually recycled, that everything comes from something and goes back to something else: priests say “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”. Science has shown that life began in the water; the Judaic, Christian and Islamic creation stories say the same thing.

      Rational thought is great. Belief is great too. Both of them? Working in parallel to make the world a better place in their own way? That’s the best. Pushing one, but dismissing the other entirely? That’s just mean-spirited, and annoying.

  27. fieroturbo
    fieroturbo

    This just depresses me… All science has shown me is that we’re freaking screwed.

    • Mori
      Mori

      No, science has shown you the world as it really is. What you do in the world as it really is, is up to you, and the rest of humanity.

      • Anonymous
        Anonymous

        Great comment :)

  28. adam antichrist
    adam antichrist

    So they cured polio? And smallpox?
    I think you should research your statements more carefully. There are vaccines for these pathogens but once you get it, you

    • adam antichrist
      adam antichrist

      bah! sentence cut off. If anyone get’s smallpox or polio, they suffer from it and in some cases they will die. There is no cure.

      • GRISHA
        GRISHA

        Smallpox was eradicated in 1979. If you get it, you may die. But you won’t.

  29. Euphy
    Euphy

    The comments for this entry make it nearly twice as good!

    I actually have a theory that I don’t expect to ever be proven: That God was some guy who created the earth (and what’s developed on it) as a science project.

  30. D. W.
    D. W.

    I love this. As someone who has recently chosen to fully embrace science, this made me smile. I’ve recently made several new compounds that have not been made before, and while it’s highly likely they will never be that important, it’s still incredibly cool to know that I made them before anyone else did. This definitely made me smile.

  31. Mark Joseph
    Mark Joseph

    Wonderful quote, wonderful comic. Thank you! I hope everyone had the chance to see the transit of Venus today, something that only scientists, using mathematics, could predict.

  32. Emilia :)
    Emilia :)

    Awwwhh Gav, it makes me happy reading this. People always question me why as an Artist, I married a ‘Scientist’? The answer is simple. Everyday is a question with an interesting answer. :)

  33. Relationship Roadmaps
    Relationship Roadmaps

    Those that aren’t qualified to comment on astrology, shouldn’t. Historical observation, of the effects of our environment, on human behavior is a science. Knowledge is power, and ignorance is bliss. i.e. 60 year sun cycles, 6o year weather patterns, and 60 year complete Chinese calender cycles. Love those hormones! As the insignificant other, during the 4 day window, prior to the full moon, I can do no right, in the significant others eyes. I verify it every time, by checking the moon phase. One like myself, with a .000017% astrological compatibility, is overpowered by those with a best possible 6% compatibility. If you take the time to do thousands of interviews, the patterns are verified, and it becomes obvious as to which combinations, bring out the best in people. Some people, just make us sick, while others help us flourish, and grow.

    • Kim
      Kim

      …can you repost making any sense of what you meant? Just two connected sentences may be enough.

  34. Backtracking for a few moments.
    Backtracking for a few moments.

    AMAZING!

  35. Tor
    Tor

    Fantastic, continue with your amazing drawings.

  36. Santiago Ashlay
    Santiago Ashlay

    Is a nice comic but I have to say that homeopathy would not have cured Polio but really did help me when I was young with Asthma medics where giving me a sh** med that kept me wost at times giving me insomnia and halting my correct growth. If not where for homeopathy I would have never gotten better perhaps…

  37. Haytham Elassal
    Haytham Elassal

    Thanks a lot , I’m really like it :D

  38. Russ
    Russ

    Homeopathy IS science. All modern allopathy has a foundation in natural medicine, and most homeopaths are MDs. Almost all pharmaceuticals are derivative of materials found in nature. I’m down with the inspiration here, but I’m saddened to see such a sarcastic portrayal of pursuits outside the “hard sciences.” The figures you’ve showcased–and scores of other visionaries–had one thing in common: They believed in things beyond what is known today. It was Einstein that conceded, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

    • Miss Pink
      Miss Pink

      I bet you confuse homeopathy with phytochemistry…

    • Andre

      O’Rly? Can you show us a paper describing the biochemistry of a homeopathic medicine? Just ONE simple paper? (please, peer reviewed articles only)

    • Bill Stewart
      Bill Stewart

      Homeopathy is a bogus quack theory backed up by 200 years of badly run experimentation. It never did accept the Germ Theory of Disease, so it’s not something you can trust to actually cure diseases, but sometimes it has found products that will help reduce symptoms. Allopathic medicine (which is the homeopaths’ name for what the rest of us call “actual medicine”) doesn’t always have cures for diseases either, and sometimes all it can do is manage symptoms. And if you’re comparing treatments for symptoms, you pick the one that balances effectiveness against side effects.

      Allopathic medicine isn’t going to cure my allergies to all the weird pollens around here. The last generation or two of antihistamines are pretty good, but until then anything strong enough to be helpful made me too drowsy. Some of the homeopathic products reduced symptoms a bit without being quite as annoying.

      And until Tamiflu came around, if vaccines didn’t protect you against this year’s flu, allopathic medicine could give you fever-reducers and chicken soup and tell you to stay in bed and not spread the flu around, but couldn’t cure it. There are some homeopathic remedies that pretty reliably reduce my flu symptoms from really awful to just kind of bad. It doesn’t matter if they’re actually just placebos – either you feel better or you don’t.

  39. Phil Hibbs
    Phil Hibbs

    My mum – who is well educated and usually quite rational – has falled for these “Psychic Detective” TV shows in a big way, and believes them. How can I convince her that they are bogus? Have any of the specific eposides been investigated and busted?

  40. Phil
    Phil

    Another great comic Gav. It’s amazing what people have accomplished using science.

  41. The Bad Astronomer

    This is quite simply one of the greatest things ever. Thanks, Gav, and a blog post is coming. :)

  42. Gaurav
    Gaurav

    Big fan! Submitting a quote for your consideration-

    Daniel Dennett’s words from Breaking The Spell (2006) :-

    “If you can approach the world’s complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things. Keeping that awestruck vision of the world ready to hand while dealing with the demands of daily living is no easy exercise, but it is definitely worth the effort, for if you can stay centred, and engaged, you will find the hard choices easier, the right words will come to you when you need them, and you will be a better person. That, I propose, is the secret to spirituality, and it has nothing at all to do with believing in an immortal soul, or in anything supernatural.”

  43. Chris
    Chris

    I love this comic (and your site btw., which I just discovered). The last frame is how my daughters would look like. They are still a bit to young for telecopes but not for other science fun.

  44. Galang Syahya
    Galang Syahya

    From when I was just a kid, I like to watch national geographic or discovery channel (and all alike), stargazing, watching animals etc. and now I’m majoring biology, but all the education system ruin all the thing that I thought would be to learn at college.
    Education ruined me.

  45. Jacquelyn

    This is beautiful, and I love it, but I wish you’d shown more diversity in science. Everyone in the cartoon is white. With the exception of the woman at the microscope, all the scientists are men (and certainly, all the “big name” scientists you mentioned are men). In contrast, the homeopathist and the psychic are both women. I caution you to be really careful to avoid stereotypes.

  46. Tony Fisk (@arfisk)
    Tony Fisk (@arfisk)

    I love this, but I can’t help but feel I’ve seen the last frame somewhere else!

    http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=1025

    (Not plagiarism! Just… similar)

    • GRISHA
      GRISHA

      Young girl and older man at telescope? A very common motif. I would not be suprised if this was an homage to Phil Plait and his daughter.Dads and daughters at a telescope (or ham radio) are a time-honored and emotional way way of expressing for the bonds of wonder across generations. Did both them get this image from Carl Sagan? Did Carl Sagan get it from Gallileo and his daughter? :-)

  47. Bill Stewart
    Bill Stewart

    It’s highly likely that psychic detectives have at least occasionally helped detectives solve crimes, either out of dumb luck, or because they’re often quite good at reading people’s behaviour (whether they’re frauds or just emotionally sensitive people.) And unfortunately, we’ve been finding out recently that a lot of “forensic scientists” working for the police don’t have either serious scientific training or the carefulness to apply it correctly, and many “expert witnesses” in court haven’t been reliable enough for a legitimate justice system. If a psychic finds the body, they find the body, and at least if they say “Person X is guilty”, must juries view them with more doubt than they do “police forensic scientists” who may not be any better.

    But yeah, science is cool, and we need a lot more of it!

  48. dojjh

    klnsd

  49. Lola
    Lola

    A big Wow to both you and Phil.
    Thanks so much!

  50. Justin
    Justin

    We NEED scientists like Phil and Neill DeGrasse Tyson. We NEED more fresh, agile minds to become fans of science and all it can do for us.

    And we also need fantastic artists like Gavin to spread the word about the immense value of science through art… now more than ever. :)

  51. saltcreek50
    saltcreek50

    All I can say is “YOU ROCK”. I will show this to as many young people as I can. I wish I had this kind of inspiration when I was young. (didn’t even have algebra then).

  52. GRISHA
    GRISHA

    Your best yet!

  53. @briabria

    This site is easily addicting!!

  54. Mark
    Mark

    Nice job, but I have one quibble. Eleven distinct characters are shown: Three females, six males and two whose genders are ambiguous (the forensic and the medical scientists). Of the three females, two are non-scientists. Of the six males, only one is a non-scientist.

    You should be aware that, after viewing this comic, some people will walk away with the impression that science is a field by men, for men.

    And if you would argue that the medical scientist is obviously female, consider the context within the quote, and the fact that the vaccines (not the “cures”) for polio and smallpox were not developed by women.

  55. Suzanne Elvidge

    Can I use the comic in a talk on science and the media I’m giving later this year?

    • Gav
      Gav

      Sure, sounds great Suzanne. Let me know how it goes.

  56. leonardo
    leonardo

    there’s too much worship… It wasn’t he homeopathy or religion who crated biologic weapons… the science is not perfect

  57. Ivo Cruz
    Ivo Cruz

    Very good.

  58. nene
    nene

    Although I respect this entire comic very much, I have to disagree. Not everything can be based around science. Alot of things have happened because of art and creativity, which clearly this comic decides to attack without outright attacking it. Don’t get me wrong, I love science, and I love the idea of it, but I find that there are some people in this world who base too much around it.

  59. Ot
    Ot

    Can you do one for mathematics? :D

  60. Jennie
    Jennie

    Hey Gav, love this comic and it reminded me of fellow Perth boy, Tim Minchin’s rant on pseudo science. Enjoy! http://www.stormmovie.net/

    • Gav
      Gav

      Thanks Jennie!

  61. scientism
    scientism

    No turtle has ever killed thousands of sea creatures in an oil spill (the energy industry have, based on scientific discovery)
    No tree has ever recommended people to put tar in their lungs causing millions of people lung cancer (doctors have, based on medical science)
    No tribal medicine man has ever created Thalidomide to pregnant women severely deforming of killing thousands of babies (the pharmaceutical industry have, based on life-science research)
    No company of McDucks has spread inferior food all over the world causing over half the population in some ‘advanced’ societies to be obese (the food industry supported by scientists have)
    No fire fly has ever dropped a nuclear bomb on a city spreading radiation for thousands of miles and causing several generations of disfigured offspring (nuclear scientists have)

    It’s easy to spin things to fit with your view of the world. Maintaining a balanced view is not something many people are capable of. Science is great because it can give us something we feel we need. So can religion, art, homeopaths, astrologers, etc. It’s up to people to decide individually what they feel they need, not up to you to mock them for needing it

    • smidget
      smidget

      Science tells us about the world and how it works. What we choose to do with that information, for better or for worse, isn’t science, but the choice we make as a culture. Religion (except for as a cultural/sociological thing), homeopathy, and astrology don’t tell us about the world at all.

      • Matt
        Matt

        nope, religion gives us the appreciation of science. you’re wrong there. religion and science are perfectly fitting, its only when people desperately try to find ways and means to deny intelligent design that they corrupt what science is – a celebration of creation

  62. Matt
    Matt

    would disagree with your view on creationists, its shallow to depict it that way. science is a celebration of creation

  63. Gwyneth
    Gwyneth

    After reading this one, I was inspired and motivated to study more. Since I am taking up Civil Engineering, I will study harder and used this saying as my inspiration in my everyday life. Thank you so much! :)

  64. Alasdair
    Alasdair

    OK, this one was just brilliant. :)

  65. Patrick
    Patrick

    I must agree with Nene. If you’re honest and broaden your perspective a bit, science as well as non-science may involve fraud as well as a solution.

    Yes, there are “esoteric quacksalvers” who’re just about profit. But likewise there have been scientific methods like lobotomy or dubious modern theories of economy (e.g. the concept of the “homo oeconomicus”). Thus, both mindsets can be used in a bad way.

    On the other hand, there are cultures in which “medicine men” play an important and traditional role, and the people of that culture are totally fine with it – no reason to bash or persecute them for it – they’re happy as they are. Regarding our own culture: someone who practices with Tarot cards might spark a creative idea within the patient, which might lead to the patient feeling better or changing his way of life in a way that prevents further illness. Meanwhile, science has given the industrialized cultures doctors who may prescibe you a pill to sooth your pain – and to some extent that’s totally fine, too. Thus, both ways can also be utilized in a good way.

    So in the end, the way you *use* science or non-science seems to be crucial, not the thing itself.

  66. Guillermo Abramson

    Wow, this is a very nice poster, Zen Pencil. Why don’t we translate it into Spanish? I could do it.

    • Gav
      Gav

      Sure, be my guest!

  67. CB
    CB

    This is so wonderful!

  68. Mikael
    Mikael

    Love it! Great story telling!

  69. William
    William

    A funny juxtaposition with the Google ads made me stop and stare at the bottom of your post – “Know the future” – psychic readings :)

    Google must “know” that an ad like that would appeal to readers of this blog.

    I clicked on it anyway :)

    • Gav
      Gav

      Ha, thanks buddy

  70. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    ??

  71. Dazee
    Dazee

    I’m allowed to follow both, right? I mostly liked this quote (I loved the comic either way) until the blatant bash against religion and supernatural beliefs. There are magical things in this world. Even if it can be explained by science, it’s still incredible and amazing and still just as magical and sometimes even more so, even if there’s a clear, precise explanation for how and why it happens.

    I really think more things could be discovered if science and religion would work together.

  72. Noelle
    Noelle

    *sigh* I hate people that have to bash one side of the argument just because they don’t believe in it.

    Speaking as a Christian biologist, I recently had an illness called “ulcerative colitis”. Medicine that was supposed to help was just steroids, which made everything worse (it didn’t cure the symptoms at all, didn’t relieve them or anything of the sort, just gave me more aches and pains). What did finally cure me were homeopathic remedies. :\

    Science is great, it really is. But honestly? I think one of the most evil things you can do is try to take someone’s faith away from them.

    • Tyson
      Tyson

      My best for you with your disease, I hope you continue to be in remission since Ulcerative Colitis is a lifelong disease.

      However while there are some loud scientists out there pushing against religion, they are the radicals. The bigger issue is when people who have a dogmatic belief of the bible start attacking science, it’s going to defend itself. In the past going against the church lead to imprisonment or death, because you didn’t follow the teachings. The bigger issue is trying to teach something that isn’t scientifically proven as fact, and using the power of faith to push it. It’s a disservice to kids learning science, and puts them at a disadvantage to those who strictly learn science, and not unproven beliefs.

      • Louis
        Louis

        A considerable number of scientific inventions are the work of the church’s scientists.

        Gregor Johann Mendell is a priest. There are 30+ moon crates named after Jesuit priests who found them. Big bang theory? Albert Einstein and Fr Georges Lemaitre. Powered motors: Br. Andrew Gordon, O.S.B. Scientific method: Fra. Roger Bacon, O.F.M.

        Those are just a few of them.

        • Paul Caggegi

          Don’t make a false-dichotomy. They did not discover the science because they were religious; hey did the experiment – that is what yielded the results. Their discoveries were not handed down from on-high via a burning bush.

  73. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I read this in GLaDOS’ voice.

  74. MeAndOnlyMe
    MeAndOnlyMe

    I love this, both the quote and the comic. I read tarot cards, and for me they do what I need them to do. There is no sham, no shame, and no self delusions despite what other people say about me.

    Yet, when it comes down to passing things on to my children, or to anybody who happens to cross my path and asks, I do not advice them to pick up a pack of tarot cards and to learn it for themselves. No, I tell them that picking up a book on psychology will bring them further, faster than where my cards brought me.

    I love science, despite our arguments. Whether we agree or disagree on the finer points, it does not matter. Science has brought us the stars, the moon, and the people. It has done more for everybody, and I love it for that.

    So you can be sure that when I am asked I will not turn and point people down my road, no matter how much I have learned from it. Instead I will show them the crossroads, the divergence, and explain to them the difference. Then I will sit back in my chair and polish my crystal ball and I will hope that they take the path that greater men have left for them.

    I am no great man, I just read my tarot and hope for the best.

    And now I am done rambling, but remember me for this… Live life as happily as you can, for the betterment of yourself and of others. Because lets face it, where all stuck here together. I’d rather get along, wouldn’t you?

    Love y’all. Peace.

  75. MapMyMeds

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  76. Bradley
    Bradley

    Actually, a creationist did crack the genetic code and is actually known as “the Father of Genetics.” That is GREGOR MENDEL, Franciscan friar and devout Catholic. Jeesh, I guess history isn’t really a scientists domain.

  77. Westenra
    Westenra

    Very cool strip, and preferable to enduring Phil’s blog if I may be so blunt. I appreciate the pro-science stance he’s pushing but it’s hard to put up with his attitude when he gets into things he doesn’t understand, like the paranormal, film and television, etc. The people who comment on his articles can also be boorish shills to say the least. I would actually not mind reading his daily posts in the form of a comic than have to put up with all his niggling little “opinions” that fall outside Astronomy, part of the reason I can no longer visit his site. Oh well, sheep love their little cliques.

  78. John Doe Icy Watch
    John Doe Icy Watch

    Religion would only be acceptable if every single human followed on belief it’s Humanism

  79. Lee
    Lee

    I do disagree with this quote on one main premise. Although not stated, it castes these non-scientific people as not living right. However, I would say that people must do what makes them happy. I have met neo-pagans that I do not agree with but who get so excited at mythology and exploring the past. They are mocked for their views and seen as irrational. These people may be irrational but the point in life is to bring happiness to yourself and in turn help others. The scientist does this by through one means. This is discovery of factual information on how the world works. But those who do not take that scientific approach such as the palm readers can create amazing art through their beliefs, help others just as any missionary, and so much more. It falls without the category of judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree, these people the quote more or less calls out are being compared to scientists when they shouldn’t be. They are a different group that can bring different things. As mentioned in previous comics, even the most learned men can live their life doing nothing because they never took initiative, while some neopagan can really take in the world and bring happiness to many.

  80. Nic0
    Nic0

    Bullshit, excuse me but it is. This is completely full of hate and discrimination to every sense of religion or spirituality and a kick in the balls to every person that believe in it. You have no respect and of course you’ll generalize all in the same sack (and I say that because it’s highly predictible).
    It’s because of people like you that will take so long time since people realize that religion and cience are the SAME story told of different sides, but you, you only distances both sides even more.
    This have so much reception cos on internet the “main opinion” is the nonbelief and of course someone that isn’t in the mainstream like me is tagged as non intelligent, stupid, troll or even animal (own experience). Even when one of the most intelligent person who ever lived (at least for me) was a firm believer of god, Einstein, which I particularly admire, and he defended his belief with arguments that match his intelligence….
    sigh….
    There are not diferent sides, just different assholes or fanatics, as you want.
    So tell me there’s a fanatic priest that says “there’s just one religion and one god, who don’t believe in god will go to hell, and gays too, this is the only thruth” and then a scientific say “there’s no god or any religion, things we can see and touch are the only things that exist and whoever believe in god are people that are afraid to darkness, this is the olny thruth” so tell me please, I beg you, WHAT’S THE FREAKING DIFFERENCE?
    Guess wich one are you.
    You’re irrational and blindly proud of something that became in one more factual power, ignoring everything else and closing yourselves on conservative beliefs. This is the science that you admire so much, just another religious sect.
    I’ll wait an answer

    …and forgive my shitty english

    • Goudet
      Goudet

      Hey, but Einstein didn´t believe in God. At least not in the kind of God that religion´s preach.

  81. impuls
    impuls

    how could you know that science is the truth? a few years ago, science “revealed” that the earth is flat… now the earth is round… in a few years it may be “revealed” that the earth is a square… science is not knowing, science is believing in things that you seed by the illusion of your eyes, and try to get it by experience… have you ever visited the galaxy, so you can be sure that the earth is not a square? or did you just see it in TV shows and books? and if you travel to the galaxy, can you really beliefe your eyes? that are the questions i’m asking myself about science…

  82. Anonymous
    Anonymous
    • Anonymous
      Anonymous

      Oh sorry that was me just now. I should add some information. http://www.visvos.com/ is a website which is also posting comics about things concerning science. Maybe you will like it.

  83. studyembedded

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  84. mmedjed
    mmedjed

    how nice.
    i agree some people are bullshiting and exploiting the trust and naivety of others for money. but not all are ignorant money sucking lying sons of B, some really do help.
    in my family this happened 20 years ago. my father got infected by hepatits B at the dentist because she forgot to sterile her instruments (who would of thought huh). the classic medical doctors did everything they could and everything they’ve known (back then) to help my father get better. they tried for a good year and nothing helped. they said they can do nothing more that could help.
    after a year, not like the doctors, my grandma didn’t give up. she was desperet and was willing to try anything that would have 1 % chance to help my dad get better. she found a woman who practised telepathy and uses homeopathic medicine (which is also science bdw, get your facts straight). she helped my father trough meditation but told him that he needs to help him self aswel. she gave him specific instruction how to and homeopathic medicine. believe it or not it trully helped and he cured hepatits B.
    I must admit i was very much against these kind of medicine in the begining and thought it won’t work. but since then i am not so ignorant and i dont judge what i dont understand in an instant. not everything is bullshit just because its not common you know. and i know you cant help yourself not to believe because it didn’t happen to you, but at least dont be so ignorant and mark this as bullshit from the start.

  85. Amber
    Amber

    Your comics are AWESOME!

    My friend showed them to me and I’ve been reading through ever since :D

  86. Jorge Parra

    Correct me if Im wrong but did not the smallpox vaccine were not synthesized by inoculation of weaken cowpox which is similar to the homeopathy principle of “like cures like”?. However personally I do not believe homeopathy as a substitute to traditional medicine.

  87. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I’ve seen some Creationists doing some good science work…

  88. kumarsooraj
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    only today i’ve come to know about this site and you…great work you have done here…thanks for getting to know new things…ands some things i’ve heard of but from a different angle..a different way of positive thinking…keep it up my friend…God Bless You

  89. FilipinoMDstudent
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    Beautiful comic strip. People seem to be unaware that science is not an absolute truth, but rather a process of describing and understanding reality. When science proves something wrong, the real scientist would abandon that idea, no matter how painful it is to admit the mistake. Pseudoscientists (homeopaths, psychics, young earth creationists), on the other hand, have been proven wrong countless times yet continue to peddle their nonsense. Only through the scientific method can real technological progress occur. Psychics, young earth creationists, alternative medical practitioners, and other cranks, through the pushing of their wacko ideas, have not contributed one bit to the growth of knowledge or the advancement of technology.

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    Every time I read this, my eyes tear up.
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    You illustrate those famous quotes in such heart-warming, motivating way. Making me believe, that I’m able to become better.

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  100. Saffie
    Saffie

    I was in a coffee shop having lunch when I read this. As I took in the last panel of the comic, I had to struggle to stop tears from finding there way to my cheek. There is something so touching about mutual gestures of respect, admiration and gratitude. Add to that the beautifully coveyed notion of entering a world of wonder and curiosity, and I just about blubbered.

    I am more familiar with BA than I am of Phil Plait, but this makes me appreciate both of them even more. To a young, budding enquirer, fascination and discovery are everything, and all the discussions, debates and even bickering about the details are noise until a person is able and willing to enter that sometimes ugly world.

    Pure, wide-eyed wonderment is a thing of beauty; it’s a state of mind that many of us who have become jaded (yet still enthusiastic) with knowledge long for.

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  102. scott lindh
    scott lindh

    this one is wrong and bias.
    Homeopathy is science, if its not why can i study a 5 year degree to do it?
    It is quantum physics, and just so you know homeopaths invented immunization and had a cure for small pox long before science, homeopathy cure is still used in columbia to this day and its 1000 cheaper then conventional medicine.

  103. Prakriti Sardana
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  104. Jetpack-johnny
    Jetpack-johnny

    Except they haven’t cracked the genetic code entirely

  105. Teci

    There are many scientists who are Christians too, myself included. I decided to go into physics after reading Carl Sagan’s books and watching Cosmos (and the X-Files). Sagan also led me to become an agnostic/passive atheist, but after a life tragedy I found myself reading the Bible with one — nay, two — eyes open.

    Christianity makes sense to me in the same way that physics does. Of course, God is way more complicated – but what relationship isn’t? We sometimes cannot figure out ourselves, how much less the people around us, and how much less a *supreme being*? This reasoning does not automatically prove there is a God, but I’m just saying there are a lot of things that are beyond science.

    Science gives a lot of benefits but also has a lot of limitations. Science demands repetition and predictability and numbers — does art have this? Do we then say that art is foolishness, or that art does not exist? Wouldn’t that be the foolish thing to say?

    The wonder and awe for the universe that Carl Sagan gave me is still there. But in my humble opinion, it has now matured to include the Creator. Sagan hastily dismissed all world religions as superstitious falsehood and wishful thinking, yet was quite convinced of the existence of extraterrestrial life even though he had no proof himself (it’s easy to give equations, but somebody please show me one alien being now). If one applies scientific skepticism to reject deistic/theistic beliefs, it is but fair to apply that same skepticism to one’s own pet beliefs too.

    On the other hand, Christians nowadays do tend to ignore the *first* commandment to love God with our mind (as well as heart, body, and soul). But I’m proud to say that I know many people who use science to honor God and even know Him more. As for me, I write a Bible verse on the board before beginning my college physics class. ?

    God be with you more Gav! I share your admiration for Sagan but also for Christian authors like CS Lewis and Marianne Williamson. I hope you find Him as you seek and share even more inspiration to the world.

  106. Robert
    Robert

    “No creationist ever cracked the genetic code. Chemists did. Molecular biologists did.”

    “Actually, a creationist did crack the genetic code and is actually known as “the Father of Genetics.” That is GREGOR MENDEL, Franciscan friar and devout Catholic. Jeesh, I guess history isn’t really a scientists domain.”

    web search “gregor Mendel” yields this:
    “The profound significance of Mendel’s work was not recognized until the turn of the 20th century, when the independent rediscovery of these laws initiated the modern science of genetics.”
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel

    but let’s just say that it wasn’t a creationist that first did it….

    Cracking the genetic code hasn’t given redemption from one’s own ever present wretchedness.

    That can only come from getting over the self; getting over all the pride of life… all the boasting in human exploration and discovery… and simply submitting to God, via Christ.

  107. veera balaji kumar

    Hi Gav ! great work
    But I was shocked by the ‘homeopathy’ part. Homeopathy is a scientific system of medicine accepted by many governments worldwide. Though, it is marginalized and ostracized in western countries – thanks to Big pharma !. Homeopathy is not some pseudo-scientific system cheating the public. If that were so why would governments use tax-payers money to build homeopathic hospitals in third world countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
    The following presentation would help understand the effectiveness of homeopathy in treating cholera, yellow fever and other epidemic diseases: http://www.the-cma.org.uk/cma_images/Jayney's%20Presentation.pdf.
    Also read the excellent article by Dr.Dana ullman in huffington post :http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/the-case-for-homeopathic_b_451187.html.

  108. alexandre saffi
    alexandre saffi

    Lots of B.S. in this one. Homeopathy is well regarded in many places where big pharma corporations can’t enter, mostly because homeopathy is cheap. For many people, it is their first choice in medicine. About Psychics, I’ve seen MANY of them helping the police. Once a medium “received” a spirit, wich made a statement in front of a jury, and signed it, the signature was recognized by forensic experts. I always cringe when people defend “science” as a form of religion.

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  110. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Liked the work until you started taking potshots at homeopathy. Some homeopaths do some good work and help people main stream medicine fails. Lumping them in with psychics, to make your point about the importance of science, is lazy and thoughtless.

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