Jesus ‘n’ Mo go all metaphorical


From the Jeus and Mo artist, who says he/she’s reading Stephen Law’s book Believing Bullshit (has anyone read it?):



  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Awesome. Maybe I’ll try to use this one.

  2. Darth Dog
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I read it and enjoyed it. A quick read but he does a good job of covering a lot of bad tactics employed in arguments for religion, pseudoscience, etc. I’ve recommended it to friends as a good starter book on critical thinking.

  3. Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I still wanna know what a meta is really for….


    • Linda Grilli Calhoun
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      A metate is for grinding corn.

      Does that help? L

      • Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        A bit. But it still leaves open the question of meta coffee, meta beer…and just plain ol’ ordinary meta….

        (And I’m having a really hard time imagining how one grinds corn with a liquid infusion of C. sinensis, no matter how meta it is…but, then again, those Aztecs and Incas were pretty damned resourceful, so I wouldn’t put it past them….)


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 23, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          I learned the word “meta” first in Greek (yes, I guess I was somewhat unsophisticated in English but to my defense, it was the 90s and it hadn’t been popularized yet) μετά. It was really hard for me to understand how this preposition was being used. So in other words, the meta of things was further complicated by the English meta because of the Greek μετά. :D

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I don’t know what’s a meta for, but I keep mine in a Grecian urn.

      What’s a Grecian urn?
      About six drachmas a day.

    • Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      A meta is for when an ortho just won’t do.

      • jimroberts
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        … but para is a bit too much.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. Ben – in chemistry, meta is the location of a substituent not at the closest possible location (ortho), but not the farthest (para), either. And since you’re musical, it was once pointed out to me that para(dimethylamino)benzaldehyde can be sung to Sailor’s Hornpipe.

        Otherwise, Ron Thomason of Dry Branch Fire Squad likes to use new words in sentences to help understand them. On the Live from the Newburyport Firehouse CD (highly recommended), he takes up metaphor: “If that young filly would come out from behind them bushes, that old stallion would remember what he come down from the metaphor.”


        • Posted October 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the chemistry lesson. My last formal education in chemistry was…erm…well, during the Reagan administration, and, if we covered any of that, I remember it not.

          But I think you’ve truly identified the proper utility of a meta. Stallions of all species may well agree….


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Ha! I sorta know this from the Greek:

          Ortho – straight/correct
          Para – beside
          Meta – after, among, behind

  4. Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink


  5. freethinkinfranklin
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    ahhh a good ol fashion religious circle jerk…

  6. Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I have one off topic question for you Jerry (or if someone else can help): I want to order a copy of WEIT book, and I find two of them

    One has more pages, but what is really the difference, which is the new one, and which one should I order?

    Thanks a lot. Cheers!

    • Dominic
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      The 1st is the US & the 2nd the UK editions…

      • Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        The texts of both are identical, but I think the UK edition (by OUP) has a bit higher-quality illustrations. But it’s also the more expensive of the two choices you offer.

        • Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          Dominic and Jerry, thanks a lot for the reply. The difference in price is not significant, and I prefer higher quality. The UK edition is on the way ;)

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            The UK always gets stuff with better pictures. I thought the cover of the UK version of Richard Dawkins’s latest book is better too!

  7. Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Great book — lightning read. Very tight, yet informal and pleasant presentation of the major mechanics of delusion. For adults, though… will piss off the deluded children, but then again, so will merely the title.

  8. moarscienceplz
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Just like light has a wave/particle duality, Yahweh has a bronze-age-thundergod/new-age-spacey-love-vibe duality.

    • TJR
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      What happens if you put Yahweh through the double-slit experiment?

      • Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        You get divine interference.

        • Cliff Melick
          Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          Reading your post was worth plowing through this whole thread.

      • truthspeaker
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Virgin birth.

      • Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        You get creamed Jesus. Great for schmearing atop your bagel, and then topping with lox!


        • Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          Something about your answer made me want to check out Amazon reviews on communion wafers, just to see if the pranksters were busy there. I was not disappointed.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

            Oh that cracked me up.

            “I am concerned to think that uninformed customers may be buying generic communion wafers like this over the internet. Not only is there the risk that these products may contain impurities or traces of false gods which will cause serious and permanent damage to your soul, there is also the undoubted fact that buying generic wafers deprives legitimate churches of income which they can use to research new and more effective means of salvation. I must also emphasise that communion wafers should never be supplied ready consecrated and do not constitute Jesus until processed by a trained professional wearing the appropriate liturgical vestments and using the approved lubricants. Steer well clear.” – Wilus from Cambridge

            Go read the rest of them, people!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            That’s hilarious! Amazon reviewers, whoever you are, you are awesome!

      • Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Nothing. Yahweh requires three slits.

  9. eric
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    If a lot of normal humans are getting theology wrong, then it can be got wrong by reasonable people. Which means the message is not very clear. Which means the author of the message is either intentionally or unintentionally not communicating the message well.

    Which is it? Is God intentionally not communicating well, or unintentionally not communicating well?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you view the bible as an instrument for understanding God, its accuracy is open to question (we have no indpependent method of checking its accuracy)…but its imprecision is not. And that imprescision makes it a useless instrument, the same way that an accurate scale which gets my weight right +/-500 pounds is useless.

    • Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Or, as the question I like to ask frames it: Has Jesus read the KJV Bible? Not, of course, did Jesus read the KJV Bible during his ministry; but has the Jesus who is sitting at the right hand of the Father and whose job it is to judge the living and the dead — has that Jesus read the KJV Bible?

      If he hasn’t, of course, the whole thing is such patent bullshit that we needn’t go any further.

      But, if he has, he also has to be aware that it’s typically represented as his official autobiography. So, either he’s cool with that and wants everybody to think that he wrote it and that it really literally YHWH’s honest capital-T-Truth, or he’s cool with people misconstruing it as such.

      Therefore, either the Bible is literally and absolutely true, or Jesus is absolutely incompetent. (Or imaginary.)



  10. Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve read it. To borrow what I put up on my book reviews pages:

    Law’s small book analyzes ways in which bad arguments are often structured – this is sort of one level of abstraction away from the ususal discussion of fallacies. He shows how common topics of heated (and skeptically involved) discussions often fall prey to these bad forms and also discusses how they are interrelated. Suitable as one text in a critical thinking course, though in some institutions the title might be offputting; the most important limitation, however, is that there are no exercises – instructors would have to provide their own. (Also, it is important to realize that the author, as is typical of many philosophers, oversells the actual historical importance of Francis Bacon’s philosophy of science.)

    For this post only I’ve changed my “website” link to point to the other critical thinking books I’ve reviewed over the years. This might be useful if people want to compare it to others.

  11. truthspeaker
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Karen Armstrong would be proud.

    • Leigh Jackson
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Barmaids are more sophisticated though, in my experience.

  12. Robert Seidel
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Actually, it’s now settled that the artist is a he. Here’s a recent interview with the British Council of Ex-Muslims:

    • Leigh Jackson
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Should have known – he loved Peanuts.

  13. Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    This cartoon is referencing a chapter of my book Believing Bullshit called “Moving The Semantic Goalposts” which you can access online here if interested:

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