The Natural Leaders of a Civilized Planet

Adam Conus points out one of the problems with American politics:

Thankfully, our track record is a little better (Hi, Pete Stark!)… but not by much.

(via Minimum Comics)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Maria

    First to comment!! This puts it very succintly…ah, if only rational people were the ones in charge…

  • http://nocreoencucos.blogspot.com Hiruc

    if rational people were the ones in charge, there would not be politics at all.

  • http://onefuriousllama.com One Furious Llama

    @Maria if only.

  • http://onefuriousllama.com One Furious Llama

    @Hiruc Oh, I’m sure there’d be politics but it would be… oh who am I kidding. Elevatorgate just proved that even a collection of self described uber-rational people aren’t always in agreement as to what ‘rational’ actually is.

    With or without rational people, politics will still suck.

  • Chris

    The leader (Prime Minister) of Australia, Julia Gillard is an atheist.

  • http://www.lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com Libby Anne

    Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past space people to have gods too.

  • downtown dave

    Thankfully, God is the One in charge. http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

    @One Furious Llama:

    Oh, I’m sure there’d be politics but it would be… oh who am I kidding. Elevatorgate just proved that even a collection of self described uber-rational people aren’t always in agreement as to what ‘rational’ actually is.

    It’s the “self-described” part that’s a problem.

  • abadidea

    Oh look, someone is trying to get their witnessing quota in by linking us to their little testimony :) I remember when I had a testimony!

    Downtown Dave (named after one of the Bible’s most charming murdering psychopaths!), your argument falls apart in the first sentence with “The fool has said in his heart there is no God. So says the Bible! Therefore it’s true.” (Only very slightly paraphrasing here.) This is no more valid than me saying “The Seven Books of Rowling provide hundreds of pages of evidence of the great goddess of wisdom, Hermione Granger, therefore She is real.”

    I suspect you already know this. After all, you’re smart enough to use a computer, which puts you ahead of some people I know. Consider dealing honestly with that little voice in the back of your head that keeps saying “but what if…?”

    PS. If your god really is in charge, he’s making Bush look absolutely competent and Gaddafi look benevolent and wise. He’s pretty much the worst god any theology has ever proposed. His solution to EVERYTHING is genociding and infinite pain for finite offenses, and he can’t even build a planet that isn’t inherently prone to catastrophic natural disasters.

  • ACN

    Dave, you need to stop blogwhoring.

  • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

    @Downtown Dave: Bad form, man. Bad form.

  • Daniel Dorfman

    @dave,
    You know that the “fool hath said in his heart” bit refers to anyone who denies the christian god? Hence the capital “G”, meaning Yaweh.
    That passage is directed at nonchristians, not just people who aren’t religious.
    Just goes to show how much hate the bible has under its hood.

  • JJR

    There is plenty for rational people to disagree about, with all the resource and power disparity between different groups, etc. Religion is but one among many motivating ideologies, too, though probably the most unhinged from reality and therefore the most dangerous.

    Democracy only works if the Demos is reasonably well educated and takes an active interest in its own self-governance. The price for inattention in politics is to be ruled by evil men. Religion is an excellent way to distract the masses with bullshit while you and your cronies loot the treasury.

  • Gibbon

    Isn’t that carton incredibly presumptuous and arrogant? The latter for suggesting that secular humanism is the right way, and the former for implying that any alien civilisation advanced enough to travel across the stars would agree with secular humanism.

    It’s beginning to sound like someone else is believing in fairytales now.

  • Dan

    Gibbon,

    Do you think alien civilizations advanced enough to travel from distant galaxies would be Christians?

    Christians claim that their way is not just the right way, but actually “the only way” all the time. Will you at least be consistent and claim that is “presumptuous and arrogant?” I’d say that it isn’t presumptuous for a person to believe they are correct as long as they have rational, evidence-based reasons for their position, but believing by faith is another story.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Why do the alien and the earthling look alike?

  • Bryan Johnson

    Why do the alien and the earthling look alike?

    And why do neither of them have arms or more than one leg? Is this a secular humanist’s idea of what people should look like!?!?

  • Mark Plus

    @Bryan Johnson:

    And why do neither of them have arms or more than one leg?

    Because god doesn’t heal amputees?

    Actually I view secular humanists as immigrants from the future. Like immigrants across oceans, they’ve brought their culture and skills with them, and they’ve set about to apply them in a new environment.

    I’ve known a few people who had the good fortune to grow up as atheists. To me they seem almost like characters from some advanced civilization out of science fiction.

  • Gibbon

    Dan,

    I wasn’t suggesting that they were Christians. My point was that it is presumptuous to claim that they would be secular humanists, especially since that is an ideology developed by humans. No one can honestly say that any such advanced alien civilisation would at all agree with any human ideology. It would be more likely that they would have their own ideologies and philosophies, which like the civilisation it self would be completely foreign to humans.

    Now, as for your second question. Of course it is presumptuous and arrogant for Christians to say their beliefs and the “right” or “true” ones. Don’t mistake my criticism of atheists for a defense of Christian beliefs or any other beliefs. I’m an equal-opportunity critic of all beliefs, including my own. If it is presumptuous and arrogant for one person or demographic to proclaim that their beliefs are right, then the same holds for every other individual and demographic.

    On your third point, I would simply point out that every person, including atheists and rationalists, are coming from their own individual positions, and not from objectivity. No matter how much each and every person may try and couch their beliefs in rationale and evidence, their own personal experience and feelings will still have an unavoidable influence on their beliefs and convictions. True objectivity is both a difficult thing to achieve, and incredibly rare.

  • Dan

    Gibbon,

    I think you are reading way to much into a simple comic. You may as well complain that the alien speaks English. The alien is an artistic device for the artist to make his point: from a ‘higher’ intelligence’s point of view it would seem likely that human leaders should be rational, not superstitious. The cartoon wasn’t supposed to be a deep philosophical exploration of the nature of alien beings. Also, nowhere in the comic does it say that the alien is a secular humanist, just that he thinks it sounds rational that humans leaders would use reason over superstition.

    You have really painted yourself into the corner with your postmodernist-esque responses to points 2 and 3. If it is your belief that all beliefs are presumptuous and arrogant, than that means that you also have to describe your own statement that way. Do you think it is presumptuous and arrogant to believe that all beliefs are presumptuous and arrogant?

    Yes, true objectivity is difficult, but that doesn’t mean that all beliefs are arrogant. Rationality and evidence are the best way to escape from subjectivity, so it isn’t arrogant and presumptuous to conform beliefs to the best available evidence.

  • Gibbon

    Dan,

    The alien is an artistic device for the artist to make his point: from a ‘higher’ intelligence’s point of view it would seem likely that human leaders should be rational, not superstitious.

    But that’s my point. No one can say with any certainty, even the tiniest amount, that an alien civilisation, let alone one capable of interstellar travel would regard secular humanism as being any more rational than Christianity or Buddhist mysticism. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that they would, due to the fact that we don’t know of even a single advanced/intelligent species aside from ourselves.

    If it is your belief that all beliefs are presumptuous and arrogant, than that means that you also have to describe your own statement that way. Do you think it is presumptuous and arrogant to believe that all beliefs are presumptuous and arrogant?

    You’re mistaken. I’m not saying that beliefs are presumptuous and arrogant, I’m saying that to believe one’s own beliefs and more rational, or true, or more right, is presumptuousness and arrogant. It is the attitude which I am criticising, and in this instance with this comic I believe that attitude, believing that you’re more right or more rational, is hubristic.

  • Dan

    Gibbon,

    Again, you are reading way to much into a cartoon. It would be just as logical to castigate the artist because he assumes that aliens speak English. Which do you think is more plausible, that an alien species that had mastered science and traversed galaxies would value science over superstition, or that they would value superstition over science? That’s the point of the cartoon.

    Your second point is self-refuting. It’s like when a postmodernist says that no statement is objectively true, to which the classic retort is “is it objectively true that no statement is objectively true?” In the same way saying you believe that beliefs are arrogant and presumptuous is to say that your own beliefs are arrogant and presumptuous. Also, by definition a person thinks their belief is true. Can you give an example of someone who believes something who doesn’t think that belief is rational or true? If not than your statement that not all beliefs are arrogant, just beliefs that someone thinks is true, is illogical.

    Of course some beliefs are more rational than others. Here’s a concrete example: I know the Holocaust happened, a few anti-Semites say it didn’t. According to you my position is hubristic since I think my position is more rational and true. Is one of those beliefs objectively more right or more rational that the others? Unless you are an extreme postmodernist you will admit that one of those beliefs is more rational, and in doing so have undermined your own position that to belief something is true or rational is “presumptuous and arrogant.”

  • Brian Macker

    “I’m not saying that beliefs are presumptuous and arrogant, I’m saying that to believe one’s own beliefs and [are?] more rational, or true, or more right, is presumptuousness and arrogant.”

    This is nonsense. It asserts a fact which it asks the listener to believe is true. If I believed it then I would believe you to be presumptuous and arrogant to claim it rationally. Are you asking me to believe your sentence on mere faith?

    Your thought processes are silly to say the least. There are plenty of beliefs I reject as less rational for perfectly good reasons and it has nothing to do with being presumptuous or arrogant. Usually it has to do with them being irrational.

    Your claim amounts to saying that rationality boils down to presumptuousness or arrogance. Nonsense.

  • Brian Macker

    Gibbon,

    You know what I wish. I wish people would reply, “Oh, yeah, you’re right” when a guy like Dan corrects them.

  • Potatoe

    hahahahahaha


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