154: Beliefs

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 22:07, 18 November 2013 by Greyson (talk | contribs) (Explanation: I improved the composition and added something about the fossils and the Flood. Also, please help me with the footnotes.)
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Scientists are also sexy, let's not forget that.
Title text: Scientists are also sexy, let's not forget that.


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This comic is a reference to Young Earth Creationism, which includes the belief that the earth has only existed for about 6,000 years. Young Earth Creationism is mainly based on literal interpretations of the Bible, which is frowned upon by most Bible scholars, to say nothing of empirical scientists.

The professor is originally not bothered by the fact that someone believes in Young Earth Creationism, since the person believing it is, to her, a nut who can be easily forgotten because the nut is denying obvious truths. However, she then hears that the nut is actually a US senator. Someone with considerable influence (like a Senator) can spread their false, zany beliefs and perhaps even be taken seriously due to their authority, which means that a senator believes in Young Earth Creationism would be therefore unsettling.

The comment on the fossils refers to how fossils of living beings of the deep sea appear on top of mountains. In the Bible, there is a story of a flood that drowned the entire Earth because mankind in general became too evil. Fortunately, God found that Noah was the only one in Earth who was not evil and, in fact, actually followed God. This resulted in God commanding Noah to build an ark (a type of boat that would not sail anywhere, but would stay steady during rough waters) that would accommodate Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives, two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal. (A "clean" animal is fit to eat under Jewish tradition.) After a very long rain†, another year in which the waters evaporated, and a couple of times where Noah checked if there was any dry land, Noah repopulated the Earth.‡ According to Young Earth Creationists, this flood is the reason why sealife has fossils on top of mountains: the Earth essentially became one big ocean to where sea animals can swim anywhere, even the then-underwater mountains.


† = The Bible says that the rain lasted "forty days and forty nights". However, ["forty days and forty nights" is a mere expression that means "a very long time"].

‡ = The entire story can be [read here] from Chapter 6 to 9.


[Megan and a professor stand together, with another figure in the distance.]
Megan: Professor, that man claims the earth is 6,000 years old!
Professor: So? Just use your head and don't concern yourself overmuch with what other people think.
Megan: But he says the fossils in the mountains were put there in a flood!
Professor: Well, evidence suggests that they were not.
Megan: But he--
[A mountain landscape.]
Professor: A million people can call the mountains a fiction, yet it need not trouble you as you stand atop them.
[Megan and professor again.]
Megan: But he believes the silliest things!
Professor: So?
Professor: The universe doesn't care what you believe. The wonderful thing about science is that it doesn't ask for your faith, it just asks for your eyes.
Megan: But he's a US Senator!
Professor: Ah, then yes, we do have a bit of a situation.

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Doesn't the girl have too long hair to be Megan? The official transcript just calls them 'girl' and 'professor'. –St.nerol (talk) 17:43, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Actually she looks more like Danish to me. -- BruceJohnJennerLawso (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
They're just generic humans, stop trying to say "her hair is wrong for [character]". It's really dumb. -Pennpenn 04:27, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
The girls is definately not Danish. Danish has some special personality traits (being mean and clever and not caring a thing about other). The hair is just a small thing. Also children are neither Megan nor Cueball as these are adults. I have removed reference to Danish. Actually it is the professor that looks like Megan! --Kynde (talk) 11:01, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Randall definitely uses a specific cast of characters, each of which repeat characteristic behaviors & are recognizable primarily by consistent depiction of individual hairstyles. I encourage everyone to continue attempting to identify & thereby more fully understand each character, based upon their relative hairstyles & attitudes. (... "~ how are they connected? Hairstyles & attitudes, how do they relate? How well do we use our freedom to choose, the illusions we create?" - Timbuk 3) 18:39, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Actually, my question is whether the girl on the left is Science Girl. Hdjensofjfnen (talk) 19:53, 25 September 2018 (UTC)

Almost has to be Science Girl, or a prototype of her at least. Nitpicking (talk) 19:58, 17 August 2021 (UTC)

What needs to be pointed out more is that science is a system of working toward finding the truth, that requires its adherents to remember that they never actually know for certain. A lot of modern "scientists" follow the same bad methodology as adherents of the geocentric model and astrology once did. Cosmology and quantum mechanics are full of epicycles, deferents, positivism, and static projection. Einstein and Schrodinger were correct to be horrified by that. —Kazvorpal (talk) 14:31, 29 September 2019 (UTC)