That’s more like it

While it’s nice to have the Dilbonians* still whimpering and howling in frustration and fury, here’s an even better testimonial to my talents:

PZ, I’m sorry I slighted you. I now have seen the light. You lull your victims into a false sense of security by manifesting as a mild-mannered biology prof, but in reality you are an unspeakably hideous hybrid of Cthulhu and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, living in a shadow lair beyond time and space, called Minnesota. You suck your victims’ brains out through their eye sockets and gorge until sated. You are the very embodiment of evil.

I am well pleased. I shall let him live a little longer, although I may have to sup on his bandwidth a bit more.

*What I’m finding amusing right now is all the Dilbert fans who are showing up in the comments and complaining that I’m obsessed and that I need to stop picking on poor Scott Adams…5 days after I wrote the post. I wonder; do they think the post goes away when they don’t look at it, and I’m busily retyping it over and over again so it’ll be there when they look a second time? Peek-a-boo is cute when played with 2 year olds, but I expect people who know how to use the internet to have mastered the concept of object permanency.


  1. Steve_C says

    I suspect they’ll be coming back for days. It has become comical.

    Evolution has gaps! No one can explain how a caterpillar evolved into a butterfly… hehe.

  2. says

    Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Here you are, a certified Bible scholar, and instead of turning the other cheek, you give the hornet’s nest another poke with a stick. (Yes, that was a little mixed, wasn’t it?) Tsk tsk.

  3. Zbu says

    I’m surprised anybody who thinks Dilbert is funny has enough guts to start slamming religion. I love humor of all sorts but Family Guy was right when they noted that Dilbert is a one note comic: “Oh, look! Authority at work is full of dumbasses who care more about the size of their balls than anything else. WOW!”

    It’s charming once. But just because it’s a comic strip that’s printed everywhere does not make it any funnier. It sucks harder than Garfield.

  4. says

    I remember reading somewhere out there on the Blagnet about a trick for making Garfield funny again. You erase all of Garfield’s thought balloons. I wonder if a similar trick would work for Dilbert. Or, maybe we could try a William S. Burroughs cut-up. . . There’s gotta be a way!

  5. James says

    Let me throw in a word for the people who enjoy Dilbert but think Scott Adams is just inane at times. I first found out about his woo side in “The Dilbert Future”, which presented, among other silly things, an “alternative” model of gravity (everything’s swelling, and it’s the force of the swelling pushing against us that we perceive as gravity) that was only saved from ranking as *Neil* Adams goofiness by the fact that it was two paragraphs rather than a thirty-year obsession.

    He actually had a valid, if trivial, point: how do we know that our models are correct, and not some other model that has *exactly the same* predictions? The only problem is that his alternate model didn’t actually have exactly the same predictions…

  6. dzd says

    I wonder if a similar trick would work for Dilbert.

    No one in Dilbert has any facial expressions, which would seem to take out most of the possibility for lulz.

  7. says

    Yes, some people can enjoy Dilbert (I’m not a big fan, but sometimes it is funny) — it’s not as if I wrote some strange rant that called people idiots for laughing at Dogbert. He is, unfortunately, an anti-science kook, and weirdly enough many of his fans don’t seem to realize it.

    Your valid point is, as you admit, trivial. Anyone in this business who has done an experiment, written a paper, or written a grant proposal knows that the key feature is to identify and predict something that will allow you to distinguish between competing hypotheses. Another galling thing about Adams is that he babbles about these basic principles that any first-year grad student preparing for prelims has drilled into them as if a) he has discovered them, and b) he’s being open-minded if he pretends that they’re all wrong. And then, of course, his fans act as if he’s said something profound.

    I say he’s as bad as Neil Adams. The only difference is that Scott Adams puts up this facade of impartiality to protect his ego with deniability.

  8. DrFrank says

    Anyone who can write even a single paragraph about expansionism without being able to think of a hundred reasons why it obviously is incorrect, needs to have all sharp objects taken away from them immediately.

  9. JScarry says

    PZ, I spent a few years in cubicles living with “re-engineering”, “rightsizing”, “Total Quality”, “Six Sigma” and all the other nonsense imposed on us by upper management. Adams did a good job of pointing out the absurdity of these fads. I think people in business still enjoy him because management still insists on implementing the latest fad. When he sticks to what he’s good at he’s still funny, probably more so to his intended audience than you and me.
    When he goes off-topic he comes off a being silly rather than funny. Unlike Chopra and other woo-masters, I doubt that any of his fans take him seriously, so de-bunking his “arguments” is probably unnecessary.

  10. says


    When he goes off-topic he comes off a being silly rather than funny. Unlike Chopra and other woo-masters, I doubt that any of his fans take him seriously, so de-bunking his “arguments” is probably unnecessary.

    Have you checked the Revenge of the Son of Flamewar thread recently? It’s up to 475 comments.

  11. Russell says

    Dilbert has some entertainment value. I vote we sick Cthulu on Bruce Tinsley, who in addition to being a right-wing wacko, isn’t even funny. And it takes a real lack of talent to make a duck not funny.

  12. bmurray says

    Dilbert can be made funny. It’s called “The Dilbert Hole” and has been threatened into submission by lawyers many times, but still exists unofficially out there somewhere. You’ll need to search for yourself of course.

  13. Rey Fox says

    What drove me the most nuts was the pervasive postmodern philosophy of the relativity of knowledge that was spouted by so many of those Dildoids. Some of them wholeheartedly believe that their comic-writing dilletante (nicest word I can muster) is as smart or smarter with regards to the diversity of life on Earth than people who actually study biology. I don’t know what’s sadder, ignorant people who think they know everything, or ignorant people who deny that anyone can know anything (postmodernism for lazy minds).

  14. says

    I still find Dilbert funny. As strange as it may sound, Dilbert seems smarter than the guy who draws him. This may be worthy of investigation, since like evolution, it deals with non-intelligent agents adding up to intelligent behavior.

    I’m thinking of taking tomorrow’s (Sunday) Dilbert strip and using it to make fun of Scott Adams. Naturally, the pointy-haired boss will be channeling Adams.

  15. whitetigersx says

    The funniest part is that people who claim to be intelligent spend all this time insulting those that they think aer beneath them. Sniggering all the way they fail to see that they fall into the same patterns as those that thy insult. This includes sounding as inane and petty as the “idiots, kooks…)
    “A Theory is something that nobody believes except the person who thought of it, an experiment is something that everyone believes except the person who thought of it.”
    A rather intelligent man is credited with that quote, and has also admitted to some large blunders in his theories, which others had to point out lest he sound like a kook.
    Evaluating other ideas, for any glimmer of truth is one of the hallmarks of a mind open to finding new facts and truths.

  16. jpf says

    PZ, I spent a few years in cubicles living with “re-engineering”, “rightsizing”, “Total Quality”, “Six Sigma” and all the other nonsense imposed on us by upper management. Adams did a good job of pointing out the absurdity of these fads.

    Here’s a thought: You’ve heard of “yes men”. Perhaps Adams is just a “no man”. He disagrees for the sake of disagreeing.

    Normally such a person is just as useless as a “yes man” since both their opinions are practically no different than randomness. However, drop a “no man” in an environment rich in absurdity, such as the voodoo world of business management, and he suddenly seems like a genius. Drop him somewhere where people are talking about things that are genuinely non-absurd, though, and your opinion of him will turn, well, disagreeable.

    In this view, Adams is doing a good job only in the sense that a broken clock with its hour-hand stuck at 12 does a good job at noon and midnight.

    (Ironically this “no man” has surrounded himself with “yes men”. He’s become the Six Sigma of cartoonists. But hey, at least he’s not Johnny Hart.)

  17. says

    Can I just crack a bit of mother tongue liguistic whip here? Dilbert is exactly the kind of word that would have been used in a Manchester (old Manchester, England) school playground c. 1974 as a euphemism for an idiot. ‘You dilbert.’

    For a proper cutting insult, say nasally, rising on the ‘you’, falling on the ‘dilbert’; hit the d hard and soften the t . Voicing a normal distribution curve on the ‘you’ alone and adding the ‘dilbert’ as a kind of footnote with a slight rise at the end makes it affectionate. I’ll post an audio clip for any needing Mancinuian insulting 101.

  18. says

    I’m just wondering when he’ll start giving some of his royalties to the Big Bang.
    & the crap they started spouting about ya. Un-freakin’-believable. Talk about unrepresented example.
    I mean, anyone who’s willing to put their headshot on a cartoon dancing elf has to have some kind of sense of humor, no?
    So, now, if I want extra traffic on my blog, all I have to do is take some potshots at a comic strip writer who doesn’t write very well (or reason, for that matter), & watch the hi jinx splatter against the wall? ;)

  19. Pieter B says

    I still find Dilbert amusing, as I work for a Big Science company that is in the painful process of changing from a balls-out startup to a Mature Corporation®. However, a couple of decades ago I read something by Scott Adams in which he said that he didn’t see why it shouldn’t be possible to build a perpetual-motion machine. Consequently, it doesn’t surprise me to hear he backs ID. It’s probably for the best that he now makes his living with a pencil rather than as an engineer for the phone company.