Ironic Ignorance: B.C. Cartoonist Gets Laughs, All Right!

© 2006 Tim Simmons

Most people know that a light year is not a measurement of time but a measurement of distance. It is the distance light would travel if it was allowed to travel unabated for a year. Even grade school children learn these types of things by the sixth grade but apparently science wasn’t one of Johnny Hart’s favorite subjects in school.

In a recent cartoon, he exposes his complete ignorance (and apparent disdain) for science by having a flower pop up from the ground and ask a rock, “Hi! How many light-years old are you?” Then he goes on to belittle the scientific community and its desire to explore the universe in which we find ourselves.

Much like any other Christian writer, he writes things so as to misrepresent the “opponent’s” stance and thereby attacks merely a strawman. He has a preacher in the cartoon ask a doctor why scientists are always looking for life elsewhere in the universe. Then, in classic Christian fashion, he puts words in the scientist’s mouth that completely misrepresents the issue. The doctor says, “It’s a big universe, I fear we could be alone in it.”

Well, that certainly explains why scientists explore their surroundings! They are afraid! It has nothing to do with the desire to learn more about one’s surroundings. It has nothing at all to do with learning and discovering truth. Hart goes on to preach and offers the scenario of discovering alien life forms who may not be as friendly and loving as humans – as if that is reason enough to not look for life elsewhere. Let sleeping aliens lie, in other words. That sounds a lot like the fear tactics of old where an eternal torment of fire was the motivation for not disbelieving in God.

Then the good preacher says, “It’s showtime, doc. Let’s finish this inside.” Off they walk toward the church to hear a sermon entitled “God is love.”

But don’t you love the juicy irony? In a cartoon strip intended to attack science and evolution, Hart doesn’t even know what a light-year is! Furthermore, he apparently doesn’t care enough to make sure he doesn’t slip up. He could have looked in any dictionary or encyclopedia and caught his error before it went to press. But then, he’d be acting too much like the scientists at whom he flings his arrogance and ignorance.


Anonymous said...

from :

"...years ago he barely passed high school and went no further in his formal education. Says Hart: "I have always been stupid … I don't have a good memory, so when I read anything, whenever I get to a word I don't know, I stop and look it up. I've looked up every word in the dictionary almost twenty times."

His lack of eloquence continually discouraged him. Even when his career was skyrocketing, he would sit down to read "just a normal book," he says, "and in one paragraph I'd have to look up five words. And I'd think, man, will I ever have a vocabulary?"

Anonymous said...

Hey! This is nothing to do with this post but, a friend of mine recently confronted someone about anit-gay remarks and a christian woman with them starting going off about how the bible says that homosexuality is wrong. My friend is bi- and her roommate/best friend is gay and she got really upset. I said I could get her some quotes from the bible about how got ordered babies smashed on rocks, pregnant women ran through, virgins raped, and innocent people killed but, I haven't tried to read the bible in over 15 years and couldn't get past all of the begetting without falling asleep. Could anyone of you guys supply me with the quotes or point me to a web site that would have them? Thanks, madamehel

myqel said...

Anonymous said...

The problem with fundies like Hart
is that they approach everything from personal experiance.Throw in ignorance,bigotry,and of course
arrogance and they lower themselves to a "gradeschool"level.
Then again,... their just fulfilling the bible verses,..."a child shall lead them,"&.. He who comes to me must be like a child etc...............many more!
In churchianity being childlike is an asset,..but not in the
scientific world!

freeman said...

"Hart goes on to preach and offers the scenario of discovering alien life forms who may not be as friendly and loving as humans –"

Would these alien life forms also be children of god? After all god created it all (good and bad) as it is in a mere 6,000 years!

Logic always fails when religion is involved!

Anonymous said...

The problem with Christian theologians and preachers is that they are all first rate liars. To deliberatly mislead people should be a criminal offence. They speak of a God and Jesus as being real when they themselves have no reliably documented evidence. To answer a question from one of the comments where Christians are always sprouting about homosexuals being an abomination to the supposed biblical God. Then eating prawns, crayfish, oysters, fish without scales etc are also an abomination before the very same God. So is remarriage in many instances as this is also adultery according to biblical writings. Christians have no understanding of their own bloody bibles. Christian are hypocrites on a grand scale.

Anonymous said...

Why all the hubub over a silly cartoon? I know, maybe we ex-c's can rush into the office of the newspaper and start breaking stuff. He's not trying to wipe us off the planet chill out.

Anonymous said...

What a complete and utter jackass. This is what happens when the ignorant try to make a mockery of science. How ironic that this guy does a "caveman" cartoon.

PS: I'll "chill out" when Biblegod, and/or that bastard son of his, make their existance known in an objective way to ALL of mankind. Mean while, we should all fight ignorance.....tooth, and nail. Get on, or get off.

Anonymous said...

To D: Why is it so wrong for us to point out these things? Writing an article about an ignorant Christian who is now allowed to simply preach Christianity in his "comic" strip is a far cry from burning down an embassy because we felt offended by a cartoon.

I'm never offended because how can truth be offended if it's truth? How can Hart poke fun at what is true and offend anyone? If I know it's true, he can attack it all day and sling mud for all I care but I won't burn his house down. I'll just humiliate him with the very intelligence he apparently abhors.

The difference is much like a three-year-old vs. an adult. Who will throw the tantrum and whine and break things and who will simply use their intelligence to solve the problem at hand?

Same thing with Muslims. They are so brainwashed that a critical cartoon of DUHammed inspired the animals to act like.. animals. Sad.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mr.D,don't you read the classics?

"the pen is mighty,..the sword just gets you arrested".....Do you think we're that stupid?

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you brought this crap up because I always read the sunday comics and Hart is really starting to piss me off. What the &*( is he talking about? He doesn't even know. I thought comics were supposed to be funny. How is that funny? If he wants to get all philosophical he can go write a friggin' book. Although I am sure it wouldn't make much sense either.

Anonymous said...

Tim, you didn't make the case for why we should think he is making a mockery of science. It's a differing opinion sure. I will also agree that it is an ignorant portrayal of what science community tries to accomplish. The problem is that there is no malice in this cartoon. Is this cartoon the only reason you wrote this? Had Hart done anything as extreme as, say, Jack Chick I would be offended. But this is an old Christian who by his own description leads me to think he may be borderline mentally retarded.

I apologize for going overboard with my last entry, but this is America, and people are allowed their beliefs. Hart seems to be no threat, and you scolding him for his comic is a waste of energy. Does he really intend to attack science and evolution as you say, or is this just a doodle spawned from a brain fart?

Boom, if you want to fight ignorance start with yourself. I simply don't believe in God. Most atheists and agnostics don't care to convert others who believe in their fairy tales. Really who cares about a comic or a harmless belief held by another person. Hart is not spreading the word anymore than he is stating an opinion.

Anonymous said...

In the United States, we afforded the opportunity to learn everything under the sun. If we want to find the answer, no one should stop us. But collectively, we are dirt-stupid.

I have an ordinary intelligence and all I know is that I will never know enough. I will never understand physics, as does Stephen Hawkings; I’ll never understand genetics, as does Richard Dawkins; and I’ll never understand philosophy as does Massimo Pigliucci. But I appreciate everything that their fields of study bring to us.

For whatever fighting for the freedom religion there has ever been, it is nothing to the fight for the freedom FROM religion.

Ignorance is unpalatable. Johnny Hart is unpalatable. Promoting ignorance to the masses is unpalatable. We are stupid enough.

Anonymous said...

Listen the technology to harness electricty and fuels have always been within a persons grasp, but the peoples minds where clouded with beliefs and religions and superstitions and drugs, and these jackasses wrote the bible, people thought that the world was flat, and all along it was not. We as a people cannot move forward with peace on this planet, because so many people's minds are fogged with their silly selfish beliefs.

These beliefs are handed down by the idiots that thought that the world was flat, and we still insist in believing in what these stupid jerks wrote down over 2000 years ago?

Anonymous said...

"Hart is not spreading the word anymore than he is stating an opinion."

He only does it to spread the word.
He has said as much.

What I don't like is something as simple as turning to the comics for a laugh becomes an irksome sufferance for morally superior ignorance being thrust upon us, instead of plain laughs.

I like B.C. and Wizard of Id, but it's less laugh worthy than it could be. Hart would be better off learning his place.

I wonder if he'll end up changing the name of his other strip to Wizard of I.D. ?

Anonymous said...

Why does a flippin cartoon get so many alleged intellectual, mature, people in hissy fit. Good grief, get over it a write about something that matters. Its a freakin comic strip! This site claims to encourage ex-christians, but the main page is filled with nothing but stupid jail sentences, like no one but Christian pastors ever get arrested for things, and stupid rants about some comic strip that doesnt accurately reflect science. As if you guys accurately represent Christianity. Talk about straw men, all of your little articles are straw men! Hey, lets post the worst possible things we can find about Christians and then talk about how bad relegion in general is and how smart we are not to believe in it. You want to encourage ex-christians? Talk about the freakin evidence and stop crying over meaningless straw men.

Anonymous said...

Ah. An Anonymous Troll. How charming.

Anyway, perhaps Hart's stated purpose is to 'spread the word,' I don't know. What I do know is that I have yet to come across anyone who takes comics as seriously as apparently some of my fellow ex-xians do. Isn't this a bit over-the-top?

All I'm saying here is that there are plenty of comics that state a point of view (Doonesbury, et. al.), but you don't often hear anyone quoting a comic strip to support any particular argument. It's meant to be amusing, and is aimed a particular target audience. If you don't like the strip, get a few (hundred) of your friends together and write a nice letter to your editor asking him/her to remove the strip from the paper. It's that simple.

Frankly, the fact that Hart is so ignorant is part of the reason I like B.C.. It gives me chuckles even if I don't agree with the PoV presented.


Anonymous said...

d said:

" didn't make the case for why we should think he's making a mockery of science."

Um, who said he's making a mockery of science?....::checking again::...nope. I'll grant you that he TRIED to make a mockery of science.... however, he failed, and only makes a mockery of his own superstituious belief---and that would include "Creationism". Sorry, but there is no ambiguity there, nor is the portrayal "abstract", I disagree in the possibility that the cartoon could be "a doodle spawned from a brain fart". In my *opinion, he is making a clear statement. I made comments on said statement.....umm, so TF what?

(* You are the one who is pro-opinion, right?)

d then said:

"Boom, if you want to fight ignorance start with yourself. I simply don't believe in God. Most atheists and agnostics don't care to convert others who believe in their fairy tales."

Gee d, I "simply don't believe" in gods either---so I'm not quite sure if I understand the implication that I'm ignorant, and you're not...? Honestly, d---and not to sound crass---but I don't give a sweet rat's ass if I convert anyone who comes to this site, or not. And honestly, I think it's the "drive-bys" who post here who will LEAST likely "change" their religious convictions. Y'see, d, the difference is, my "non-belief" is not a conviction. I simply hold a position of neutrality when it comes to the existance of god(s). I'm SURE you do the same, right buddy?...::wink::

So in conclusion, sure, joe blow can make cartoons, and you can defend joe blow all you want---however, we can shred joe blow to infinitey all WE want. That's the beauty of democracy!

God 'less!

Anonymous said...

In regards to this thread Anonymous Fundy # 7,000,002 wrote:

"Talk about freakin evidence and stop cry over meaningless strawmen."

Since when does "evidence" matter? lol!

Good stuff!...keep it comin'!

Anonymous said...

BC stinks and is sooooo not funny. When I found Hart is an idiot fundie it expained everything.

Anonymous said...


I have seen tons of Hart's comics over the last 3 decades (yeah, that's right) and the problem is that he's not only begun to use his B.C. comic as a lecturn from which to spew... um, preach his views but he has forgotten to make them FUNNY. They are, like the Bible he worships, completely devoid of any humor. Funny! A COMIC w/o HUMOR? How can he keep that up for so long w/o papers yanking him? Christians.

Now, was my "article" a dissertation on the topic or just a five-minute opinion I decided to send to the webmaster? Hart has used his strip to even insult Muslims by drawing an outhouse with a crescent moon and a crescent moon in the sky and the word "SLAM" vertically written (get it? I-SLAM?) and B.C. says from the outhouse, "Does it stink in here or is it just me?"

How is that remotely funny? It is simply Hart trying to be clever, covert and insulting of everyone who disagrees with his beliefs. He succeeded in the above but the one important thing missing in his comic was - humor!

I don't mind comics using symbolism and metaphors to disguise a deeper belief (Non Sequitor does it all the time) but when Wiley does it, it's either funny or not depending on your viewpoint BUT at least he's doing it less frequently and with more tact and he doesn't attack a religous belief by misrepresenting it like Hart does. Therein lies a difference.

My main beef with Hart here was the fact that he had the balls to attack science when he is admittedly ignorant about it all.


Anonymous said...

Q: How many light-years old are you?

A: *mimics crucified position* Diss much...

Anonymous said...

Found the original at [I don't tend to go near this comic in the papers], and, in its entirety, it actually reads more like any anecdote involving a creatard trying to debate someone with any education:

CREATARD: Why are you scientists always looking for life elsewhere in the universe?

SCIENTIST: It's a big universe; I fear we could be alone in it


SCIENTIST: So...there's so much hate [sic] in the world, we sure need help from someone!

CREATARD: Do you love yourself as you love your neighbour?

SCIENTIST: Why, yes. Yes I do!

CREATARD: What if you were to contact other beings who don't?

SCIENTIST: Don't what...?

CREATARD: Whoops....

[Saved by the bell, CREATARD quickly retreats into the sanctuary of a nearby CHURCH to avoid having to answer any questions posed by SCIENTIST]

So, it's not really a total strawman after all....


Anonymous said...

Oh no! Something that atheists don't believe was - gasp - allowed to appear in a newspaper comic strip! Oh the horror! When will this madness end? Why, doesn't he understand how incredibly intelligent that they are to reject a religion that 2 billion people practice? He's so ignorant and intolerant! I hate him!

People, this is America. Like it or not, atheists are a very small minority. You just have to learn to accept things that offend you if you want the freedom to offend Christians. Don't be like the people that insist that "In God we trust" be removed from our currency just because they can't live in the same world with those words. Grow up a little.

Anonymous said...

Joh said: "You just have to learn to accept things that offend you if you want the freedom to offend Christians. Don't be like the people that insist that "In God we trust" be removed from our currency just because they can't live in the same world with those words. Grow up a little."

I completely agree. Don't worry- Christians are offended by a whole lot of stuff that's out there too. Now, I know you guys are going to wet your pants because a Christian is posting on your blog but hear me out. I wouldn't trust what sort of person God or Jesus is by the way the average Christian lives and acts. I would go straight to the source, just as I would if I wanted to find out what Islam is all about, or any other religion. So rather than attacking people, why don't you try and take down what Christians believe in most? That would be much more worthwhile, I think.

Jim Arvo said...

Jon said "...atheists are a very small minority. You just have to learn to accept things that offend you if you want the freedom to offend Christians."

So I, as an atheist, need to *earn* the right to speak my mind? Please explain to me why anybody needs to be silent when they find something offensive.

Jon: "Don't be like the people that insist that 'In God we trust' be removed from our currency just because they can't live in the same world with those words."

Please point to somebody who "cannot live in the same world" with the words "In God we trust". Isn't that a bit of an exaggeration? Why not address the actual issue instead of propping up a huge and ridiculous straw man? In my opinion, it was a mistake to emblazon those words on our currency, but I've got better things to do than vociferously rally for their removal. If it came to a vote, I would vote to remove them, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go. If somebody asked whether I enjoyed cartoons that have an overt religious message, or disparaged science, I'd say "no". I might even explain why I think they are in poor taste in an (ostensibly) secular publication. Do you have an issue with my position?

Jon: "Grow up a little."

Well, Jon, I think you are jousting with windmills. Who, exactly, are you addressing?

Anonymous agreed with Jon, then added "...Now, I know you guys are going to wet your pants because a Christian is posting on your blog..."

Many of us have no problem with ANYBODY who wants to post an opinion here. What I *do* have a problem with is people who make unwarranted snide remarks about others based on nothing other than the fact that they hold different theological beliefs. Now I just know that's going to make you piss all over yourself, right? (Get it?)

Anonymous: "...rather than attacking people, why don't you try and take down what Christians believe in most?"

If someone makes a fantastic claim here, and has neither reasoning nor evidence to back it up, it generally gets unceremoniously picked apart. Is that what you mean by "attacking people"? If not, please explain.

And what do you mean by "take down"? You mean "dismantle" or "make note of"? Either way, it happens here daily. Anyway, if you have something substantive to offer, go right ahead and post it. The webmaster graciously allows diverse opinions to be posted here (in stark contrast with most Christian web sites that I've seen).

Good day.

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