Thursday 8 January 2009

Atheist Bus

I've posted previously here about the Atheist Bus advert but now a campaign has raised enough money to roll these ads out across the UK. You can upload your photos of where you see the ads to the Atheist Bus Campaign website and for those that thought the inclusion of the word 'probably' on the advert was a cop out, here's a reply from the Atheist Bus Campaign website:

Why only ‘probably’ no god?
As with the famous Carlsberg ads (‘probably the best lager in the world’), ‘probably’ helps to ensure that our ads will not breach any advertising codes Committee of Advertising Practice advised the campaign that “the inclusion of the word ‘probably’ makes it less likely to cause offence, and therefore be in breach of the Advertising Code.”
Ariane Sherine has said, ‘There’s another reason I’m keen on the “probably”: it means the slogan is more accurate, as even though there’s no scientific evidence at all for God’s existence, it’s also impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist (or that anything doesn’t). As Richard Dawkins states in The God Delusion, saying “there’s no God” is taking a “faith” position. He writes: “Atheists do not have faith; and reason alone could not propel one to total conviction that anything definitely does not exist”. His choice of words in the book is “almost certainly”; but while this is closer to what most atheists believe, “probably” is shorter and catchier, which is helpful for advertising. I also think the word is more lighthearted, and somehow makes the message more positive.’

1 comment:

Steven Ball said...

"“there’s no God” is taking a “faith” position" - I find Dawkin's position here rather odd as it implicitly starts from the proposition that there is a God. Of course an antitheistic position is in relation to proponents of the existence of God, so it is a position that starts from engagement with an assumption as a faith. But why can't we start from the position of a assumption that there isn't a God (or pagan, Buddhist or certain aboriginal philosophical positions) and expect evidence that there is a God to be produced by those who 'believe' it to be the case. It isn't a question of faith it is a question of actual existence, anything else is delusional. I can deeply and sincerely believe that there's a green elephant living in my wardrobe and but without any material evidence of its existence everyone else would be perfectly justified in seeking professional help for me! Nietzsche said that God died at the end of the Nineteenth Century, by which he largely interpreted as meaning that the conditions and context within which a belief in God was necessary were no longer there having been replaced by social, industrial conditions and the rise of rationalism.

Anyway I propose "There probably is no bus. So go home, take the day off and stop worrying."