Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Next, They’ll Be Hunting Witches in Nova Scotia!

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on February 5, 2009

Reader Pascal Poirier tells us:

I am sure you are aware of the bus ads in London, UK.  In case you were not aware, we had recent developments in Halifax, NS, Canada, with the attempt by Humanist Canada to put the toned-down slogan “You can be good without God” on our buses.  It appears that this true statement was too controversial for the transit authorities.

This campaign was undoubtedly inspired by the currently successful bus-ad campaign in London, England, encouraged and supported by Richard Dawkins. Signs stating “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” are seen all over that city, though Dawkins had reservations about including the word, “probably” in the text…

Yes, the Metro Transit agency in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will not allow the “You can be good without God” advertisement to appear on its buses. The agency’s very proper spokesperson said:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

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Skepdude’s atheist bus banner

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 4, 2009

The Atheist Blogger has inspired me to create my own atheist bus slogan. Here goes!

bus1

It says:

Bad news is there’s probably no God

Good news is there’s probably no Devil either.

You like it?

Christians complain atheism does not meet advertising standards

Posted in Rationally Speaking by Skepdude on January 12, 2009

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “RATIONALLY SPEAKING”

No, this isn’t a headline from the Onion, it’s the latest turn in the “atheist buses” controversy in England. As you probably know, the British Humanist Association has endorsed an idea by comedian Ariane Sherine, who was annoyed by Christian advertisements on British public transport that threatened eternal damnation. Sherine thought it would be nice to give people a bit of metaphysical relief by writing on buses and subways that “There probably is no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

To Sherine’s utter surprise, her campaign quickly raised £140,000, which has made it possible to run the advertisement on 800 buses across England. Not at all unexpectedly, this has generated an angry response by some religionists, despite the fact that church attendance in that country is one of the lowest in the world. And here is the kicker: Christian campaigner Stephen Green and others have actually filed formal complaints with the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on the ground that the atheists are violating “guidelines on taste and decency.” According to Green “If you’re going to put out what appears to be a factual statement then you have to be able to back it up. They’ve got to substantiate this proposition that in all probability, God doesn’t exist.”

Oh really? Talk about a spectacular example of the pot calling the kettle black! Let me get this straight: a statement that supernatural entities probably do not exist is, in Green’s and his loony friends’ mind, less obviously substantiated than a statement that there is such a thing as everlasting punishment in hell? To put it another, perfectly parallel, way: claiming that Santa Clause (probably) doesn’t exist would also be less “tasteful, decent, and factual” than to claim that he really does deliver presents to the world’s (Christian) children every 24th of December. If you think I’m joking, you should read the excellent “Santa Lives! Five Conclusive Arguments for the Existence of Santa Claus” by Ellis Weiner (the arguments are: ontological, causal, from design, experiential, and moral — sounds familiar?).

Now this hilarious insanity has put the ASA in the rather awkward position of having to rule on a long standing metaphysical dispute. If the agency lets the atheist campaign go on, it will implicitly be saying to the British public that it is in fact reasonable to state that god probably doesn’t exist; if, on the other hand, Sherine’s and the British humanists are found to be at fault, the ASA would in effect taking the position that there is sufficient evidence for the existence of hell, so that Christian groups are not violating its advertising standards. Philosophers and theologians the world over will surely be following this one with utmost interest!

By the way, I have to note that the only atheist who has (partially) objected to the campaign is our good old lovable curmudgeon, Richard Dawkins. He doesn’t like the word “probably” in the ad. This is because Dawkins, as I have pointed out before, insists on maintaining the indefensible position that science can disprove the existence of (all) gods, though he is a bit wishy washy about this even in his “The God Delusion”, where he says both that he is not absolutely certain of god’s nonexistence and that science can disprove such a ridiculous notion anyway. The reality is that science cannot disprove the supernatural, but that a philosophical argument informed by sound science can, in fact, reduce the likelihood of the supernatural to the very, very improbable indeed. That’s why Sherine and the British Humanist Association got it exactly right in the wording of their campaign. So now go on and enjoy your day without fear, there (probably) is no hell.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “RATIONALLY SPEAKING”

War on Christmas Over, Christians Victorious

Posted in Atheist Revolution by Skepdude on December 23, 2008

Now that Washington State has approved the addition of a Festivus pole to the holiday display at the state capitol, I think we can properly hang a “Mission Accomplished” banner on our metaphorical air craft carriers. Yes, combat operations have ended in the so-called “Christmas wars.” Of course, atheists can only join the celebration as observers since we were never actually involved in the conflict. In fact, it turns out that the only combatant in this bitter dispute, a handful of dimwitted Christians, have finally achieved victory over themselves. They have made a thorough mockery of the very holiday they were allegedly defending from imagined threats.

At first, nobody objected to the “holiday tree” erected in the Washington State Capitol. However, a handful of thin-skinned Christians soon decided that using the more inclusive term “holiday” was a blow to their preferred religion. They requested the addition of a nativity scene, and with the help of a lawsuit filed last year by the Alliance Defense Fund, their request was granted this year.

The thing is, Washington State recognized that the only legal way to permit a nativity display in a public building would be to permit all other groups to add their own displays. So, in getting their nativity scene, the Christians opened the door to virtually any other sort of display. Washington State deserves credit for understanding the implications of the Establishment Clause.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “ATHEIST REVOLUTION”