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'No God' campaign draws complaint

 
 
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 02:39 pm
Quote:
Thursday, 8 January 2009
'No God' campaign draws complaint

An atheist campaign claiming "There's probably no God" has been reported to the advertising regulator.


Posters with the slogan appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the London Underground.

But organisation Christian Voice has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority saying they break rules on substantiation and truthfulness.

The British Humanist Association, which backed the campaign, said it was not taking the complaint seriously.

The ASA's code states "marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims". The regulator said it would assess the complaint and decide whether to contact the advertiser.

'Peals of laughter'

The adverts contain the slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

But Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: "There is plenty of evidence for God, from people's personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world.

"But there is scant evidence on the other side, so I think the advertisers are really going to struggle to show their claim is not an exaggeration or inaccurate, as the ASA code puts it."

The campaign was dreamed up by comedy writer Ariane Sherine and was supported by scientist and vocal atheist Richard Dawkins.

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: "I've sought advice from some of our key people here, but I'm afraid all I've got out of them so far is peals of laughter.

"I am sure that Stephen Green really does think there is a great deal of evidence for a God (though presumably only the one that he believes in), but I pity the ASA if they are going to be expected to rule on the probability of God's existence."

Source


Guardian video about the campaign


 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 02:57 pm
It was in the Times either yesterday or today and I read where it said that Christian groups reacted positively saying that they thought the campaign would get people thinking about God.
Or maybe that was yesterday and then today they decided to complain - I'll see if I can find the quote.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 03:45 pm
@aidan,
Yesterday.

But the above mentioned group is a "special", I think, more the American-style 'Christians'.
aidan
 
  0  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 04:10 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Yeah - that's it-thank you.

So do you mean, American style Presbyterians, or American style Methodists or baptists or seventh day adventists or church of christ or mormons or unitarian/universalists or pentacostals or catholics or episcopalians or nondenominationals or jehovah's witnesses or greek orthodox or lutherans, etc., etc..... to which specific 'american-style christians' do you refer?
My point is, there are at least as many 'American-style Christians' as there are languages and dialects and regional accents in all of Europe.

Aren't you a social worker or sociologist or something?
I'm surprised to find you generalizing.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 04:16 pm
What amuses me no end is that atheists feel a need to proselytize. Laughing Laughing
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 04:45 pm
The Morons . . . that's the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, no? Or all they all Morons?
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 04:55 pm
Well…the fact they did not put signs saying, “There is no god” is certainly improvement on the part of the atheists. That certainly does away with any pesky questions asking for substantiation of the assertion that there is no god. But the fact that they put signs saying, “There probably is no God” raises a different pesky question:

What is the probability that there is or is not a god…and how was that probability derived?
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 06:58 pm
@Frank Apisa,
I actually disagree that putting up the sign raises that question. If it said, "there's probably no flying spaghetti monster", or, "there's probably no tooth fairy", would you ask the initiators the same question about these? If not, what's so different about asking it about god?
Mr Stillwater
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 12:09 am
I wanted to put up some signs with "ON DOG", but I was afraid of the backlash from the Church of Dyslexia.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 01:08 am
@aidan,
Yes, I've a degree in social work, too.

And yes, perhaps I'm really generalising.

Might be that was just because we don't find such groups here so often.
Sorry.


To rephrase it: a "fundamentalist Christian lobby group".
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 05:24 pm
Just heard on NPR news that these same messages are now being posted on buses in Spain. The reaction has been mixed.
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
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Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 06:00 pm
The argument is that there is no 'truthfulness' in the message. Somehow telling someone something requires that it must also really take place or be proveable or it is a false message.

So, how much Coca-Cola (TM) have you all people consumed? How much extra measurable 'life' did it add?

Thus, if Christian Voice can find three girls who actually got a pony after praying for it - I might concede their point.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 06:30 pm
@Thomas,
Quote:
I actually disagree that putting up the sign raises that question. If it said, "there's probably no flying spaghetti monster", or, "there's probably no tooth fairy", would you ask the initiators the same question about these? If not, what's so different about asking it about god?


Well, Thomas, it's a free country and you can certainly disagree. But the fact is, the question is raised"and it is both valid and logical to do so.

The sign says: “"There's probably no God"”

The question is: “What is the probability that there is or is not a god…and how was that probability derived?”

Your other comments really do not go to whether or not this question is valid.

The question IS valid.

The statements: “There is a God” or “There are no gods”…are actually comments on what the Reality of Existence is. They are either are inclusionary or exclusionary BLIND GUESSES about the Reality.

For whatever reasons, atheists seem to think that arguments about Flying Spaghetti Monsters are extremely incisive arguments to lay on agnostics. They are not!

Flying Spaghetti Monsters ARE fictional creatures made up for a variety of purposes"one of which has become to allow atheists to mock the superior stance of agnostics. We even know who made the silly beast up, Bobby Henderson. Anyone asserting that Flying Spaghetti Monsters “probably” don’t exist is an idiot. They don’t. We know that.

Whether or not there are gods involved in the Reality of existence is still up for debate. We do not know if the Reality is that there are gods…or if there are no gods involved.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 07:58 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
Whether or not there are gods involved in the Reality of existence is still up for debate. We do not know if the Reality is that there are gods…or if there are no gods involved.

Sure -- but from the fact that we don't know, it doesn't follow that the existence and non-existence of god are equally likely either. That's a point that the flying spaghetti monster helps making. But forget about it and its noodly appendage if you don't like it. How about witches, fairies, and unicorns? Do you consider their existence up for debate, too?
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 08:33 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Quote:
Sure -- but from the fact that we don't know, it doesn't follow that the existence and non-existence of god are equally likely either.


Okay. So tell me what the probability of either is…and then tell me the basis for arriving at that probability.

And in the absence of that…tell me the basis for the asssertion, if you are making it, that the probability of one is greater than the other.


Quote:

That's a point that the flying spaghetti monster helps making.


The FSM doesn’t help in that regard whatsoever, Thomas. The only thing the FSM does is to give atheists something to use to mock other people.


Quote:

But forget about it and its noodly appendage if you don't like it. How about witches, fairies, and unicorns? Do you consider their existence up for debate, too?


I have no idea if witches, fairies, and/or unicorns exist or have ever existed. I suspect on planet Earth, those things are all fictional literary devices…in fact, on those things, I would be willing to bet they are nothing but fictional literary devices.

Whether they exist elsewhere…on other worlds, in other dimensions….I have no bet.

But when it comes to the question of how “all of this came to be” (existence)…I have absolutely no bets to make. Not sure why that is so difficult for you to grasp…or why you would want to be anywhere else on the issue….but that is your problem, Thomas, not mine.

If you want to discuss it, let’s go. In fact, let me start.

I have absolutely no idea if there are gods involved in the Reality of existence; I have absolutely no idea if there are no gods involved in the Reality of existence; and neither seems absurd to contemplate as a possible ingredient in Reality.

There is nothing in the evidence available to me that indicates it is impossible for there to be gods or that a god is absolutely necessary to explain Reality as we know it.

And finally, there is not enough unambiguous evidence upon which I can honestly base a meaningful guess in either direction.

Okay…you go!
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 10:32 am
On the topic of the thread, i would just like to observe that people who call themselves atheists, and who then campaign for their beliefs (or lack thereof) are fooling themselves, but are not likely to be fooling very many others. I, personally, was lead from a disgust with organized religion to agnosticism and then to atheism. I am just as disgusted by organized atheism as i am by organized theism. Either one assumes that people need to be lead, that it is better that they are lead than that they make up their own minds, and either one assumes that it exclusively understands the truth and has some sort of right or even duty to impose that "truth" on the public at large.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 11:40 am
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
I have no idea if witches, fairies, and/or unicorns exist or have ever existed. I suspect on planet Earth, those things are all fictional literary devices…in fact, on those things, I would be willing to bet they are nothing but fictional literary devices.

Fair enough, we're in agreement then. We are just speaking different versions of English, and your beef is really with the way I use of the word "atheism". So fine -- put me down as an agnostic who would bet on the existence of god at similar odds as you would bet on the existence of pixies. According to Webster, this level of (dis)belief is covered by both the definitions of "atheism" and "agnosticism".

Are you happy now, you dirty a-monsterist?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 11:45 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
I am just as disgusted by organized atheism as i am by organized theism. Either one assumes that people need to be lead, that it is better that they are lead than that they make up their own minds

I don't see how you get there from the advertisement that is the subject of this thread. When Ford advertises for its cars, that doesn't signal an attitude that drivers have to be led, and doesn't take away from consumers' choice between Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Advertisements for atheism (or Christianity) suppress your freedom by exactly the same amount: not at all.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 12:06 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
And in the absence of that…tell me the basis for the asssertion, if you are making it, that the probability of one is greater than the other.

1) Experience with stories: In my experience, stories almost always turn out to be false if they are impossible to fact-check, or if they sound good enough for people to believe them and re-tell them just because they're good stories. The stories religions tell about their gods meet both conditions easily.

2) Experience with complexity: Complex entities don't just happen. Consequently, they are unlikely to exist unless we have good evidence that they do. Any entity would have to be extremely complex to create universes, decree the laws of physics in them, populate them with life, care about everyone's sex lives, register every sin, and forgive some of them. So the standard of evidence is very high there, and the evidence we have for the gods asserted so far doesn't meet it.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 12:39 pm
@Thomas,
I asked Thomas for the basis of his asssertion, if he was making it, , that the probability of “there is no god” is greater than “there is a god.”


Thomas replied:


Quote:
1) Experience with stories: In my experience, stories almost always turn out to be false if they are impossible to fact-check, or if they sound good enough for people to believe them and re-tell them just because they're good stories. The stories religions tell about their gods meet both conditions easily.


Okay, so stories religious people tell about their gods definitely are part of the stories you say are most often false. How does that impact on the probablility of whether or not there are gods? If every one of them (the stories religious people tell about their gods) were verifiably false…how would that impact on the probability of whether or not there are gods?

Consider this before responding: If every story every science fiction writer has ever told or written about sentient beings on other planets in this universe were false (which they are since they are all fiction!)"how would that impact on the probability of sentient life of some kind on any planet circling the nearest 15 stars to our solar system?

And since you are a friend, lemme give you a hint for the answer to all those questions: It doesn’t impact one goddam iota!


You also wrote:
Quote:
2) Experience with complexity: Complex entities don't just happen. Consequently, they are unlikely to exist unless we have good evidence that they do. Any entity would have to be extremely complex to create universes, decree the laws of physics in them, populate them with life, care about everyone's sex lives, register every sin, and forgive some of them. So the standard of evidence is very high there, and the evidence we have for the gods asserted so far doesn't meet it.


Thomas, existence itself is complex…very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, complex.

It is possible that it just happened…but the step from “it just happened” to “gods exists and have always existed and they made this universe and everything in it to entertain themselves” is a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny little step.

To suggest that something as complex as “existence” exists…and then to posit something like a god as being too complex is absurd.

(And the stuff that incorporates human ideas of what a god is like “sex lives, sins, and all that crap” is unwarranted in this discussion.)

The evidence for asserting that gods do not exist is just as high as the evidence you are supposing must exist for asserting there is a GOD.

The evidence for asserting it is more likely that no gods exist than that gods exist…is huge.

You still have not met that burden.
 

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