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So the Atheist Bus Campaign is going remarkably well. 14 hours after it launched, it's made four times its target - over 20 grand. Bloody hell! The silent majority indeed. The ads will run from January, and presumably lots of other things will happen too.

The BBC website has picked up on it, though a bit oddly - it's all the British Humanist Association's idea now. Maybe they just don't want to give the Guardian free publicity, I dunno. But the quote from the ever-nutty Stephen Green of Christian Voice is the best thing ever:

Bendy-buses, like atheism, are a danger to the public at large.

I should be surprised if a quasi-religious advertising campaign like this did not attract graffiti.

People don't like being preached at. Sometimes it does them good, but they still don't like it.

Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of irony. People don't like being preached at, Stephen? Fancy that.

There's a new column by Ariane on CiF, which has approximately a billion comments already. I'm actually surprised at how big this is gonna be. It's a good thing, although we have to be careful not to go too far, I suppose.

Incidentally, the "probably" is there purely to get past advertising rules. It's "probably" in the Carling sense...


In other news, I've just ordered a dozen jars of Whittard's flavoured coffee from the website, because it's easier than remembering to go into town every month or so. Yummmm. And you still get the discount.

And finally, Belle & Sebastian seem to be the go-to band for lyrics about buses, and about God. Handy.

Comments

( 21 comments — Comment )
sovietkiki
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
For once, I'm agreeing with Dawkins over something. Wow. And it's not like the slogans are offensive - stop worrying and enjoy your life is a message that, to me, could do a lot of good to people. :|

Ahhh, the irony. PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO BE PREACHED AT UNLESS IT'S GOD PREACHING AT THEMMMMM.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
I think I really like the slogan, including the "probably", because it's so polite and sort of...British :D
sovietkiki
Oct. 21st, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
It's...it's...quietly assertive. That's us. :D
dave_t_lurker
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
I should be surprised if a quasi-religious advertising campaign like this did not attract graffiti.

Am I the only one that is reading this as Stephen Green dropping large hints about what he wants to see happen?

pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
He could well be. The full statement, on the CV website, also includes something about how the ads on bendy buses are just the right height for graffiti-ing.

For some reason the thought of a bunch of Christians out in the middle of the night tagging buses amuses me :->
theealex
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
Atheists are a danger are they Mr Green? Yeah, all that rational thinking could put you out of a job, no wonder you don't want to encourage it.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Dawkins said "The adverts will encourage people to think, and thinking is anathema to religion", which I like although I'd limit it to certain types of religion...
bohemiancoast
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
That 'probably' is to get past advertising rules? Because there's a ton of religious advertising out there that seems to be a whole lot less equivocal.

I rather like the "probably", and I really like the emphasis on enjoying life.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, actually, it's not advertising rules as such, just TFL (or the ad company, whose name I've forgotten) being worried about provoking people. Which is shocking.

I do like the "probably", too, and I like that the ad's so inherently inoffensive.
laserboy
Oct. 21st, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
I was originally thinking it could be nastier, but on reflection I do like it's perfectly nice and reasonable. Leave the rabid brimstone crap to the loonies. :-)
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Exactly - and if anyone gets offended by this, they WILL look like loonies, even to people on the centre ground.
pentane
Oct. 21st, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
Funny, I always thought atheism was just as much a belief as any religion.
pickwick
Oct. 21st, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
It's exactly the opposite - it's just the absence of a belief in any gods. It doesn't take any belief, any more than not believing that the Queen is going to pop round unexpectedly for tea tomorrow does.

To lazily steal from Atheist Quotes 101, atheism is as much of a religion as not collecting stamps is a hobby ;)
pentane
Oct. 21st, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
Well, rather than debating atheism 101 just point me to the links.

Not believing is a type as belief as far as I'm concerned, but I'd love to hear the counter arguements.
pickwick
Oct. 22nd, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
I was getting at myself rather than you there, I seem to churn out the same three or four quotes about atheism all the time :->

Is Atheism and Ism? is a decent essay, and this page links to a few more articles that cover the same general area, all from about.com.

It is a belief, I suppose, but at the more "opinion" end of the spectrum of meanings of belief than the "religion" end. I mean, technically I "believe" that there isn't a large pink elephant sitting beside me watching me type this, but I don't know if that's "just as much a belief as any religion".
pentane
Oct. 22nd, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
There's the problem then. To me, belief is belief. I don't see religion as being a special type of belief.
pickwick
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
I make a distinction between "belief in" and "belief that" - the latter is based on evidence, the former on faith. Contrast "I believe in God" with "I believe that the earth revolves around the sun" - you'd never say "I believe in the earth revolving around the sun". And atheism is a negative "belief that", too, which is even less...powerful, I guess.

Would you put your belief that the sun will come up tomorrow, or your non-belief in fairies (or Allah), in the same category as your belief in God? I dunno, they just seem qualitatively different to me.
pentane
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
Belief in or non-belief in God is, to me, a belief ABOUT God. More importantly, it's a belief, in the sense that it's not testable from the scientific method. I mean, I can't think of a way to test if God exists that anyone could perform. Neither can I think of a way to test that God DOESN'T exist that meets the same criteria. I have an opinion, but it's what I believe.

The Earth revolving about the Sun does have implications and is testable. It has, in fact been tested.
pickwick
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
I agree with that, and that's why most atheists make a distinction between a belief that God doesn't exist - which would be an untestable belief - and just not believing that God does exist. Very few atheists would say they were 100% certain that there's no God.

There's a seven-point belief scale, from 1. I know there is a God, to 7. I know there is no God, and most atheists are number 6 - "Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'"
pentane
Oct. 22nd, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Color me confused. Didn't you just contradict your initial thesis that atheism isn't a belief?

What did I misunderstand?
pickwick
Oct. 23rd, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)
I don't think that not believing in something is a belief in the same way that believing in something is, I guess.
( 21 comments — Comment )

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