Monday, February 23, 2009

And Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Atheists...


Well, the campaign is far from over. Atheists have presented their petitions to Ottawa to take up advertising space on the sides of buses. So far: no.

"Members of the Free Thought Association of Ottawa were on hand at the committee meeting and urged the committee to allow the advertisements. Afterward, the association vowed to continue the fight to have the ads on city buses.

Julie Breeze, a director with the Ottawa group, said the city has accepted religious advertisements in the past, and that the group is being discriminated against.

“We will continue to fight this,” she said. “There are a lot of people out there that share our views, and we are very disappointed that the motion didn’t pass. We would like to see an open dialogue in this city where differing views are allowed to be presented.”

Strangely, I don't care!

21 comments:

K9-CRAZY said...

Who is funding this advertising?

suneal said...

Just a thought, shouldn't the add read
"There probably isn't a God, now start worrying"

I certainly can't see the correlation without it being as derogatory of "God" as saying atheists are "godless."

Why fight "abuse" with abuse?

sarah said...

Lol, Suneal. I like your campaign slogan better. :)

Interesting is that he wouldn't put up a banner ad that reads:

There probably is an intelligent designer of the universe, but it's probably another civilisation that did it and not just some big guy you call God.

When Dawkins was pressed by Ben Stein (in his documentary called 'Expelled') to account for causation of the beginning of life, Dawkins just posited a regress to another intelligent set of life forms who created the beginning of life on this planet, but made no account for the beginning of their supposed lives.

How funny. He apparently believes in the possibility of extra-terrestrial life capable of at least incidentally creating life, but not God. That's apparently going too far... Creative aliens, well that's possible; God, NO WAY! Wow.

suneal said...

Here is a theory that perhaps has never been postulated. God created aliens and aliens created humans via evolutionary processess with needed extra help when necessary. However, just as a theist evolutionist would say to them it is more miraculous and mind-blowing that God created life as we know it now through evolution, we could now say it is more mind-blowing that God would use aliens He created to help create us via evolutionary processes. Either way, God created everything as the first cause.

I will be the first to disown my theory. But don't plagiarize me!

Also, this whole bus campaign started because someone was terrified of hell in a Christian home as a child.

Now, I ask, what really drives atheism, is it emotional pain or logic?

On the converse, in my Mother's family, two relatives of mine were raised in England with Communist parents who believe there is no God. They were yelled at and verbally abused often. Is it any wonder one of the children is now a minister of the Gospel? Does anyone see where I am going with this?

Craig said...

If they succeeded in arguing that they should be able to place this advertising regardless of its content solely because they are a paying customer with free speech rights, wouldn't that just clear the path for religious groups and people with non-athiest friendly views to advertise also? How Ironic!

Maybe God is working through this campaign

Christopher said...

Tracy,

In the case of the London bus ad campaign, the Oxford biologist, and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, is largely responsible.

As far as it goes in Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa (recently rejected), and the U.S., certain atheist groups have funded the campaigns.

It's really nice to see you on my blogsite, bud. I hope you come by and participate much more. I miss your insightful, practical mind.

God bless you,
Christopher

Christopher said...

Suneal,

You wrote:

"Now, I ask, what really drives atheism, is it emotional pain or logic?"

I don't think it would be wise to take an either/or approach to this question. That is, for some people atheism may just come from emotional pain and what they see as logic. For others, it may be one or the other of what you have suggested. In all cases, however, I think there is a mixture of factors that go beyond a simple distinction between emotions and rationality. For example, popular media (trans: social pressure), or academic ethos (trans: taking on a majority view in order to make the grade), political expedience, or perhaps just a natural disposition toward suspicion and disbelief (extreme skepticism).

Whatever the case may be, the "New Atheists", as they're dubbed (Hitchens, Dennett, Dawkins, Harris, and their ilk), there is a definite sense of moral revulsion toward anything beyond the immediate skeen of the natural world. They would suggest that they are not only logically opposed to the notion of a supernatural deity, but also morally opposed.

It's a tangled web, my friend, when you try to unravel what drives atheism.

Christopher said...

Craig,

"If they succeeded in arguing that they should be able to place this advertising regardless of its content solely because they are a paying customer with free speech rights, wouldn't that just clear the path for religious groups and people with non-athiest friendly views to advertise also? How Ironic!"

You are right: it does clear the path for religious groups to advertise, too. It is entirely a marketting campaign; one with metaphysical concerns, and a definite agenda. If another group wants to ante-up, well, in a democratic culture, money talks.

suneal said...

Thanks Chris for further clarifying what drives atheism. I really raised the question to make it evident this is not necessarily an intellectual question. Since blogs such as these often tend to assume the intellectual bent on things I wanted to raise that point. You obviously understand that "tangled web" much better than I.
With regards the bus slogan, not only is it illogical and derogatory (of God), but it is sold as a "credal" statement. Indeed, there be more that drives the atheistic faith than logic.

sarah said...

Suneal wrote: Indeed, there be more that drives the atheistic faith than logic.


Yes. Like aliens. ;)

Lol- Aaaaaalllll logic and empirical evidence, hey? Nope.

toshido said...

Or you could be a simple atheist like me and simply not believe.

I would not say that is extreme skepticism. To be skeptic you would need some sort of baseline. it would be just as valid for me to claim that theists are extreme skeptics of atheism.

We are talking belief system here, not logic. People have all sorts of beliefs that defy what we consider logical.
Sometimes it is mundane, i.e. theists, atheists. Sometimes a little out there, i.e. being a man trapped in a woman's body or vice versa. Sometimes it is ludicrous, i.e. i have been abducted by aliens and extensivly anally probed.
in any case beliefs are as true to the believer as the strength of their faith in that belief.
Logic has very little room for faith and beliefs, despite what people convince themselves of.

Christopher said...

Toshido,

Welcome back! Been a while since we've had the privilege of your input.

Thank you for your comments. I agree with you that people have all sorts of beliefs that defy logic. I also agree with you that skepticism has to have a baseline somewhere; if it didn't it wouldn't be skepticism, it would unintelligibility.

I think your comment about the baseline of skepticism is an especially insightful one, actually. If it's true that there is a baseline, then that baseline is where theists and atheists make their departure: theists take on (hopefully a rational) faith, and atheists (usually) take on some kind of practical-minded rationalism.

This leaves both people having a certain set of presuppositions that cannot necessarily be worked-out through logic, but definitely share one common characteristic: belief. That is, trust that what they've decided on is the most valuable point of view about reality.

However, the extreme skepticism I've personally encountered in some people is more of a pyrrhic-skepticism. That is, it is after the fashion of Pyrrho, an ancient Greek philosopher who doubted everything, including the ability to doubt. We get the term "a pyrrhic victory" from his extreme skepticism; or, in other words, a dubious, or doubtful victory. It is a self-defeating form of skepticism, but nonetheless present in certain minds today.

toshido said...

"If they succeeded in arguing that they should be able to place this advertising regardless of its content solely because they are a paying customer with free speech rights, wouldn't that just clear the path for religious groups and people with non-athiest friendly views to advertise also? How Ironic!"

Craig, read the entirety of Chris' original blog.

julie Breeze states that the city has accepted religous advertisements in the past.

I see this as more of a censorship issue then a religous issue.

Christopher said...

"I see this as more of a censorship issue then a religous issue."

While I agree that needing to buy up advertising space for any set of beliefs (including atheism) is entirely silly, I nevertheless agree with you, Toshido, that allowing one group of people to advertise through marketing, and disallowing another is a censorship issue.

At the same time, I think I think you're preaching to the choir. Everyone who has posted here knows that atheism is no more rational, and no more scientific in its view than theism. Richard Dawkins (a scientific-minded atheist) makes this point in an interview with Ben Stein in the movie Expelled.

Craig said...

Another interesting side issue is that I heard that a christian busdriver refused to drive a bus with the no god campaign ad on it.

Wouldn't it be an interesting world if humans started (once again) resisting things that they don't believe in in these sorts of ways?

most people, I think, would just naturally create a mental division that the advertising on the bus that they are being paid to drive has nothing to do with them.

Christopher said...

"Wouldn't it be an interesting world if humans started (once again) resisting things that they don't believe in in these sorts of ways?"

You mean, if convictions weren't strictly private? Yeah, that would be interesting. I think I might even like it. As long as it doesn't include violence -- which I know is an impossibility in this f*****-up world -- then I'm in.

toshido said...

"Another interesting side issue is that I heard that a christian busdriver refused to drive a bus with the no god campaign ad on it."

Well considering he would not have any legal grounds to refuse work i hope he was at least reprimanded, officially, or worse.

What next, refusing to drive the bus because they let colored passengers on?

This would be a huge and ugly slippery slope if people in a service industry were able to refuse work or services based on their beliefs.

Christopher said...

"This would be a huge and ugly slippery slope if people in a service industry were able to refuse work or services based on their beliefs."

Agreed. A person doesn't become an atheist if they drive a bus that advertizes atheism. I certainly hope that bus driver doesn't attach his beliefs to his ability to pilot the vehicle, otherwise there may be a few dead bodies on the road soon.

sarah said...

Toshido wrote:Well considering he would not have any legal grounds to refuse work i hope he was at least reprimanded, officially, or worse.

I am always ill-at-ease when others assume the place to hope for the demise or punishment of another. We don't know all of the circumstances surrounding this bus driver's decision or what happened following it.

What does whether he refused on *legal* grounds or not have to do with anything? He's a bus driver; he can call in sick or even quit his job. Why do you even process a judgment about him, let alone hope that he is punished? Bizarre.

Toshido wrote: What next, refusing to drive the bus because they let colored passengers on?

Uhhhh... That's a pretty enormous leap.

The ad in question isn't intended to be about debasing people for innate traits; it's about debasing God and anyone who believes and loves Him (unless you think that that is an innate trait- which I do, but odd coming from an atheist).

Your concern about racism is a non sequitur. Rational, compassionate people the world over regardless of their faith or lack thereof share common concerns about racism. Maybe you could work on an actual analogy that would illustrate what you were trying to express.

Would you be concerned if that driver refused to drive a bus with an Exxon or McDonald's ad on the side? These all seem fairly analogous to me, or should be from the perspective of someone who thinks there is no God. What's the difference?

Toshido wrote: This would be a huge and ugly slippery slope if people in a service industry were able to refuse work or services based on their beliefs.

Yeah, what a horror! People refusing to do things they aren't comfortable doing! And *service workers* even! Please. Appeal to pity.

The world would end, obviously.

toshido said...

Sarah

"Toshido wrote: What next, refusing to drive the bus because they let colored passengers on?

Uhhhh... That's a pretty enormous leap. "


Not really. He is refusing based on a belief. Not refusing work based on anything that actually affects his work. Like unsafe working conditions.
If his beliefs were that he should not be in the vicinity of people of another race, then by the same reasoning he should be allowed to refuse work.
Should every ad that goes up on every bus be cleared with all the drivers of that bus? Of the drivers for that city because they might be associated with the company advertising the offending ad?

The ad in question isn't intended to be about debasing people for innate traits; it's about debasing God and anyone who believes and loves Him (unless you think that that is an innate trait- which I do, but odd coming from an atheist).

Is questioning something debasing it?

Yeah, what a horror! People refusing to do things they aren't comfortable doing! And *service workers* even! Please. Appeal to pity.

This has nothing to do with him doing something he is uncomfortable doing. he is perfectly comfortable driving the bus. That is what he does, that is his job. The picture on the side of his bus does not affect his job.


Sarah... is the sarcasm needed? Can we try to be civil?

toshido said...

And Sarah. it is currently illegal to refuse to work based on religous beliefs, to a degree...

A printer in Toronto has been fined and forced to provide his printing services to a gay and lesbian rights group. That is limited though to just business printing and not necessarily advertising and promotional materials.

but it still remains that it is illegal to refuse work based on religous beliefs, well sometimes.

Lots of information about pharmacists being allowed to refuse to adminster drugs they do not believe in. Lots about doctors and who they service.