Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Advertising agents in Australia have missed the bus"

Indeed they have. I am a bit surprised that while the signs are allowed in Washington D.C. and in Great Britain, they are banned Down Under. So much for freedom of speech:

Australian Atheist Adverts Banned




‘APN Outdoor’, the company responsible for Public Metropolitan Transport Advertising, says no to atheism.

The bus slogan campaign proposed by the AFA with the thought provoking sentiment, “Atheism – Celebrate reason!” has been refused for display by ‘APN Outdoors’. Various other phrases have also been deemed unacceptable.

Following the lead of Humanists in London and Washington in the USA, with their intended bus signs, an international programme by humanists and atheists was to commence on the 20th January 2009 using buses to express the secular viewpoint.

Richard Dawkins is supporting the London bus signs, and has stated that such a campaign “will make people think”.

President of the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc, David Nicholls said: “I am flabbergasted. This is extremely disappointing and a severe blow to freedom of expression in Australia. We are witnessing the result of seemingly paranoid executives interfering with pertinent social comment. This action has thwarted the right to state peacefully and openly a legitimate and timely message without violence.

Australia is going to look provincial and narrow in outlook to the rest of the world because of this decision. The planet is moving to a more enlightened era but apparently, public transport advertising agents in Australia have missed the bus.”

Then, while the signs are being allowed throughout Great Britain, the 141 Christians are boo-hooing about it. They want free speech for themselves, but no one else. They say the signs are offensive, but do not realize just how offensive their threats of Hell to non-believers and believers of other religions are. There is nothing pornographic about the atheist signs, there is no threat to harm anyone, they are only words of people exercising their freedom of speech to present their own viewpoint.

Atheist Bus Campaign is ‘offensive’, say complaints to ASA

The advertising regulator has received almost 150 complaints that an atheist ad campaign, proclaiming “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, is offensive to Christians and other religions that believe in a single God.

Stephen Green, the national director of Christian Voice, is among those who have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, arguing that the atheist campaign broke the advertising code on the grounds of substantiation and truthfulness.

:shock: [I nearly choked on my coffee when I read this! Christians talking about substantiation and truthfulness. Ha!]

The ASA has received 141 complaints about the Atheist Bus Campaign which launched earlier this week on buses throughout England, Scotland and Wales, as well as the London underground. However, 39 of the complaints are regarding newspaper and online articles about the campaign, which the ASA has no power to deal with.

The complainants claim the ad campaign is offensive to Christians and those of other monotheistic religions.

Green said: “It is given as a statement of fact and that means it must be capable of substantiation if it is not to break the rules.

“There is plenty of evidence for God, from people’s personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world.

[Someone needs to tell them that these things are not evidence for the existence of their imaginary friend, but assumptions based on their feelings and delusions.]

:roll: “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.”

As an added note, here is the link to the Atheist Campaign website


CyberKitten said...

So... out of 30 million adults - of which over half say they believe in God.... only 141 complained?

That's not bad odds really.... [laughs].

I used to see Christian advertising on my local buses for a while but they all seem to have disapeared. I wonder if they're being withdrwan as part of the economic downturn... [muses]

Stardust said...


No, it's not bad actually, but amazes me that they get any kind of media attention. It's amusing that 141 Xians can help out the atheist cause in such a big way without even realizing it.

As for the Xian advertising disappearing, probably all those loyal believers are keeping their money to themselves and not sharing and their con artist pastors are probably really worried right the smaller mythology temples anyway.

Cole said...

If I were an Atheist I would take the sign down and put "Its beyond reasonable doubt that there's no God" like Victor Stenger believes.

To say it's likely there is no God doesn't say very much. There still could be one.


Suppose I'm about to flip a coin and I know that it will probably land on heads. Clearly that's not sufficient for me to believe that it actually will. I can think it's likely that it will but it could still land on heads. It seems to me that agnosticism should get the nod if all you are going to claim it's unlikely.

Cole said...


I meant to say tails.

To say it will probably land on heads isn't strong enough for me.

I can think it's likely to land on heads. I can't believe it

Stardust said...

hi cole,

The reason I support the message of the signs in the bus campaign is because as of now, there has been no scientific evidence to support any probability of there being a god or gods at all. None has been produced throughout all the ages. Therefore, we atheists can pretty well say there is no all-knowing, all-powerful invisible man who watches each and every one of us from another dimension.

On the other hand, I would go so far as to say that there might be other beings living elsewhere in the universe. We are here, after all. Considering the elements that we are made of, and proper conditions to support life as we know it, there could be other living things out there. But I find the idea of a Santa Claus type god who watches us when we're sleeping, knows when we're awake, etc to be absurd.

Things here aren't as controlled as god believers would say. Natural disaster can strike at any moment. There is a huge volcano at Yellowstone National Park that is way past it's due for an eruption. And humans can do nothing about it just as they can do nothing about tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, hail, tsunamis, wildfires, volcanoes, earthquakes and global warming and climate changes. And no god ever comes to intervene in the natural processes of things to help his creations.

We are here, we don't know exactly how it all got started, but there are many theories. But there are zero theories about this god. What he looks like, where this other dimension he lives in is located, etc. No verifiable evidence whatsoever. God belief is simply a belief based on feelings and emotions of how many humans want things to be.

Cole said...


As you know I'm agnostic when it comes to the evidence.

I was just pointing out that a probable argument isn't strong enough for me when it comes to warrant. I think it needs to be beyond reasonable doubt.

I won't try to convince you that there is a God because I don't believe the evidence is strong enough to do so. I don't think we have it all figured out yet.

Stardust said...

Cole, I am glad that you are now at least an agnostic. I can understand your still questioning, etc. I did that for awhile before the complete transition. And you may always remain an agnostic. And you are entitled to your perspective.

It won't be in our lifetime, but if humanity doesn't wipe itself out, I think that more and more scientific evidence will be found to support theories of how life was formed on this planet. However, I don't think a definite answer will ever be found.

And unless a god walks out of another dimension and says howdy, then there is no reason to believe that one exists. We are all on our own, belief or no belief.

Cole said...

Hey Star,

I'm agnostic about the existence of a Supreme Being but an atheist when it comes to the existence of the God of Christianity and Muslims for sure. Does that make sense? How do you define atheist? John Loftus considers himself to be an agnostic atheist. I'm not sure what he means by that.

Stardust said...

Cole, At least you no longer believe in the evil God of Abraham. He is a mean bastard.

"Atheist" simply means absence of belief in the existence of gods. Some atheists are more radical than others and some can be quite "evangelical" about it.

As for agnosticism, there are many ways of thinking:

* I don't personally know.
* I don't know but will lead my life in the assumption that no God exists.
* I don't know but will lead my life assuming that God does exist.
* I cannot give an opinion because there is no way that we can prove the existence or non-existence of God given currently available knowledge.
* I cannot give an opinion because there is no way to know, with certainty, anything about God, now and in the future.
* Yes, God exists. But we do not know anything about God at this time.
* Yes, God exists. But we have no possibility of knowing anything about God, now or in the future.

Which category do you fall into?

Cole said...

I like the idea of an all-knowing, all loving Goddess better than any of them. :)

Right now I just don't know. I like to believe that my experience of it was real. But I doubt it. Sometimes when I walk outside I feel it. But it's probably just the Greatness of the Universe that I feel.

Stardust said...

The greatness of the universe is magnificent and awe-inspiring! Those who worshiped the Sun in ancient times were closer to what we owe our existence to than any other believers. Without the Sun, nothing can exist here. I think it possible that ancient mythology writers of the Christian type meant "Sun" instead of "son". Everything dies without the Sun in our solar system.

Jason H. Bowden said...

"The complainants claim the ad campaign is offensive to Christians and those of other monotheistic religions."

Multiculturalism is biting progressives in the ass! I love it! In the Western democracies, which are all liberal utopias, feelings determine rights, so if any citizen feels a comment is offensive, it is.

Stardust said...

Jason, I don't think this has anything to do with multi-culturalism since the religious folks have been crying persecution for centuries whenever someone voices an opposition to what they believe. Back in the 1600s and before, those who spoke their beliefs that there is no god were burned at the stake, or worse. The religious folks who follow the God of Abraham are the biggest boo-hooers when someone simply posts a message on a sign stating another viewpoint. So, like I said, this is a religious dispute, not a cultural one.

Jason H. Bowden said...


The religious used to do the persecuting; that's why thinkers of the Enlightenment designed political systems based on individual rights-- the goal was a civil society, free from the wars of religion that plagued Europe in the 1600s.

Now, though, rights are no longer seen as restrictions against what the state can do. The word rights is currently confused with another idea: wants-- healthcare, education, retirement security, et cetera. It isn't an accident that people claim they have a right not to be offended-- it is the same philosophy. I know that we don't have a right not to be offended-- that's a want, not a right, telling the state to positively act on someone's behalf, rather than negatively telling the state "No, you cannot do this."

What the progressives haven't figured out -- the religious are the majority, and if they think something is offensive, then under the progressive philosophy, they have a collective want, ahem, "right" in the current parlance not to hear it.

Stardust said...

But I haven't posted this from a progressive point of view and wasn't even thinking about this from a party angle. I posted it to show how freedom of speech is challenged by the god botherers probably of all varieties, liberal and conservative alike, because when it comes to their sky daddy beliefs, they are both on the same page. Both will cry persecution when their sky daddy beliefs are challenged or when they view something that is most likely already in their private thoughts. They don't like seeing it in black and white.

So, the argument isn't if anyone has the right to offend others or not, it's that we all have the same rights of freedom of speech as protected in our Constitution. Of course, people like Fuckabee would love to dismantle the Constitution and make himself a theocracy and silence those of opposing views and beliefs. Shiver.

Cole said...

Hey Star,

I think I figured out what I am (at least with matters of fundamental human concern.) I'm a skeptical realist. Truth exists but it's hard for us finite and limited human beings to grasp. I believe that there are necessary truths in mathematics and the laws of logic. I have carefully studied theistic and atheistic arguments and have found them to be wanting as coercive demonstrative proofs. Theistic arguments seem to support what the theist wants them to support, with all her heart. They support what she already believes. Likewise for the atheist.

Reason is not neutral. It does not stand dispassionately, without prejudice (prejudgment), overlooking the evidence. It is not bias free. We are psycho-socio-historico-conditioned creatures.

Here's the problem:

We can't attain the view from nowhere to check out beliefs against the facts independent of our beliefs. This is especialy true with respect to gods. We are finite believing creatures with all that attends to this fact.