Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Chicago joins atheist bus campaign

My hometown of Chicago has joined in the atheist bus campaign and their slogan is a bit more blunt than the others have been.

From the Chicago Tribune:

CHICAGO — For the past week, 25 buses from the Chicago Transit Authority have been bearing an unusual advertising slogan.

The large ads read “In the Beginning, Man Created God,’’ and they’re scheduled to remain on the sides of the buses through June. They’re part of an effort by the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign, with the help of the American Humanist Association.

The board that runs South Bend’s city bus system recently agreed to allow ads on that city’s buses reading: “You can be good without God.’’

The group had hoped to have the ads installed on 20 South Bend buses before President Barack Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame last Sunday, but that move was delayed.

Bloomington, Indiana’s city bus service recently rejected similar ads, prompting a lawsuit.

While atheists say these signs are conversation starters, some god believers are saying they are attack ads. I don't think expressing an alternative point of view is an attack on anything. If other groups can place their advertisements about non-believers going to hell, and trying to woo people into the various religions and cults, then a counterpoint is in order.

53 comments:

CyberKitten said...

Cool.

Stardust said...

Yes, very very cool. Going downtown soon to see if I can see any of these buses driving around for myself and will try to get a piccie.

Licentious Maladay said...

For more about the atheist bus campaign, visit http://wondercafe.ca/

Lic

Tommykey said...

That's a great line.

I saw an amusing thing yesterday. Looks like the Christians have finally gotten around to responding to the Evolve Fish logo.

Yesterday, I saw a car in front of me that had a logo of a large fish, with the word TRUTH inside of it, devouring a smaller fish that had DARW inside of it, with the obvious implication that Christianity represents truth, and that it was devouring the untruth of Darwinism.

Stardust said...

And Tommy, what is sad is that if you asked these folks to explain who Darwin was and what his theories were, they wouldn't have a clue. Try it sometime. They will disappear or change the subject, start proseltyzing and talking about people turning away from God, etc...just like a L Smith is doing in the latest discussion thread of Mondo's recent anti-evolution ignorant rant in the New Lenox Patriot.

Licentious Maladay said...

Stardust,

Yes, it's sad that people don't appreciate Darwin's teachings. Pondering evolution has helped me gain a better understanding of people. For example, it seems that we are the only animal capable of genocide. That quirk of nature goes back through history even into the fossil record. Look at the Neanderthals for example.

It also occurs to me to wonder how many atheists have looked at the work of the great theologians. If I started talking about Thomas Aquinas, for example, would they be able to stay on subject?

In fact, are the atheists in this thread even aware of the great thinkers who came before them in atheism, such as the Age of Reason, the Humanists or the Existentialists?

Rejecting God because his/her existence cannot be proved was done long ago. The point is without religion, where is human hope going to come from, where will people turn when their rational constructs such as money, business and the economy fail, who will keep people from killing each other, who will set the principles upon which we base civilization?

Atheism is a valid stance, but accompanying it is the awesome responsibility to refashion human society. So many people seem to want to reject God and religion without having the slightest idea of what their replacements will be.

Lic

Stardust said...

LM, There doesn't need to be a replacement for god and religion since god belief and religion is just something people add to their lives to try to give credit or blame to something other than themselves for things that happen. If gods do not exist, there isn't really anything taken away, therefore no void to fill. We write our lives by the way we live. We make choices and fill the pages. Sometimes we make wrong choices, sometimes very good choices. Most of us base our choices and values on what we have been taught by our parents, and their parents before them. These values are taught to us when we are very young in order to grow to be good citizens and stewards of our environment. In order for a society to get along we must all abide by the "golden rule" which most societies adhere to. "Do unto others"....and then we can all get along. It's not anything more than that. As for as life having meaning, read the quote under my profile pic.

As far as atheists in this thread knowing about what great thinkers were atheists, and knowing who the great theologians were I can safely say that Tommykey and Cyberkitten are well-read and do know who they are and familiar with their works. I am not as well-read as they are, but am also familiar with them. I have read Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason and have posted quotes and discussions about it in the past. Paine is one of my favorite authors.

We can have hope without any supernatural beliefs. We can believe in human goodness. We can hope for the best for our world and ourselves. But much more than hope, we need action. Nothing happens without human action, good or bad. Religion has never stopped people from killing each other, and in many events throughout history (and the present), religion actually is divisive and is a reason for much of the warring and violence against other people in the world (past and present).

Cole said...

"LM, There doesn't need to be a replacement for god and religion since god belief and religion is just something people add to their lives to try to give credit or blame to something other than themselves for things that happen."


That's not what I do.


"“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is Whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”


Notice how the quote says life is without meaning and then it says being alive is the meaning.
This is self-contradictory and therefore irrational.

If there is no God or an afterlife mankind is a doomed race in a dying universe and therefore we have no hope. The same blind cosmic process that coughed us up will eventually swallow us all up again. The contributions of the scientist, our love for other people, all the research done to help pain and suffering, in the end, all come to nothing. In the end, it makes not one bit of difference. We are all on the sinking Titanic doomed to death with no hope of survival. We are doomed if there is no God or an afterlife. There is no escape from it and there is no hope. This is one of the reasons why I'm not an atheist. When God and the afterlife go so does my hope.

"We can hope for the best for our world and ourselves. But much more than hope, we need action."

Like I said the universe and everything in it is running down. We are doomed. There is no hope if everything ends at the grave.
You have a different definition of the word hope.

Love ya Star!!

(BTW, Darwinism is NOT a proven fact. I go along with the agnostic Michael Denton In his book "Nature's Destiny." There's something more that is driving evolution than just natural selection. It's being guided by some "unknown" mechinism. Yes, evolution happens but it's not by natural selection alone.)

See Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe.

Dr Michael Denton, M.D., Ph.D. is a molecular biologist at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is not a biblical creationist.

Cole said...

Also,

How can we hope for the best when we are all doomed?

I don't see how.

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: How can we hope for the best when we are all doomed?

'Hope' for what?

'Doomed' how exactly?

[looks suitably confused]

Cole said...

Cyber,

I was just responding to what Star said when she said:

"We can hope for the best for our world and ourselves. But much more than hope, we need action."

Like I said above:

If there is no God or an afterlife mankind is a doomed race in a dying universe and therefore we have no hope. The same blind cosmic process that coughed us up will eventually swallow us all up again. The contributions of the scientist, our love for other people, all the research done to help pain and suffering, in the end, all come to nothing. In the end, it makes not one bit of difference. We are all on the sinking Titanic doomed to death with no hope of survival. We are doomed if there is no God or an afterlife. There is no escape from it and there is no hope. This is one of the reasons why I'm not an atheist. When God and the afterlife go so does my hope.

Stardust said...

If there is no God or an afterlife mankind is a doomed race in a dying universe and therefore we have no hope.

That is why we must live in the here and now...we can plan for the future existence of the planet and ourselves, but as for making up scenerios and nice little dreams about going on for eternity, well that is just not going to change reality and doesn't lessen our lives we have to live any. God belief just seems to make this world seem less important, and makes people less appreciate their lives in the present.

The same blind cosmic process that coughed us up will eventually swallow us all up again.

That's about it. Nothing we can do about it except to appreciate and enjoy being here for the brief time we are.

The contributions of the scientist, our love for other people, all the research done to help pain and suffering, in the end, all come to nothing.

Probably. But no sense to focus on that since the Sun will continue for billions of years. We are here only a brief segment of that time, so why not enjoy it instead of wasting all your happiness and life on dreading something you can do absolutely nothing about and for which we are all uncertain?

In the end, it makes not one bit of difference. We are all on the sinking Titanic doomed to death with no hope of survival.

No one knows for certain what will happen with the universe...there are only theories. We live our brief moments in time and be glad for the chance to have lived at all. So many never even make it past the womb and cradle.

We are doomed if there is no God or an afterlife.

And if that makes you more comfortable to believe that, then what can I say? But I don't look at it as "doomed". It's a life span, it's how things are in the world and universe. Acceptance of the natural order of things. Serenity comes with acceptance. Read the Serenity prayer..."grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change . . . wisdom to know the difference" of what you can and cannot change...that will bring peace. I am amazed that we are here, amazed with life, amazed with the cosmos and the awesomeness of everything. Why not just be amazed and in awe, instead of living in dread and sadness?

There is no escape from it and there is no hope.

What is this hope for? Existing forever? Why? What will you be doing for eternity? I can't imagine bowing down to a God for all eternity to be all that happy. I also don't understand what we are supposed to be "escaping" from? Natural process of the cycle of life? I am just very glad to have been part of the cycle...taking my turn in this world.

This is one of the reasons why I'm not an atheist. When God and the afterlife go so does my hope.

That sounds sad to me. To believe in a God just because of the afterlife thing people think they are going to get. It's like believing in Santa Claus because you think he is going to give you something. I have never heard of a Christian simply believing in God because God IS without expecting some kind of "rewards". With god beliefs, there is always something in it for the self.

Stardust said...

"“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is Whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”

I think this quote is illustrating just how anyone can create their own meaning of what life is supposed to be. He is saying life for him is simply being alive. Hence, Campbell made his own meaning. For him, it's simple as that. We can make the meaning for our lives simple or complex. It's our choice, with or without god belief. There are god believers who watch Jerry Springer all day and contribute nothing to the world around them. They don't even support themselves. Then there are those who accomplish great things for their own lives and contribute to society and the world around them with or without god beliefs. It's all up to the individual how they will live with or without god beliefs. I know some pretty desperate, unhappy god believers.

Cole said...

"That is why we must live in the here and now...we can plan for the future existence of the planet and ourselves, but as for making up scenerios and nice little dreams about going on for eternity, well that is just not going to change reality and doesn't lessen our lives we have to live any. God belief just seems to make this world seem less important, and makes people less appreciate their lives in the present."


I believe in living in the here and now. In fact because my future is secure I can live in the here and now. The God belief gives my life significance, meaning, and purpose.


"That's about it. Nothing we can do about it except to appreciate and enjoy being here for the brief time we are."


I can't be thankful to the universe for my life because it's not personal. I can't say thank you to the stars for giving me life. They're not personal.


"That sounds sad to me. To believe in a God just because of the afterlife thing people think they are going to get."


I didn't say it was my only reason. Just one of them.

Cole said...

"“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is Whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”

Life is without meaning
Being alive is the meaning

It's self-contradictory.

If life is without meaning then being alive can't be the meaning to life.

And if being alive is the meaning to life then we are all doomed because everything including the universe is dying. There is no hope.

Stardust said...

Life is without meaning
Being alive is the meaning


As I tried to explain about Campbell...he is basically saying that life is really without meaning but for him being alive now is enough.

Stardust said...

I can't be thankful to the universe for my life because it's not personal. I can't say thank you to the stars for giving me life. They're not personal.

But we can have a glad heart for having lived and being able to experience the universe and the stars. Can't say a personal thank you, but we can be glad for our time here. We don't always have to be able to give a personal thank you to be glad for something.

Cole said...

I can't live a life of gratitude to the universe for giving me life. It's not personal.

Whan God goes so does:

My gratitude
My hope
My wonder
My purpose
My significance

Stardust said...

Cole, it's not "gratitude"...it's just being appreciative, positive and glad.

Whan God goes so does:

My gratitude
My hope
My wonder
My purpose
My significance


Why? Many,many people live lives of gratitude, hope, wonder, purpose and significance without god beliefs, or different sorts of beliefs. I am grateful to humanity and science for all of the advances that make my life so comfortable, I have hope that my family will live long and happy lives and that our nation will survive these crappy politicians and our enemies, I have wonder is most everything in the universe from the largest thing to the microscopic, my purpose here is to live my life the best way that I am able, and as for my significance...it doesn't really matter. In the big picture, I know and accept that I am insignificant to most...except to myself and my own family and friends. I choose not to dwell on the impossible and to cherish and value what I know for certain I do have now.

Cole said...

You can't say life is without meaning and then turn arround and say the meaning of life is being alive. It's self contradictory.

He can say life is without meaning but he obviously can't live that way.

Cole said...

You can say life is without purpose, meaning, etc...but you can't live that way.

Stardust said...

He can say life is without meaning but he obviously can't live that way.

That quote is taken out of context. I will have to find the exact entire excerpt. But what Campbell is basically saying is that when a child is born, there is no "ascribed" meaning for its existence. But each of us makes our own meaning, the people who love the child adds to that meaning. For each person its all very different. That is what Campbell is saying. There is no "one" meaning for life...no one set meaning for an individual's existence.

Stardust said...

Another good one

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive."
Joseph Campbell

Stardust said...

As Michael Kessler explains it:
"We’re all shaped by history, the collective experience of the family and society we’re born into, and then tempered by the ventures we get involved in: jobs, relationships, politics, and other life-shaping events. And after many years of this, ‘history’ becomes ‘your story.’"

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: If there is no God or an afterlife mankind is a doomed race in a dying universe and therefore we have no hope.

Again... Hope of what? Hope for what?

Why are we 'doomed'? Eventually our species will go extinct. Eventually the Universe will either suffer heat-death or there will be a 'Big Crunch' to mirror the 'Big Bang'. Why is any of this doom?

Cole said: The same blind cosmic process that coughed us up will eventually swallow us all up again.

Yes..... and?

Cole said: The contributions of the scientist, our love for other people, all the research done to help pain and suffering, in the end, all come to nothing. In the end, it makes not one bit of difference.

Difference to what? I'm sure that research into pain relief makes a great deal of difference to those in chronic pain.

Cole said: We are all on the sinking Titanic doomed to death with no hope of survival.

Yes. We are born, we live and then we die. You obviously have a problem with this. Why?

Cole said: We are doomed if there is no God or an afterlife.

I don't understand what 'doom' has to do with anything. You mean we die - well, of course we do. Everything dies. Why should we be any different?

Cole said: There is no escape from it and there is no hope.

Hope for what? Death is inevitable. It's how we live our lives in the face of death that's important.

Cole said: This is one of the reasons why I'm not an atheist. When God and the afterlife go so does my hope.

I'm sure that the fear of death makes many believe believe in such things. So you're not alone in that.

Tommykey said...

You can't say life is without meaning and then turn arround and say the meaning of life is being alive. It's self contradictory.

Stardust, he's obviously too obtuse to grasp Campbell's point, which is that life in general is not part of somebody's grand master plan that we are all a part of. What he is saying is that we find ourselves alive on this planet, and we can choose how to live it.

If there is no God or an afterlife mankind is a doomed race in a dying universe and therefore we have no hope.

Awwww. Poor Cole is afraid of dying and needs a security blanket to make himself feel better! Dude, the universe is going to go on for BILLIONS of years after you and I are gone. So I'm not going to fret about a "dying" universe.

If there is an afterlife, we'll experience it whether we believe it or not, just like you will surely die if you jump out of an airplane at 30,000 feet whether you believe in the force of gravity or not. And if there is no afterlife, it will affect the believer in the afterlife as well as the nonbeliever.

As an atheist, it's not my job to offer you any kind of comfort about the universe. Just eat right, stay physically fit, enjoy the beauty of nature and treat people decently. If that's not good enough for you, that's your problem, not mine.

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: You can say life is without purpose, meaning, etc...but you can't live that way.

Why not?

Cole said...

Star,

You just confirm what I say when I say you can say there's no meaning or purpose to life but you can't live that way. If there is no God, then man and the universe are doomed. Like prisoners condemned to death, we await our unavoidable execution. There is no God, and there is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself is absurd. It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose. The fundamental problem with his solution is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a world view. If one lives consistently, he will not be happy; if one lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent.

I'll let you have the last word.

Tommykey said...

There is no God, and there is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself is absurd.

You're right, Cole. There is no God and there is no immortality. WTF do you feel the need to be immortal anyway? What is the consequence of this? Well, basically, you're absurd!

Stardust said...

You just confirm what I say when I say you can say there's no meaning or purpose to life but you can't live that way.

That's not at all what I said, Cole. I said that we can all choose to make our meanings for ourselves. Some of us do not need to invent god beliefs in order to live fulfilling lives. How we live now is what matters. Whether there is immortality or not does not matter in this life we live.

And if a god wanted people to live forever and be with us forever in another dimension, you would think that this god would just make us all in that state of existence already. What is absurd is to think that there is a god who wants humans to be immortal but puts them on a little tiny planet as some sort of test only to go on living some supernatural existence anyway all sorted out into the poshness of Heaven or the ghetto of Hell.

Tommykey said...

According to Cole, I shouldn't bother going on my scuba diving trip to Belize in August because the trip is of a limited duration and I will have to come back home a week later. What's Cole's "solution"? Sit at home and pray that I experience an afterlife.

Hey dummy! Stop worrying about where you will be a billion years from now and get off your ass and do something with yourself now!

Stardust said...

Hey Tommy, off/topic a bit...my hubby went on an adventure in Belize when it was still called British Honduras. His photos of there are beautiful.

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: Like prisoners condemned to death, we await our unavoidable execution. There is no God, and there is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself is absurd.

Sounds like you've been reading Camus or possibly Nagel. Life isn't absurd. It's our relationship with the universe that's absurd. Imposing our petty meaning(s) on a meaningless universe is where the absurdity comes from.

Cole said: It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose.

Yes. And....?

Cole said: The fundamental problem with his solution is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a world view.

Why not. I seem to manage pretty well... unless you think I'm either lying or self-deluded....

Cole said: If one lives consistently, he will not be happy; if one lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent.

Is happiness the measure of things then? I'm pretty happy most of the time.... Proving what exactly?

Cole said...

Cyber,

I'll let you have the last word. Thanks for interacting with me without calling me names and such. I will definitely read over what you have said here and weigh it carefully.

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: I'll let you have the last word.

Or we could have a dialogue.....

Cole said: I will definitely read over what you have said here and weigh it carefully.

I'd be interested in your answers to some of my questions too....

Cole said...

"Imposing our petty meaning(s) on a meaningless universe is where the absurdity comes from."

Cyber,

You don't really believe that everything is meaningless do you?

Stardust said...

Cole,

I am having a hard time explaining this. There isn't any meaning to life except what we make of it. We fill the blank pages with our own experiences and write our stories however we choose. Some things happen that are beyond our control, and that is just part of our life story. How we choose to deal with things is up to us.

We are part of one big, long story that started billions of years ago and will continue for billions of years. What's wrong with being part of a few pages of that? Wishing you will live forever will not make it so. It would be wonderful if we all could live forever...on our own terms. But to live forever according to the will of a god is only making us a prisoner, or a "pet" for eternity.

You will be happier if you focus on the present, the world in which you live and try to make the world a better place in some small way (or make a great difference as some have done.)But pining away for an afterlife that no one has any evidence for is wasting the time you have now.

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: You don't really believe that everything is meaningless do you?

I don't believe that the Universe or our place in it has any intrinsic meaning, No. Any meaning which we create - including *all* religions & ideologies - are subjective and arbitrary. They are (basically) designed to help people sleep at night.

We are simply intelligent primates many of whom have a problem with the idea that just because we exist doesn't mean that we have any particularly special place in the scheme of things.

Does that answer your question?

Cole said...

"I don't believe that the Universe or our place in it has any intrinsic meaning, No"

Does this statement describe the way our universe really is? Or is it just something you impose on the universe?

Are you not imposing a petty meaning on a meaningless universe which is where the absurdity comes from?

If the statement describes the way our universe really is and is a meaningful statement about the universe then the universe isn't completely meaningless.

Either way it doesn't make any sense.

Cole said...

One cannot meaningfully affirm that reality has no ultimate meaning without thereby making the claim that her statement is ultimately meaningful about reality.

Tommykey said...

Like I said ladies, the man is obtuse and is not worth anymore of your time.

Cole said...

Oh thanks Debbie for your comment on trying to explain it to me. I acknowledge your position and I promise to weigh it carefully.

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: One cannot meaningfully affirm that reality has no ultimate meaning without thereby making the claim that her statement is ultimately meaningful about reality.

[laughs]

Next you'll be saying that Atheism is a Religion.

How you get from saying that something has no meaning to thereby *giving* it meaning by saying such is beyond me.... [looks very confused]

It may be a *meaningful* statement but saying that something has *no* meaning does not imply that it *has* meaning. That's nonsensical!

Cole said...

"It may be a *meaningful* statement but saying that something has *no* meaning does not imply that it *has* meaning. That's nonsensical!"

I never said that it did.

To say everything is meaningless is self-defeating though. Because then that statement becomes meaningless.

That doesn't prove that everything has meaning though. I never said that it did.

Cole said...

What I said is if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless.

It's inconsistent to say life is objectively meaningless and then turn arround and live your life like it has meaning. Your just pretending.

Cole said...

Star,

I cannot fool myself into creating meaning for my life when I know that it doesn't have any.

Stardust said...

Creating our own meaning is not pretending. I am not pretending to love to read, paint, travel, watch the sunrises and sunsets, being with my family and friends, learning new things. I am not pretending to love my husband and children, parents and siblings. I am not pretending when I am concerned for others. I am not pretending when I ponder the night skies, when I am in awe of the universe that I am a microscopic part of.

Need to stop focusing on the negative and all this doom and gloom. It wastes so much valuable time.

Cole said...

Star,

What I said is your pretending life has meaning when you know that it really doesn't.

Cole said...

I didn't say you are pretending to really love your family.

What I'm saying is it's inconsistent to say life is objectively meaningless and then turn arround and live your life like it has meaning.

It's like fooling yourself.

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: I never said that it did.

Then I misunderstood you.

Cole said: To say everything is meaningless is self-defeating though. Because then that statement becomes meaningless.

But I didn't say that. I said that the universe has no intrinsic meaning and that any meaning we project onto the universe is just that - a projection.

We can create or invent meaning for our own lives or adopt the meanings which other have previously invented but all such meanings are subjective and arbitrary. Personally I try to avoid such things as much as I can.

Cole said: What I said is if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless.

Correct.

Cole said: It's inconsistent to say life is objectively meaningless and then turn arround and live your life like it has meaning. Your just pretending.

Not so. You can live a meaningful life in a meaningless universe if you live your life according to your own *subjective* meaning. You are simply saying that your life has meaning for you. As long as you don't say that your life has meaning outside of yourself you're not being inconsistent.

Cole said...

Cyber,

It's not logically inconsistent.
It is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a world view. If one lives consistently, he will not be happy; if one lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent.

Cole said...

"But I didn't say that. I said that the universe has no intrinsic meaning and that any meaning we project onto the universe is just that - a projection."

So, only our true statements about the universe have meaning.

Do we project meaningful statements onto the universe?

CyberKitten said...

Cole said: It is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a world view.

What...? That the universe has no inherent meaning?

Cole said: If one lives consistently, he will not be happy; if one lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent.

My first question would be: What's *happiness* got to do with it? Personally knowing and accepting the truth of things is more important (and more authentic) than believing something just because it makes you happy.

Why should a meaningless universe make me unhappy? Actually the idea is rather liberating.....

Cole said: So, only our true statements about the universe have meaning.

Huh?

Cole said: Do we project meaningful statements onto the universe?

Ok... I'm going to say 'Huh?' again at this point.....