9 January 2009

'No God' campaign draws complaint

The following is taken directly from a BBC site. I ask: Why should a Christian complain when other people believe there is no god and NEVER complain when they believe in a god who is different from theirs. Since there are plenty of religions on Earth, it follows that there are plenty of gods to choose from. Why should the claim that a god does not exist be more offensive than a claim supporting a different god or gods?

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."


  1. Oh, Christians do plenty of complaining when others believe in a god who isn't theirs. They just do it quietly, reserving their vitriol for atheists and agnostics. Why? I don't know, but I suppose they consider it less offensive to attack nonbelievers than to openly attack believers of a different faith.

  2. Indeed, you are right: I am aware of Christian complaining (look, sat, at history and political events around...), but, to this date, I simply cannot fully explain why it is more of an insult to say there is no god rather than say there is a god who is different from yours.

    I am not an expert in human behaviour but I think one reason is the word "believe" itself. It is not so much about what kind of religion you have but more of whether you believe in something (and by believe I mean believe without asking the whys and the hows, i.e. blind faith). It seems that what is offensive is that an atheist/agnostic does not share the desire to accept things at face value. This healthy attitude, the attitude of inquiry, seems to be what offends religious people.

    In other words, they (unconsciously) argue: "these people [nonbelievers] like to argue about all kinds of matters; they are not submissive; they pose a danger for my life because they may reveal that some of the things I'm doing are irrational and why on Earth would I need to change what I've been doing forever; I seem to be conservative and they seem to be liberal in their thinking and interpretation of the world; they may actually go as far as to say that the guns I keep in my closet and pockets may not be the right thing to do; and why would I need anyone to tell me that I have to get rid of my guns?"

    These kinds of "thoughts" are behind "the believer". He or she is not, necessarily, acting from a religious point of view but also from a very conservative stand.

    Last but not least, I never understood why religion is tantamount to faith. Someone may not like to, simply, believe in anything without evidence. Why isn't there a religion that rids itself of this concept? (I'm being a bit subtle or sarcastic here...)



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant