“There is Probably No God”

That is what Richard Dawkins wants you to know. 

BBC News reports that an ad campaign supported by the British Humanist Association plans on running the phrase, “There is probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” on the sides of public buses.

The BHA planned on raising $17,000, half from supporters that would then be matched by Professor Dawkins.  However, they have already raised about $150,000 on their own.  The original plan was to run the slogan on 60 buses for 4 weeks, but the current funding will probably expand their original intentions.  In regards to the ad campaign, Dawkins said:

“Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride—automatic tax breaks, unearned respect and the right not to be offended, the right to brainwash children.  Even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side.”

Apparently, Dawkins feels left out of the “brainwashing” and wants to do some of his own.  Dawkins continues:

“This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think – and thinking is anathema to religion.”

Dawkins must also think that Jesus was lying in Matthew 22:27, “And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ ”

Dawkins outright assumes that Christians are merely unthinking zombies, and what a testament to his rationality that position is!  I want to personally thank the BHA and Professor Dawkins for putting this issue on the for front of people’s minds.  I agree, the slogan will get people to think, which is definitely a good thing. 

The slogan is also accurate in that “probably” is the best that atheists can do.  After all, absolute truth is an anathema to athiesm.  Does Dawkins really expect us to jump on the bandwagon of probability?  What if I created an add campaign that said, “No one will probably ever attempt to break into your house, so why lock your doors?” or “You probably will never set your house of fire, so stop worrying and enjoy your life!”.  How quickly would the police and fire department condemn me?  Pascals’ Wager comes to mind.  Atheists must be willing to risk eternity on probability.

However, this is where the slogan fails to describe the situation correctly.  If God really doesn’t exist, then the entirety of humanity shares the same destiny.  We will all be annihilated.  We have no choice, no say in the matter and no hope.  It won’t matter if you’re a rapist, a priest, or a rapist priest, you are headed to complete annihilation.  So, if there is probably no God, I’m not quite sure “enjoying” your life will be what you will do.  Anxiety and apprehension about when you will cease to exist, and anger about your choice in the matter, is more likely.

Mainly though, I think the slogan will just show people the weakness of the “probably” arguments athiests must make.

Oh, and Mr. Dawkins, this is completely off topic and I know you could talk me under the table but . . . you’re going with aliens?

 

My apologies, I just couldn’t help myself.

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13 Comments on ““There is Probably No God””

  1. oliverbenen Says:

    The word “probably” was used because advertising standards do not allow outright staements of this kind. It’s the same reason that Carlsberg have to say “probably the best larger in the world”.
    I’m amazed at the amount of attention that this has got, even before the adverts have appeared on the buses.
    Is there anything wrong with Atheists wanting a bit of public space to express their opinions. Christians advertise on buses, why shouldn’t atheists ?
    I don’t think quoting scripture to Richard Dawkins would be a worthwhile exercise – trying to establish the truth of the bible by using the bible is an epistemological black hole.
    I can’t believe that you are using Pascals wager to bolster your position – its better to believe and be proved wrong than not believe and go to hell-The problem is that the wager doesnt take in to account other religions – so by believeing in the christian god you are also gambling with the fact that you may end up in another religions hell. Which basically makes a nonsense out of the whole idea of pascals wager.
    Belief isn’t that straight forward anyway – why would i believe something just through fear rather than evidence?
    yes, we do ultimately share the same destiny – death, thats why rapists etc. should be punished in this life.
    I think you’ll find that most atheists don’t have any anxiety about dying – life is what you make it while your here.
    who wants eternal life anyway – i can imagine an extra couple of hundred years – but eternity? you’d end up wishing you had your physical body back so you couls slash your wrists.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Oliver

    “The word “probably” was used because advertising standards do not allow outright staements of this kind. It’s the same reason that Carlsberg have to say “probably the best larger in the world”.”

    Sure, but you DO have to admit that “probably” is the best you can do. Saying, “God absolutely doesn’t exist” is to state something you couldn’t possibly have any evidence to defend and it is to contradict the athiestic standard that there are no absolutes.

    So they ultimately used “probably” because anything stronger would just be lying and hypocritical.

    “Is there anything wrong with Atheists wanting a bit of public space to express their opinions. Christians advertise on buses, why shouldn’t atheists?”

    I missed the part where I said there was anything wrong with it. In fact, I said I liked the idea.

    “I don’t think quoting scripture to Richard Dawkins would be a worthwhile exercise – trying to establish the truth of the bible by using the bible is an epistemological black hole.”

    Well, I’m going to disagree with you there. Christians are followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us to use our mind (as I showed in the quoted verse). So in order for Dawkins to say that ALL Christians are “unthinking”, he must ignore that Christians are commanded to think. He may argue that our thinking is erroneous, but to say that we don’t at all is ignorant and arrogant.

    But I’m sure what he actually means is that since we haven’t come to the conclusion that he has, we are nincompoops.

    “I can’t believe that you are using Pascals wager to bolster your position – its better to believe and be proved wrong than not believe and go to hell.”

    I agree with you. I don’t like Pascals wager very much at all. But when someone, like the BHA, claims that probability is a good reason to not believe, Pascals Wager is a legit rebuttal.

    “the problem is that the wager doesnt take in to account other religions – so by believeing in the christian god you are also gambling with the fact that you may end up in another religions hell. Which basically makes a nonsense out of the whole idea of pascals wager.”

    Actually, this is displaying a complete ignorance of the theology of other religions. An ignorance I don’t have the time to reconcile just now.

    “Belief isn’t that straight forward anyway – why would i believe something just through fear rather than evidence?”

    That’s the part of the Wager I don’t like. But, as I said, it worked as a rebuttal in this instance. Also, only atheists filled with hubris can’t admit that having a healthy respect for the God powerful enough to create the universe (and therefore destroy it) and everything in it isn’t at least good thing, if not a down right intelligent thing.

    “I think you’ll find that most atheists don’t have any anxiety about dying – life is what you make it while your here.”

    I think you’re overstepping the scope of your knowledge here. And plus, it’s a bit easier to say you’re not afraid of death this side of the 50 year mark, once you get closer, send me an email and let me know.

    You are also not following out your position to it’s most logical conclusion. If you cease to exist when you die, what meaning does the word “meaning” have? You can create your own meaning all you want, but does it really mean anything? IEverything you’ve ever known, loved, fought for, laughed and cried over is just electrical signals in your brain. Do electrical signals have meaning?

    “who wants eternal life anyway – i can imagine an extra couple of hundred years – but eternity? you’d end up wishing you had your physical body back so you couls slash your wrists.”

    I usually don’t have sympathy for those whom I discuss with, but you’re an exception. Don’t you see the lengths you must take your irrationality to continue to deny God? To hold onto your position, you must make yourself believe that annihilation a desirable ending. It’s ridiculous. Yea, I’m really going to get bored with having an eternity without pain or suffering, hanging out with everyone I’ve ever loved, and loving everyone I’ve ever hated. Not to mention spending eternity with the Christ who made it all possible with His death. That’ll get old REAL quick.

  3. B Says:

    “The word “probably” was used because advertising standards do not allow outright staements of this kind. It’s the same reason that Carlsberg have to say “probably the best larger in the world”. I’m amazed at the amount of attention that this has got, even before the adverts have appeared on the buses.”

    Actually, probably doesn’t have to be used in many slogans such as “made from the best stuff on earth” or even in titles “best damn sports show.” The slogan needs a probably statement because of whom it’s coming from and the fact that there is no proof against God.

    “Is there anything wrong with Atheists wanting a bit of public space to express their opinions. Christians advertise on buses, why shouldn’t atheists ?”
    No, but like you said it is an opinion-one that can jump to other things such as: “Since there is no God, no one can judge you. So go sleep around with people!!!”

    “I don’t think quoting scripture to Richard Dawkins would be a worthwhile exercise – trying to establish the truth of the bible by using the bible is an epistemological black hole.”

    You could beg the same question about evolution and it’s false beliefs and theories that are believed to be as fact.

    “I can’t believe that you are using Pascals wager to bolster your position – its better to believe and be proved wrong than not believe and go to hell-The problem is that the wager doesnt take in to account other religions – so by believeing in the christian god you are also gambling with the fact that you may end up in another religions hell. Which basically makes a nonsense out of the whole idea of pascals wager.”

    I can’t speak for Eric, but I am sure he used Pascals wager for more than what you are taking it for. Secondly, the wager does take in the thought of different religions. If you believe in the Christian belief and not Buddhism, then I do take that risk of going to another religions “hell”….by the way, what “other hell” are you talking about?

    “Belief isn’t that straight forward anyway – why would i believe something just through fear rather than evidence?”
    I wouldn’t call something belief when it is only done by fear, that’s not true belief. I would show you different scriptures that back that up, but that would be a “black hole” for you.

    “yes, we do ultimately share the same destiny – death, thats why rapists etc. should be punished in this life.”

    We share the same bodily ending called death, but that is where we both stop. But we both will share eternal life too. Christians have eternal life of utter peace and joy, where others (such as atheists and nonbelievers) will have eternity in torture. And lets talk about punishment: Free food, free exercise, Cable TV, free bed, visits from others, with the ability to study books and gain skills; the only problem is that they lose the freedom of doing it when they want to do it. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a way better life than living on the streets, starving, selling one’s body for drugs, or even being in a third world country.

    “I think you’ll find that most atheists don’t have any anxiety about dying – life is what you make it while your here.”
    They don’t? Please show me the psychological journals that prove this. I am a therapist and most of my clients are nonbelievers that have extreme anxiety or depression and almost every one of them fear death. I don’t think you know what you are talking about unless you have plenty of proof to back up your statement.

    “who wants eternal life anyway – i can imagine an extra couple of hundred years – but eternity? you’d end up wishing you had your physical body back so you couls slash your wrists.”
    Well as I said before, nonbelievers will have an eternal life of damnation. And why would a person want to kill themselves when eternity is amazement, peace, no pain, and joy? I think you are thinking very finite about things…….but you would, because you don’t believe in God or eternal life, right?

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    Oliver

    You know, B brings up a good point. Do you really feel like rapists are being punished in this life? 6 x 6 cell with 3 square meals, a comfy bed, a work out room, “recess” time and conjugal visits is punishment? And those are the ones that get caught!

  5. krissmith777 Says:

    Never got to see Expelled.

    Like the video clip 🙂

  6. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kris

    All I have to say is, drop what you’re doing right now, go to your friendly neighborhood DVD renters and watch it TONIGHT!

    But seriously, it’s a really great movie that asks the question, “Why can’t we talk about Intelligence?” and shows Ben Stein attempting to get answers to that questions from various intellectuals around the world.

    Eric Kemp

  7. Score Says:

    “If you cease to exist when you die, what meaning does the word “meaning” have?”

    Don’t you see the lengths you must take your irrationality to continue to defend your belief in God?

    “Dawkins must also think that Jesus was lying in Matthew 22:27, “And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “”

    No, actually Dawkins thinks that Jesus never actually existed at all but is rather a fictional character.

    “You could beg the same question about evolution and it’s false beliefs and theories that are believed to be as fact.”

    You don’t even understand the basics about science. That is clear from your statement based upon the way you use the words “theories” and “fact”. If you understood these words, you would realize that a theory is not something less than a fact, but rather something much greater. A theory is either supported by facts or disproven by them. Gravity is a theory that is supported by the fact that I haven’t suddenly floated up away from my keyboard. Gravity is not a fact. Just as there is a tremendous amount of evidence (facts) that support the theory of gravity and that there or no facts which disprove it, there is also tremendous evidence that supports the theory of evolution and there is no evidence against it.

  8. Score Says:

    One more thing: if you don’t send me $2000 right now you will not go to heaven. Now, you may think that is probably not true but you can’t prove it. What is $2000 compared to eternity? You better not risk not sending it no matter how improbable you believe it to be.

  9. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    Are you serious? After being backed into a corner about your literal unwillingness to engage in rational discussion, you reappear after a week and expect me to take you seriously? Until you argue rationally I’ll do what I said I’d do: keep you around so that everyone can see how dogmatically religious atheism is.

    Btw: ““You could beg the same question about evolution and it’s false beliefs and theories that are believed to be as fact.” ”

    You don’t even try to be honest. Please address this to who said it, cause I never did.

    However, you are wrong, there is no such thing as brute facts. All facts must be interpreted.

  10. B Says:

    Score or Troll,

    You misunderstand science all together and don’t understand the difference between and theory and a LAW. It is called Newton’s Law of Gravity. Which is completely different from most of you statement. You should go back to school and learn what the difference between a Law and a theory.

    “You don’t even understand the basics about science. That is clear from your statement based upon the way you use the words “theories” and “fact”. If you understood these words, you would realize that a theory is not something less than a fact, but rather something much greater. A theory is either supported by facts or disproven by them. Gravity is a theory that is supported by the fact that I haven’t suddenly floated up away from my keyboard. Gravity is not a fact. Just as there is a tremendous amount of evidence (facts) that support the theory of gravity and that there or no facts which disprove it, there is also tremendous evidence that supports the theory of evolution and there is no evidence against it.”

    As I have already stated, it is a law of gravity not the theory so your entire argument goes out the window. You barely hold a candle to the statement taht was made about theories are not facts or truth.

    “No, actually Dawkins thinks that Jesus never actually existed at all but is rather a fictional character.”

    Well if this true than he really doesn’t like to look facts in the face. There is plenty of history of Jesus that show him not as a fictional character (btw where is the proof that he was fake?).

    “Don’t you see the lengths you must take your irrationality to continue to defend your belief in God?”

    Please explain why this is so. I think Troll isn’t a good enough description for a person who grasps at straws and doesn’t know the difference between a Law and a Theory. Remember this, Laws cannot be disproved and are thought as fact. Theories can be disproved which allows for a theory to change and bend around any information it pleases.

    Strawtroll- Please get your facts straight, definitions straight, the difference between laws and theories straight, and understand what you are truly staying with proof to back up your statement instead of making strawmans all over the place.

    Lastly, why will you not keep a flowing discussion? You make a statement, we make one back, and you come back on here as someone different so you don’t have to have a rational discussion/answer to what you ignorantly making statements (because I really think you are lacking education or knowledge in many of the basic areas).

  11. lauradee24 Says:

    Muahahahaha, now it is my turn to clutter up your comments space with my own personal beliefs! 😉

    During the course of my psych degree, I had to take a class in experimental design, so I can shed some light onto some of this. Whomever said that the “probably” is used because of proof issues is correct. You can’t prove negatives in science. You can only say “the current evidence points to X conclusion.” This is how come science can change so much. It is like me saying “There is probably no invisible purple dinosaur in my living room.” There is no evidence to point me to a purple dinosaur, but I can’t mean that one is not there. Putting the “probably” in is an example of good science. (And I know the creationist arguments and all that–I am telling you this to clarify their position.)

    As far as your actual post, telling someone to love the Lord their God with all their heart when they don’t even believe in God at all is a bit ridiculous. You would have to convince them that there is a God and that the Bible is accurate to get someone else to do it. You can believe that the Bible is true all you want and that its commands are valid. But you aren’t going to win an atheist that way anymore than a Muslim is going to be able to convert you to Islam because of what the Koran says. If you don’t believe in the authority of a religious book, you aren’t going to follow it.

    Also, prison is much harder psychologically than it is physically. Check out Zimbardo’s prison experiment. Interesting stuff.

    I do agree that not all Christians are unthinking, and I agree that it is unfair to lump them all into the same category. I have known plenty of thinking Christians, and I have known plenty who don’t think, too. A lot of people go to church and accept Christ and all that because their parents do or because it feels good. Those tend to be the Christians that give others a bad name. If that is all you have encountered, then that is all that you know of Christians. Pretty sad, really.
    Okay, that’s all I have to say.

  12. B Says:

    Ahh yes, the Zimbardo experiment. Although it is an interesting piece on the psychology and sociological issues in a prison, the Zimbardo experiment shows issues that are prior to current day prisons and laws. Additionally, the Zimbardo experiement had many flaws in it (like what boundaries that were used to distinguish between each person and the lack of supervision by Zimbardo himself!!!) I think comparing Zimbardo to actual prisons is a harsh and unreal comparison. It would be similar for me to use the basics of behavioral techniques used on Pavlov’s dog with ADHD children especially after new amounts technology and neuropsychology that surpass the basics of behavioral techniques.

    Psychological issues also affect those that can have psychological breakdowns, but what about those that are sociopaths and do not feel? Punishment may be something they do not like, but it doesn’t not bring anguish to them. Also, the Zimbardo experiment did some pretty bad things that most prisons cannot do such as restrict giving food, punishing prisoners without reasoning, and subjecting prisoners to punishment past confinement. But this brings me back to the comparison of Zimbardo’s experiment to prisons: comparing apples to oranges.

  13. Eric Kemp Says:

    Laura

    “Muahahahaha, now it is my turn to clutter up your comments space with my own personal beliefs!”

    I welcome the clutter!

    “Whomever said that the “probably” is used because of proof issues is correct. You can’t prove negatives in science.”

    I am well aware of this. Let me get back to this at the end as I fear it will be long . . .

    “As far as your actual post, telling someone to love the Lord their God with all their heart when they don’t even believe in God at all is a bit ridiculous.”

    I wasn’t attempting to tell Mr. Dawkins any such thing. Dawkins made the assertion that “thinking is an anathema to religion”. If Christians are supposed to be following Jesus Christ, and Christ told us to use our minds as the verse displays, then clearly thinking is an important part of correctly applied religion. I was merely showing Mr. Dawkins that the founder of Christianity commands His followers to think.

    “Also, prison is much harder psychologically than it is physically. Check out Zimbardo’s prison experiment. Interesting stuff. ”

    I’ll leave that to B.

    Ok, now onto the epistemological problem facing the atheistic worldview. Atheism views the human mind as the ultimate, and the only, source of true knowledge. The best way to get this knowledge is through scientific study. However, as we’ve agreed, you could never say anything “for sure” when it comes to scientific study, especially things we can’t observe. In fact, the situation is worse than that for atheists. As I don’t have the time to explain each phrase, I’m just going to throw them out there and hope that you know them already.

    Scientific study in itself is built upon the assumptions of induction, the uniformity of nature and cause and effect. Each of these do not and cannot have any evidence to support them (attempting to do so would just beg the question). Without these assumptions, science is useless. But it gets EVEN WORSE for atheists. Their entire belief system is based upon the assumptions of naturalism and uniformitarianism on top of the other three. In fact, when it comes down to it, atheists can’t know ANYTHING for sure, including the existence of reality and matter. Upon further reflection, it becomes clear that the term “atheistic epistemology” is a contradiction in terms. That’s my point with the “probably” business, it’s the best they can do. In fact, probably is even overstepping their bounds.

    That was a cursory and unexplained treatment of the problem of epistemology for atheists. If I need to elaborate on any of those, let me know.


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