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Monday, January 19, 2009

Does Dawkins still have any connection to science?

Memo to bus passengers stranded in massive snowstorm:

Don't worry! Be happy! Don't be in such a hurry! There's probably no God ...

... and if you freeze to death by the side of the road, no one cares ...
Don't worry! Be happy!

Apparently, a Christian bus driver has refused to drive a bus with one of Dawkins's slogans proclaiming that "There's probably no God: Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." plastered on the side.

Like commenter jstanley, addressing this post on Dawkins's bus ad campaign, I am mystified why anyone holding a pink slip, foreclosure notice, or list of pills to start - prior to dreadful cancer treatment - would be especially happy to learn that there is probably no God.

And today, those people are pretty numerous, too ...

(Pssst! There probably is a God. So pray anyway. It might help, and can't hurt.)

Actually, it's odd, and quite sad, to see the career of Dawkins, Oxford's once Professor of the Public Understanding of Science end this way - raising funds for anti-God transit ads. But that's his supporters' problem.

He himself claims that he fears that his atheism campaign is losing to religion. Obviously not for lack of publicity or attention, so most likely for lack of substance.

That said, I'm antsy about bus drivers refusing to drive the bus if they don't approve of the ad on the side. Drivers have various opinions, but so do advertisers. And no passenger wants to be stranded.

My view? A Christian bus driver should review the causes his lefty union is actually supporting out of his compulsory dues, rather than refuse to drive the bus because of an ad on the side.

(Personally, I'd love to get rid of all the ads that feature models who - quite honestly - dress and pose like hookers, and are unhealthily (or dishonestly?) thin. But if I were driving the bus, I would just drive the bus, and pray each and every day that the companies who sponsor those ads lose a ton of money - and take all reasonable private actions to ensure that they do.)

From the story in The Times,

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: "I have difficulty understanding why people with particular religious beliefs find the expression of a different sort of beliefs to be offensive.

"I can't understand why some people seem to have a different attitude when it comes to atheists."

Pressure group Christian Voice has questioned the campaign's effectiveness but the Methodist Church said it would be a "good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life" and suggested it showed there was a "continued interest in God".

The advertisements run on 200 bendy buses in London and 600 vehicles in England, Scotland and Wales.

I wonder whether Hanne Stinson would mind if Christian or other religious organizations ran ads fronting their own views? Not trashing anyone else, just fronting their own views? Or would that be "advertising religion" - somehow totally different from what Dawkins is funding?

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