This Will “Probably” Cause a Stir

A few weeks ago, I did a post on various atheist “campaigns.” Many of you who commented seemed to think the ads were purchased to drum up support/membership for the organizations that sponsored them. I felt that the efforts were aimed at a somewhat larger goal: to let others with religious doubts know that they’re not alone and/or to spur people to think about the possibility that god(s) do not exist.

Well I’m curious to know what you all think about this one. A new atheist bus campaign has just started all over England on 800 buses funded completely by donations. Clearly the donors are not looking to be repaid… so what’s behind it?

bus

I also find it curious, if you read through some of the comments at Dawkins’ site (linked above), that the Christian commenters really seem to take issue with the “probably”. I guess they see it as a weakness in the atheist argument, a fatal flaw that shows how empty the atheist view is. To me it is exactly what any scientifically-minded atheist/agnostic/realist/humanist should say. It is not a weakness of one’s position to be open to being wrong, openness is not a weakness… why would a Christian think that it is?

Oh, and do watch this video. Ariane Sherine is… well… er, you can see plainly what she is!

6 Responses

  1. There’s no weakness in the word ‘probably’, that’s for sure.

    For example, you can not state with 100% certainty that there are no unicorns so to be technically correct you’d have to state “there are probably no unicorns”.

  2. While this makes me giggle and titter with joy to see, I doubt that it will really have much effect on “believers” other than to enrage the fanatical and turn off the devout. I mean, it’s not like they decided to believe based on what is printed on the side of a bus. Then again, there can be no doubt that marketing works. More hot chicks and sexy advertising may just turn the tide.

  3. Because Christianity doesn’t leave room for probably. I think if you believe in God you can’t believe there is “probably” a God. Probably, as Christianily goes, is doubt which is a sin. Maybe they believe that if they are so firmly entrenched in their convictions of an absolutely, positively God – then the other side must also be firmly entrench in their convictions of an absolutely, positively not God. But – if those who don’t blindly believe there is a God are also open to accept that they may be wrong then it means that maybe Atheists aren’t as wrong as they thought they were and are really just potentially doubting Christians – and it’s all or nothing.

  4. Well, there are plenty of Christian agnostics, and plenty of Christians who are pluralists, and plenty of Christians who prefer epistemic humility to unknowable certainties, but they wouldn’t be posting protests about the signs.

    I suspect the people who do protest the signs probably? without a doubt? think agnostic Christians, pluralist Christians, etc. are all heretics . . . there’s a distinction between fundamentalist absolutisms and Christianity, though.

  5. I’m sure you are right. I feel like the ones who are bothering to get their panties in a bind about the word “probably” are the ones who are all or nothing people. I don’t think Christianity is bad but I think it’s been bastardized by many and deviated from the lovely story of a guy who just wanted everyone to get along.

  6. He was a heretic . . .

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