FaithWorld

Atheist bus ad campaigns stalling in Germany

March 20, 2009

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The Atheist Bus Campaign, launched in London by the best-selling biologist Richard Dawkins, has been copied in 10 countries, mostly but not always with success. It seems to have stalled in Germany. The campaign there, which has its own website called www.buskampagne.de, reports that the transit authorities in Berlin, Cologne and Munich have turned down their requests to run the ads. The campaign will continue trying to run the ads in other German cities.

The campaign asked contributors to choose among different suggested ad formats and the one below won. All three say in the first line “There is (almost certainly) no God.” It’s interesting that they add that qualifier,  which literally translates as “with a probability bordering on certainty.” Could it be they’re not that convinced after all?

The second lines vary and they translate as (1) “A fulfilled life doesn’t need faith.” (2) “Values are human — it’s up to us” and (3) “Enlightenment means taking responsibility.”

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(The spoof bus ad above was generated with a photo by Jon Worth/atheistbus.org.uk)
Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

It’s interesting that the author tries to belittle the slogan for not insisting that there is absolutely no chance that God exists. I think that is a key crime of those who employ faith: they lie about the extent of their knowledge. How often have you heard a preacher or any believer say, “there is a possibility that we are wrong. It could be that this was all made up by men. Perhaps God does not really exist”?

Atheists (and most everyone else) can be convinced that something is true, without claiming that there is no possibility that we are wrong.

But for a believer to be honest about the certainty of their “knowledge” would often make them feel like they are doing something wrong. Why do you think that is? Group pressure to keep the faith? Why can’t believers be honest with us, with themselves, with children?

Posted by Greg Vande Krol | Report as abusive
 

How can you possible conclude from

“There is (almost certainly) no God.” It’s interesting that they add that qualifier, which literally translates as “with a probability bordering on certainty.”

that

Could it be they’re not that convinced after all?

The “probably” is crucial to distinguish a methodology based on reason, science, skepticism and open inquiry from one closed down by faith and dogma. That is why we chose to use the word in our Canadian campaign.

 

One question which could be voiced in this context (concerning the so called “an Sicherheit grenzende Wahrscheinlichkeit”, literal translation: “probability bordering on (!) certainty”)…:

a. Does probability *border on* certainty?
b. If this were the case: would, from a logical perspective, vice versa, not also certainty have to border on probability? (!)
c. Is the whole phrase of a (so called) “probability bordering on (!) certainty” a serious and scientific one?

What about works, in this field, who cast (serious, scientific) doubt on whether probability borders on certainty?

Furthermore: it does not have to be forgotten that this (exact: these two (!)) sentences (“Es gibt …/Es gibt mit an Sicherheit grenzender …”) are two *statements*
(in the sense of “Behauptungen”)…

Generally speaking: Everyone can state everything.
But how are such sentences to be falsified? What is the way of doing so?

Again: To make statements and position them in public:
that is one aspect of the actual campaign: scientific???

And:

d. what about the works of e.g. Dubben/Beck-Bornholdt (Title: “Mit an Wahrscheinlichkeit grenzender Sicherheit: Logisches Denken und Zufall”, literal translation: “With a probability (!) bordering on certainty: logical thinking and coincidence”), a booktitle, which already – ironically – underlines the pseudo-scientific (verbal, flowering phrase-”supported”) ‘formula’ (precise: hollow phrase) of a (so called, erroneously) ‘probability bordering on certainty’?

e. Furthermore: what about several (!) works of e.g. Georg Schilling (one title e.g.: “Die so genannte ‘an Sicherheit grenzende Wahrscheinlichkeit”; or “Die “Triple A”-Ratingsymbole und die “an Sicherheit grenzende Wahrscheinlichkeit”?, Grin publishers, 2009) which cast (serious, fact-bound, down-to earth) doubt on what is – even in the field of so called ‘AAA’-rated bonds – referred to as a (so called) ‘probability bordering on certainty’? What about these scientific texts?

f. … Let alone the fact, that one – from a serious, not pseudo-scientific point of view might, e.g. with respect to e.g. Stupedidia (see the entry “an Sicherheit grenzende Wahrscheinlichkeit”: http://www.stupidedia.org/stupi/An_Siche rheit_grenzende_Wahrscheinlichkeit) might as: where is the (implied, supposed) *extreme value* (limit value) of that empty phrase ???

Posted by Schilling | Report as abusive
 

Dear Schilling (Georg, I presume?)– anyone who can ask such a wonderful question must be able to read between the lines and see why I like covering these topics!

“a. Does probability *border on* certainty?
b. If this were the case: would, from a logical perspective, vice versa, not also certainty have to border on probability? (!)”

The fact that this question can also be applied to AAA-bonds makes this a very Reuter-ish issue. Maybe the traders who subscribe to our financial services needed a bit more training in philosophy rather than economic engineering.:-)

BTW, the link to the amusing Studpedia entry doesn’t work. Here’s the URL at http://bit.ly/cvhAEo.

Posted by tomheneghan | Report as abusive
 

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