Friday, 9 January 2009

Probably Going to Get Turned Down

I see with regret that Stephen Green of Christian Voice has fallen right into the trap laid out by the Atheist Agnostic* bus campaign. He is snared in a heffalump trap of his own making. Some of my fellow Lib Dems will be smiling with glee but I just struck my forehead firmly to my hand.

The advert's wording is:

There's probably no God.
Now stop worrying and enjoy yourself.

It is being displayed on buses up and down the country. But Mr Green is one of 57 complainants to the Advertising Standard Commission. Now I'm happy for him to decide to do that because we live in a free and democratic society that allows him to voice his opinion. However, it is argument he gives that makes me cringe. He says:

"It is given as a statement of fact and that means it must be capable of
substantiation if it is not to break the rules.

"There is plenty of evidence for God, from people's personal
experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural

"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."

Ok lets take a look at the two statements. It a court of law the use of the word probably would not count as being beyond reasonable doubt. Probably still suggests that is possibly some probability that you are wrong. Foot in mouth one.

Foot in mouth two comes in last two paragraphs of Mt Green's comments. He says there is scant evidence for the counter cause to theism, whilst listing what a court of law would deem the circumstantial evidence for theism. You see Stephen Green has forgotten one thing with his conviction in these statements, the evidence that he has talked about needs more that just those personal experiences. To link the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world requires a faith in a deity.

Now if you please all turn in you pew or hotel room bible or look up at the bus advertising hoarding on the wall over you head. And turn please to Hebrew's chapter 11 and verse 1 we find:

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not
seen. "

Sadly Stephen you conviction that there is a God is the same as mine, not solely based on the things you listed above, but in association with that faith. A faith of things yet to come and conviction of things we have not seen.

By your own argument Churches should also be banned by the ASA from advertising and therefore I know that your complaint will fail. It only succeeds in doing one thing giving a little bit more publicity to the opposition's view point.

Of course the British Humanist society should probably have used the word "possibly" in the ad if they wanted avoid so many complaints. But then the end result is possibly just the exact reason why they ended up going with "probably".

*As the campaign says has the word "probably" in it rather saying an atheistic "There is no god" it clearly is false advertising by the press to call this agnosticism an Atheist Bus Advert.

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