It’s a shame I’m not around in the UK to see the fruits of the atheist bus campaign trundling around the capital telling everyone that “there’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
Still, even from this distance it’s nice to see something positive in the news for once.
Of course it was inevitable that someone would start complaining about it eventually, and it’s no surprise to see that it’s the notoriously publicity shy Stephen Green (he of Jerry Springer The Opera fame) who has stepped up to the plate.
According to the BBC, his complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency is on the basis that the atheist bus ads “break rules on substantiation and truthfulness”. Apparently the ASA’s code states that “marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims”.
Now I suspect that this will probably be thrown out by the ASA at least in part because of the use of the word “probably” in the phrasing of the slogan–I’m sure Carlsberg never had or needed documentary evidence to support their claim that their fizzy piss represented the pinnacle of brewing excellence–but I wonder if it could have some more far reaching consequences.
In fact, I wonder if perhaps Stephen Green is really an atheist mole, working deep undercover as a religious nutter. He’s already managed to get the UK’s blasphemy laws abolished, thanks to his hard work on the Springer case. Is this latest campaign designed to get rid of all religious advertising of any sort in the UK?
Because if the atheists have to prove their claims, then so do the people behind any religious advertising. And as no one can ever possibly prove or disprove the existence of God, then it will all have to go (and no, Stephen, “documentary evidence” does not mean quoting from some book that some people made up a couple of thousand years ago…). On the other hand, if the ads get to stay on the buses, then all he’s done is give the atheist message a lot of extra publicity.
All of which is a fiendishly clever scheme. I wonder if he got the idea from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
Now, it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some have chosen to see it as the final proof of the NON-existence of God. The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.” “But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that You exist, and so therefore, by Your own arguments, You don’t. QED” “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. “Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.