[ExI] atheists de-baptize unbelievers

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Jul 22 14:03:56 UTC 2010

regarding the "atheist bus", Giulio wrote:
"However, I wish to note that the word "probably" used in this context
reveals a poor understanding of the notion of probability in its rigorous
Bayesian sense, and thus a poor understanding of much of modern science."

Their use of "probably" is not driven by Bayesian logic or their arguments. It is driven by the fact it is an advertisement in the UK, and therefore has to be obey UK advertising law if they A) want to keep the campaign going more than a few days without it being pulled and B) want to avoid "atheists too militant to read the rules" headlines.

Under the UK rules, you can't make any claims that can't be firmly backed up - hence the cosmetic adverts using weasel words like "up to", or quoting clinical studies based on pitifully small sample sizes, with the study size appearing in very small print. As Prof Dawkins' supporters cannot 100% disprove the existence of God in a court of law, they can't state it as a fact in an advert. They could use a quote "There is no God, so stop worrying - Richard Dawkins", and indeed this is how some religious groups advertise, as they can quote the Bible or Koran as long as it appears in quote marks and the source of the quote is named. However, rather than use a quote, they decided inserting the word "probably" was a better way of working with the law.



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