Archive for March 11th, 2009

Where encouragement to think is equated to hatred

March 11, 2009

There was some recent noise last month about the atheist bus ads in Toronto. You may recall that the ads by the Humanists Association of Ottowa state :

There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life,

In response to this rather innocuous expression of doubt and rejoinder to enjoy life, Theresa Milligan states:

When statements are said that God probably does not exist, this is an implied statement of hatred towards all those who do believe that God exists.

Huh? I can’t quite seem to follow the connecting logic here. If I say that Visual Basic is probably not the best programming language to use, am I admitting to an implied hatred of all Visual Basic programmers? If I state that reality is probably best expressed in terms of string theory, am I also saying that I hate all advocates of quantum loop gravity? If I had a child with an imaginary friend, does the realization that the imaginary friend does not exist imply a hatred of my child? Theresa Milligan needs to read up on how critical thinking works. When I, or many others, state that a god or multiplicity of gods, probably does not or do not exist, there is no implication of hatred towards any group that happens to think otherwise. We may think the beliefs are silly and childish, but that is nowhere near being equivalent to hating the people holding the childish beliefs.

Finally, from the article:

Mercier said OC Transpo permits run advertisements informing people of the date, time and place of religious gatherings or events. Ads promoting a specific dogma that might be prejudicial or offensive to other groups using the transit system are not permitted.

I don’t really see how a statement of probability with a possible trigger to think a little bit is a specific dogma. I certainly am not offended when asked to critically examine certain assumptions I may hold. Perhaps encouragement to enjoy life is the dogma to which they are referring? I can see how that could be offensive to say Westboro Baptists and the Phelps clan.