This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Godless Billboards in Reno; Banner in Nevada Day Parade

Godless Billboards in Reno; Banner in Nevada Day Parade - Comments

Sample's Avatar Comment 1 by Sample

That's one big sign. I can see it from Alaska.

Mike

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 20:33:42 UTC | #884046

Richie P's Avatar Comment 2 by Richie P

Sarah Palin can see it from Alaska as well. Just as clearly as she can see Russia!

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 20:57:16 UTC | #884053

GPWC's Avatar Comment 3 by GPWC

I like this one a lot. Simple message and easy to read.

I also like the way all these poster campaigns are using different slogans and different styles. It's an attack on all fronts.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 21:17:31 UTC | #884057

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

I am pretty good without god, but I was pretty bad with him!

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 21:33:26 UTC | #884063

jel's Avatar Comment 5 by jel

Keep them coming, the ball is rolling & it mustn't stop.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 21:40:09 UTC | #884065

popsaw's Avatar Comment 6 by popsaw

Is anybody contesting this though, that you can only be good if you believe in God? You can also be bad without belief in God. Goodness is driven by a well trained conscience. The big question is the actual essence and origin of the conscience. Unanswerable scientifically. Also, our conscience tells us that murder is wrong but what about difficult areas such as recreational drug use. Is that good or bad? Without objective morality , who is to say?

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 22:12:31 UTC | #884075

Problem Solved's Avatar Comment 7 by Problem Solved

Oh no you didn't. You're far too obvious. God is not the only possible source of "objective morality", as a matter of fact, god can not be the source of "objective morality". Your mistaken demand for objectivity is based on your preexisting conclusion that god exists, rather than an honest exploration of morality. Your assertion that goodness comes from conscience is a similar oversimplification, as if conscience was some entity, completely independent of learning and cognition. It is certainly answerable scientifically. You just have to explore, rather than lazily invoking magical entities to answer your questions for you.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 22:44:35 UTC | #884084

steve oberski's Avatar Comment 8 by steve oberski

@popsaw

The nature of the human conscience is quite amenable to scientific inquiry.

Neuroscience is shedding light on many aspects of human behavior previously relegated to the domain of religion and mysticism.

We are now seeing that there is a neurological basis to human behavior in general and morality specifically.

Questions about the "morality" of recreational drug, for example, are answerable without reference to an objective morality. One can go back 200 years to the "harm reduction" ethical theories of John Stuart Mill and find answers to questions like these based on a set of ethical precepts derived from secular humanist principles.

Typically when one uses the term "objective morality" what you really mean are a set of rules developed by a bronze age nomadic/tribal society that didn't even understand germ theory and promulgated via holy books that are claimed to be the command of an invisible sky fairy. What these rules have in common is that they are xenophobic, genocidal, homophobic and misogynistic in nature and have nothing to offer modern society and in fact are a distinct threat to our global civilization.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 22:54:22 UTC | #884087

Problem Solved's Avatar Comment 9 by Problem Solved

P.S. @popsaw, If there is something to be learned from your comment, it's that objective morality is not the source of conscience. If it were, then one moral question would be no more difficult than any other. You have admitted that this is not the case.

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 23:01:38 UTC | #884092

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 10 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 6 by popsaw

Is anybody contesting this though, that you can only be good if you believe in God?

The author of the gospel of Mark says that Jesus said "only God is good", let alone only being good if ya believe in Go. Mark 10:18, or is that not right?

You can also be bad without belief in God.

No one here will contest that.

Goodness is driven by a well trained conscience.

Bollocks.

The big question is the actual essence and origin of the conscience.

More bollocks.

Unanswerable scientifically.

How do you know that?

Also, our conscience tells us that murder is wrong......

So you think all murder is wrong? Who decides?

.....but what about difficult areas such as recreational drug use. Is that good or bad? Without objective morality , who is to say?

There is no objective morality...so yes, who is to say? You do know that alcohol is a recreational drug, right?

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 23:35:28 UTC | #884098

78rpm's Avatar Comment 11 by 78rpm

"...good without God" still presupposes the existence of God. Much, much better would be "...good without religion."

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:26:25 UTC | #884106

SheerReason's Avatar Comment 12 by SheerReason

My state and two neighboring states were listed among those where these ad campaigns are taking place, but sadly, I've yet to see one. We've had several digital billboards go up in recent years. Those would be ideal since the cost is much less to advertise on those.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:55:51 UTC | #884110

mysticjbyrd's Avatar Comment 13 by mysticjbyrd

Comment 11 by 78rpm :

"...good without God" still presupposes the existence of God. Much, much better would be "...good without religion."

Agreed.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 01:04:10 UTC | #884111

ColorMeAtheist's Avatar Comment 14 by ColorMeAtheist

I'm been happy all day long since these billboards went up. Don't know how Reno will react to it, so it'll be interesting!

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 01:18:41 UTC | #884114

Feuerbach's Avatar Comment 15 by Feuerbach

They'll have to call Reno 911 for a religious emergency.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 03:59:42 UTC | #884135

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 16 by alaskansee

For accuracy, I'd like to see an 's in that ad and less respect for monotheism.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 05:24:26 UTC | #884146

Sci Fi's Avatar Comment 17 by Sci Fi

I'm with 78rpm, mysticbyrd and alaskansee.

Spread the net wider.

I can also see why just 'God' though, being the 'local' bogey-man in the US.

Still, "Gods" or "Religion" I think are a more accurate definition for the boards.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 05:43:39 UTC | #884150

mmurray's Avatar Comment 18 by mmurray

Comment 6 by popsaw :

Is anybody contesting this though, that you can only be good if you believe in God?

Yes lots of people. Like all the people who wouldn't vote for a US President who was an atheist.

You can also be bad without belief in God.

You can also be bad with belief in gods.

Goodness is driven by a well trained conscience.

Rubbish.

The big question is the actual essence and origin of the conscience. Unanswerable scientifically.

Total rubbish. It's quite easy to make a plausible hypothesis linking our evolution as a social species to our development of what we call a conscience. Evidence for this is the difficulty we have extending our conscience to the treatment of humans we have decided are "others".

Also, our conscience tells us that murder is wrong but what about difficult areas such as recreational drug use. Is that good or bad? Without objective morality , who is to say?

But if instead your morality is built around assessing the harm that an action might do then you can draw some sensible conclusions.

Michael

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 06:22:26 UTC | #884158

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 19 by susanlatimer

Comment 16 by alaskansee

For accuracy, I'd like to see an 's in that ad and less respect for monotheism.

I think we should never forget how important that point is. The word "god" is meaningless and concedes a number of arguments that monotheists have failed to establish. People should not accept the word "god" without demanding a very clear definition for the term and requesting some evidence.

Come to think of it, if there were a very clear definition accompanied by evidence, there'd be no need for billboards, would there? That's the whole point.

"Religion" doesn't work because of the gazillions of Christians and Wooists who "believe in god but don't believe in religion". (Remember people, Christianity is not a religion, it's a "relationship"... w-ever tf that means.)

So "gods" seems to be the only way to go. It's at the heart of the issue. It brings them face-to-face with the reality that billions of creatures just like them have believed and do believe in a god/gods that are different from the gods/god in which they believe.

It's really not nitpicking. One letter makes a lot of difference.

Maybe it should be "a god" or they'll think it's about the Hindus and the pagans. ("That's not us, honey because we have a relationship with Jesus who is the one true God.")

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 06:33:50 UTC | #884159

popsaw's Avatar Comment 20 by popsaw

Going back to recreational drug use I will use the following example in an effort to ascertain whether 'humanism' can provide moral guidance on grey areas such as self harm, suicide, drug use, abortion etc.

A man lives alone on a solitary island and is a constant heavy user of heroin. His addiction whilst harmful to himself does not cause him to others, especially as he has no communication with the outside world. From a humanist view, is his drug habit 1)Moral 2) immoral 3) neither?.... Please explain.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 09:03:22 UTC | #884180

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 21 by Alan4discussion

Comment 6 by popsaw

Is that good or bad? Without objective morality , who is to say?

You would need a definition of "objective morality"! What is clear is that accepting a list of "good & bad" activities or laws on faith is not in the least bit "objective"! It involves no evaluation of the outcomes at all!

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 09:05:26 UTC | #884182

mmurray's Avatar Comment 22 by mmurray

Comment 20 by popsaw :

Going back to recreational drug use I will use the following example in an effort to ascertain whether 'humanism' can provide moral guidance on grey areas such as self harm, suicide, drug use, abortion etc.

A man lives alone on a solitary island and is a constant heavy user of heroin. His addiction whilst harmful to himself does not cause him to others, especially as he has no communication with the outside world. From a humanist view, is his drug habit 1)Moral 2) immoral 3) neither?.... Please explain.

Can you explain why the heroin is harmful to him ?

Like most opioids, unadulterated Heroin doesn't cause many long-term complications other than dependence and constipation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroin#Adverse_effects

Michael

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 09:19:20 UTC | #884187

popsaw's Avatar Comment 23 by popsaw

Can you explain why the heroin is harmful to him ?

for arguments sake, let's just accept that it is . You may substitute heroin for another harmful substance if you wish but your question is a diversion (it raises an issue irrelevant to the question) from the issue of whether morality exists where there is nobody to be affected by ones actions other than oneself.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:19:37 UTC | #884201

GPWC's Avatar Comment 24 by GPWC

Comment 11 by 78rpm :

"...good without God" still presupposes the existence of God. Much, much better would be "...good without religion."

Good comment, but not so punchy, of course.

Comment 16 by alaskansee :

For accuracy, I'd like to see an 's in that ad and less respect for monotheism.

Good suggestion - this is what makes RD.net so good. Note to myself: "I must remember to put the 's' in at all times".

However, in this case, for the audience these boards are aimed at, I'd say the advert is just right. It goes straight to heart of the matter - their God, without qualification. Next time though, add the 's' and see what reaction that gets. It's a great one-two.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:20:36 UTC | #884202

mmurray's Avatar Comment 25 by mmurray

Comment 23 by popsaw :

Can you explain why the heroin is harmful to him ?

for arguments sake, let's just accept that it is . You may substitute heroin for another harmful substance if you wish but your question is a diversion (it raises an issue irrelevant to the question) from the issue of whether morality exists where there is nobody to be affected by ones actions other than oneself.

So why not just skip the ill informed hypothetical and ask the question? It's your hypothetical which is the diversion.

Would I think it was moral for me to do anything if it doesn't affect anyone else? I might like to expand anyone to include animals and extra-terrestrials if they exist but I think I would say yes. Maybe there is a catch to this I haven't thought about because in reality it is virtually impossible to act in a way that does't affect others.

Michael

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:27:42 UTC | #884204

popsaw's Avatar Comment 26 by popsaw

Would I think it was moral for me to do anything if it doesn't affect anyone else? I might like to expand anyone to include animals and extra-terrestrials if they exist but I think I would say yes. Maybe there is a catch to this I haven't thought about because in reality it is virtually impossible to act in a way that does't affect others

So if the view that morality only exists where there exists potential harm to other humans (or animals), It follows that no act can be considered immoral where no other person other than oneself can be harmed. Therefore, consensual adult homosexual incest is not an immoral act, neither would it be immoral to be a paedophile or racist as long as those views are not acted on. I

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:55:47 UTC | #884208

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 27 by drumdaddy

I'm also good without Santa Claus, but such a billboard might anger a few parents.

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:55:51 UTC | #884209

mmurray's Avatar Comment 28 by mmurray

Comment 26 by popsaw :

So if the view that morality only exists where there exists potential harm to other humans (or animals), It follows that no act can be considered immoral where no other person other than oneself can be harmed. Therefore, consensual adult homosexual incest is not an immoral act,

No.

neither would it be immoral to be a paedophile or racist as long as those views are not acted on.

Not immoral but the person might be happier if they got some psychological help. Most people find it really hard not to act upon their sexual impulses.

I've never been keen on the Thought Police since reading 1984.

Michael

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 11:05:14 UTC | #884215

popsaw's Avatar Comment 29 by popsaw

Not immoral but the person might be happier if they got some psychological help. Most people find it really hard not to act upon their sexual impulses.

Am I correct in saying that your view is that paedophilia is not immoral but child abuse is since it harms another. Therefore, paedophilia is never immoral, merely a psychological problem? Also, do you think racism is a psychological problem where it's propenents actually believe there is a scientific case for the view of ingherent racial superiority.?

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 11:18:13 UTC | #884222

mmurray's Avatar Comment 30 by mmurray

Comment 29 by popsaw :

Not immoral but the person might be happier if they got some psychological help. Most people find it really hard not to act upon their sexual impulses.

Am I correct in saying that your view is that paedophilia is not immoral but child abuse is since it harms another. Therefore, paedophilia is never immoral, merely a psychological problem?

Paedophilia usually means that one is acting as a paedophile. That is how the law regards it. We don't lock up people just for "being" paedophiles.

That said how many examples are there of a people who are paedophiles but never act upon it, never look at a child and upset them, never download pornography. It's a hypothetical like your drug addict on a desert island.

Also, do you think racism is a psychological problem where it's propenents actually believe there is a scientific case for the view of ingherent racial superiority.?

I never said racism was a psychological problem.

Where are we going with this ? I said I wasn't in favour of Thought Police. Are you ? Or are you just about to announce that I have proved some god exists ?

Michael

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 11:25:13 UTC | #884226