All aboard the Atheist Bus



  • Whilst this isn't strictly a WTF, I thought you guys would appreciate this one.

    The Atheist Bus Campaign

    The campaign was initially hoping to raise £5500 in the six months between now and April '09. It reached that total in JUST OVER ONE HOUR, and is now snowballing like crazy as you can see from the donations page. At the time of posting (about 30 hours after launch) the total stands at £66,000!



    There are definitely a few WTFs coming out of this, not least a statement from Paul Woolley, director of "Theos" (a church think-tank):

    "At first, we almost felt sorry for the campaign, as its difficulties showed that there were not many atheists in Britain, and certainly not many who were willing to put their hands in their pocket."

    Exceeding your six-month target by 1000% within 24 hours is a very creative definition of "difficulties"...



  • TRWTF about this is that people are actually worrying because they believe in god.

    God has been "invented" to easy people's lives and to help them lose their worries, not to achieve the opposite.

    But then again, probably no one in the world shares my opinion on religion.

    @rc_pinchey said:

    Exceeding your six-month target by 1000% within 24 hours is a very creative definition of "difficulties"...

    Sad thing, but image is everything, even for religious instances for which this should never be the case...



  • when i read the OPs first sentence, i was planning a witty post about the funny forum.. but now i have just made my donation, cant wait to get on one of these in the morning.

    £73,392.17 now.



  • Wow. Just ... wow. It was around £11k when The Register reported on this. Then again, the UK doesn't have many religious nutters, as there is no big "boycott this campaign! Burn the sinners!" campaign yet.

    Note: The donate button runs javascript:setPledge(false). Some kind of inner joke?



  • @derula said:

    TRWTF about this is that people are actually worrying because they believe in god.

    I believe but don't worry. Imagine if someone ran an ad campaign that said:

    "There's probably no physics. So stop worrying and enjoy your life."

    There are two components to this. First, it's wrong. Hideously, unbelievably, catastrophically wrong. Nothing good can possibly come of believing there is no such thing as physics.

    Second, it gives you some pretty good advice: stop worrying and enjoy your life. That's a good idea. More people should do that.

    So imagine, if you will, the repercussions of this ad campaign. Does it change the fact that physics do, indeed, exist? Nope. Not one bit. All the physicists will keep their jobs, the physics department at every major university will keep getting good quality applicants, the research will still be funded, nothing will change. Because the laws of physics are real, and whether you believe in them doesn't change anything. If we changed the story and said "God makes it work that way because that's how He wants it", which is precisely what a lot of fundamentalists want you to believe, the laws wouldn't change.

    But maybe - just maybe - some people will stop worrying and enjoy their lives.

    I suggest that perhaps this is more important than whether they believe what I believe. I believe in physics, and I believe in God. They are simply facts. There doesn't have to be any consensus on them. They are what they are, and your belief or lack thereof will not change them. You don't need the laws of physics to know that if you drop something very heavy very far, it is likely to break something or be broken itself; you can figure that out yourself. You also don't need God to tell you that if you lie and steal and make free with other men's wives, polite society will not approve, and it is likely to end badly for you. You can just stop worrying and enjoy your life, and you'll figure this stuff out on your own. You don't need a class in physics or a belief in God to live a good and sensible life.

    But if you're a big zealot for either one, and you run around being a big jackass about it, demanding that everyone believe what you believe... guess what? Polite society will not approve, and it is likely to end badly for you.

    So I'm going to stop worrying and enjoy my life, and I recommend everyone else do the same. Believe what you want. :)



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    Note: The donate button runs javascriptsetPledge(false). Some kind of inner joke?

    Nahh.  It just means they're disabling the furniture polish feature.



  • Neither physics nor dieties are facts (in the sense that they are or can be proven). The difference is that there is observable evidence supporting the theories in physics, whereas dieties are pure imagination.



  • @ahnfelt said:

    Neither physics nor dieties are facts (in the sense that they are or can be proven).

    You can't prove 1 is 1, either, but it's still a fact that it is. It just doesn't tell us anything or get us anywhere - basically, 1 is 1 by definition; it is what it is because we say it is; it proves itself by its own existence. That may be bad logic that sounds stupid, but it's still true.

    Similarly, you can prove a given definition of 1 cannot be true, but that doesn't prove there is no 1. If I say "1 is a natural number less than all other natural numbers", we might hit the question of whether 0 is a natural number. Does zero occur in nature? Well, it sure does - happens all the time. How many dinosaurs are living today? Zero! QED. But all you're really arguing there is a definition. Proving that the definition is wrong doesn't prove that there is no 1. It just proves you need a new definition. Insisting that 0 is a natural number just means I have to say something like "a positive integer less than all other positive integers".

    But by the same token, I don't have to accept your definition of natural numbers. I can say that for purposes of my definition and the surrounding discussions, which may be voluminous and non-editable, the term "natural numbers" does not include zero. That wherever in this set of documentation you see the phrase "natural number", you should think "positive integer". It is simply implausible to go through all of it and change the terms; you are an adult human being with a rational mind and considerable intellect, and you can grasp the concept with little difficulty.

    That doesn't mean you have to change your terms so natural numbers don't include zero. Just like we have Apple computer and Apple records, and nobody gets confused because there's context around it.

    Adonai echad.



  • You can prove things within systems comprised of axioms of your choice. However, when I was talking about physics, I meant the part that seeks to model nature. We don't know the axioms of that unfortunatly. Exact science (well, math) is bliss. Nothing in nature is so by definition (except to religious people).

    On a related note:

    How do you know zero dinosaurs are alive today?

    You don't. In general you can't ever know things on the form "X does not exist" in nature, because you can never be sure you've examined all candidates for X. There's a funny example of white vs. black swans if you search for it.

    But there's plenty of evidence that they are extinct, so I guess you can call it a fact in this sense. In scientific context, I would prefer to call it a theory, since it implies that it has to predict something (I won't find any dinosaurs) to be useful, and the possibility that I may be proven wrong ("No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." - Einstein).



  • Wouldn't "There's probably no god" be the agnostic bus?



  • @CDarklock said:

    @ahnfelt said:

    Neither physics nor dieties are facts (in the sense that they are or can be proven).

    You can't prove 1 is 1, either, but it's still a fact that it is. It just doesn't tell us anything or get us anywhere - basically, 1 is 1 by definition; it is what it is because we say it is; it proves itself by its own existence. That may be bad logic that sounds stupid, but it's still true.

    Similarly, you can prove a given definition of 1 cannot be true, but that doesn't prove there is no 1. If I say "1 is a natural number less than all other natural numbers", we might hit the question of whether 0 is a natural number. Does zero occur in nature? Well, it sure does - happens all the time. How many dinosaurs are living today? Zero! QED. But all you're really arguing there is a definition. Proving that the definition is wrong doesn't prove that there is no 1. It just proves you need a new definition. Insisting that 0 is a natural number just means I have to say something like "a positive integer less than all other positive integers".

    But by the same token, I don't have to accept your definition of natural numbers. I can say that for purposes of my definition and the surrounding discussions, which may be voluminous and non-editable, the term "natural numbers" does not include zero. That wherever in this set of documentation you see the phrase "natural number", you should think "positive integer". It is simply implausible to go through all of it and change the terms; you are an adult human being with a rational mind and considerable intellect, and you can grasp the concept with little difficulty.

    That doesn't mean you have to change your terms so natural numbers don't include zero. Just like we have Apple computer and Apple records, and nobody gets confused because there's context around it.

    Adonai echad.

     

     

    If you can't prove that 1 is one or 一 than you cannot prove that a is a hence you cannot prove language either. Hence, we have a problem.

     

    And BTW The Real WTF is that their "progress bar" still shows 100% reached.



  • @CDarklock said:

    But if you're a big zealot for either one, and you run around being a big jackass about it, demanding that everyone believe what you believe... guess what? Polite society will not approve, and it is likely to end badly for you.

    What's so impolite about being a "physics zealot"?  Who are you going to offend, the Flat Earth Society?  It's just not a controversial subject, and you CAN expect people to believe in the same physics.  Generally if they don't, they're "wrong".  (example: aspiring perpetual motion machine patent holders)



    Overall, I think you picked a bad comparison, really.



  • @ahnfelt said:

    You can prove things within systems comprised of axioms of your choice.

    My point is that you can't prove the axiom no matter who chooses it. This is the very centre of Godel's incompleteness theorem: there exist things you can't prove. They still exist. The fact that they exist is still a fact. The inability to prove it - ironically enough - does not prove anything.

    @ahnfelt said:

    How do you know zero dinosaurs are alive today?

    The question is irrelevant. Ask whatever question you want to reach the consensus that zero is a natural number. The point is that if one group has used a term to mean something, and another group uses that term to mean something else, it is a fallacy of equivocation to switch the definitions. You have to read the first group's use of that term under the first definition, and the second group's use of that term under the second definition. They are - in effect - speaking different languages. If you want to talk to that group, you have to use their word to mean their definition. You do not get to complain that you have a different word in your language, or that new information should force them to go back and change all their records. That just means you don't really want to talk to them.



  • @dml said:

    What's so impolite about being a "physics zealot"?

    Normal Person: "Ahh, that breeze is so nice and cool."

    Physics Zealot: "Actually, it's the evaporating sweat that provides the cooling sensation. Technically, the motion of the air against your skin is generating heat through friction."

    Normal Person: "STFU and get off my porch."

    Okay, "normal" is probably not the right word if they're saying "STFU" instead of the full English phrase, but you get the point.

     



  • In life we have two kinds of understanding.

    1. Questioning
    2. Acceptance

    The first kind of understanding comes from finding new ways to comprehend, to see from a new perspective. So seeing an apple that falls and a falling feather, i would ask what is similar and different between them. From this we can begin to develop a theory of gravity, or of motion, or air resistance, or name your explanation.

    The second kind of understanding defies all known approaches of explanation. It is not to say that there is no explanation, just that we have not found it, or can not comprehend it. So in the already offered example, we can not prove one. We have to take it on merit, and describe in terms of an experience, hence why all school kids get given activities where they count out tokens, and are shown in terms of tokens (be they sheep, counters, lego) how much is one, how much is two, how much is three, ... .

    The only point to the above is that they afford us some ability to predict the future, for if they did not why should we try to understand them.

    It is in this light that God serves as an acceptance in understanding as the cause of lighting, at least till we are capable of understanding lighting from some other acceptance, such as electricity. Which in term serves till we understood electrons flows, and so on.

    The question as to whether God or an other Deity or group of Deities exist is a moot point, you will either accept them, or not. At the end of the day your knowledge has to be useful to you, and many find comfort from belief in a deity.

    nbsp;

    In a side note, your actions are still your own, regardless of your beliefs. Others will always judge these.



  • @CDarklock said:

    @dml said:

    What's so impolite about being a "physics zealot"?

    Normal Person: "Ahh, that breeze is so nice and cool."

    Physics Zealot: "Actually, it's the evaporating sweat that provides the cooling sensation. Technically, the motion of the air against your skin is generating heat through friction."

    Normal Person: "STFU and get off my porch."

    Okay, "normal" is probably not the right word if they're saying "STFU" instead of the full English phrase, but you get the point.

    But the breeze is bringing more dry air over to receive evaporation, so it is cooling you (not to mention, if the air is colder than you, then it's not simply generating friction, you're conducting heat into it).  Your proposed "physics zealot" is astoundingly wrong, and doesn't understand things well enough to grasp common sense.  I see nothing unusual about obnoxious people being annoying, and wrong obnoxious people are even worse, but that's unrelated.  I haven't ever seen a scenario where someone uses physics to annoy or offend if they actually understand what they're talking about.  (Or you could phrase this another way: if they only talk about what they understand.)

    The first thing that comes to mind when I think "physics zealot" would be some of my professors.  I mean, spending a lifetime contributing to a field you love counts as zeal, right?  And they were all extremely smart, personable people.  I never saw them offend anybody.  How can you, when it comes to this anyway?  Anything they said was either verifyably true, or not.  It's not personal, it's just science.  Your example is a guy who just happens to have interpersonal issues - he sounds like he's about nine years old - and is totally wrong also.  Pick a normally sociable person, well educated, and no matter how strongly he believes in physics I don't see how he'll offend someone with it.



  • @lrucker said:

    Wouldn't "There's probably no god" be the agnostic bus?

    There are varying levels of atheism. "Strong" atheists assert that there are no gods, as certain undeniable fact. "Weak" atheists assert that there is no proof for any gods, and thus the chance of any existing is very slim, so the assumption that gods do not exist is a good one. Agnostics take that level of uncertainty one further by asserting that there is simply no way to come to a conclusion one way or the other, and thus remain undecided.

    Additionally, almost everyone is an atheist in one form or another by denying the existence of various gods. People that identify themselves as atheists just tend to leave out the one god that lots of other people believe in.



  • My dinosaur example was an anectdote for why I am what the above post calls a "soft" atheist. I won't claim that there is no god(s) is the absolute truth, since we can't ever prove they don't exist. However, I will say that beliving in such things is even less sensible than beliving that there still exists dinosaurs, since we have evidence that they existed once. There is no more reason to belive in dieties than to belive in the tooth fary or santa clause, and I have a hard time understanding why anybody belives in it.



  • Difference between religion and physics is that physics theory can be used to predict outcome in real life, such as "if I drop this anvil when my foot is beneath it, chances are good that it will hurt like hell". Religious theory, however, can't predict shit. Even if I pray real hard,  I still don't expect the anvil to fall sideways all of a sudden.

     



  • I'm definitely going to save this thread for later careful reading, but in the mean time:

    [url]http://wttf.org/2008/10/22/atheist-busses-are-still-late/[/url] 



  • @lrucker said:

    Wouldn't "There's probably no god" be the agnostic bus?
    They probably wanted to say 'There is no god' but that would have violated the [url=http://www.atheistcampaign.org/probably/]bus company's advertising policy of not offending religious people[/url].



  • [quote user="commenter on http://wttf.org/2008/10/22/atheist-busses-are-still-late/"]So presumably a Christian group could not put ‘Jesus Lives’ on a bus or
    ‘Jesus Saves’ but could put ‘Jesus Probably Lives’ on a bus or ‘Jesus
    Probably Saves’ instead?[/quote]This made me LOL



  • @Zecc said:

    I'm definitely going to save this thread for later careful reading, but in the mean time:

    http://wttf.org/2008/10/22/atheist-busses-are-still-late/ 



    lawl @ comic.  :)

    But save the trouble of reading this thread later, for I find it has little inspirational content.



  • The real WTF is that atheists waste all that money spamming their beliefs to others, but then whenever you ask them they only talk about how christians are all in-their-face about religion all the time. 



  • @CDarklock said:

    But the breeze is bringing more dry air over to receive evaporation, so it is cooling you (not to mention, if the air is colder than you, then it's not simply generating friction, you're conducting heat into it).

    Wow. I thought that a breeze was cool because it removed the ambiant pressure caused by diffusive latency, allowing more of the water to overcome liquid-phase intermolecular forces.  But now I know better; it just "receives evaporation". Brillant! You are sooo much smarter than Mr. Zealot.




  • Because the laws of physics are real.

     

    Nope, sorry, they're not real.  They're not laws either, unless the definition of law is something that can be broken.

    All physics is modelling, nothing more, nothing less.

    The models we have are getting more and more accurate; Newton's model of gravity replaced with Einstein's model of gravity using relativity, for example.  And we KNOW that the two major theories (Quantum mechanics and Relativity) cannot BOTH be correct, so one of them is wrong...but it doesn't stop people being able to use them for benefit...neither are "fact".

    To think that physics deals with facts is to misunderstand what physics is trying to achieve.



  • @Mr B said:

    All physics is modelling, nothing more, nothing less.

    And yet, people always look surprised when I tell them I do modelling. :-(



  • @Mr B said:

    And we KNOW that the two major theories (Quantum mechanics and Relativity) cannot BOTH be correct, so one of them is wrong..

    Your statement cannot BOTH be correct.

    Seriously, a numerical part of every theory is an approximation of a "bigger" theory. Quantum mechanics and relativity are both approximations of "theory of everything" on different scale of time and space. Said that, the oft quoted e=mc2 is still correct at the same energy levels where quantum theory is correct. Atom bomb proves that.

     



  • @alegr said:

    the oft quoted e=mc2 is still correct at the same energy levels where quantum theory is correct.
     

    It might not necceserily be correct.The same way that while F=m*a seems correct in normal curcomstances,Einstein proved it isn't 100% correct. e=mc2 might not be be correct in certain circumstances, or might only be an approximation of another model/theory.



  • @Mr B said:

    Because the laws of physics are real.

     

    Nope, sorry, they're not real.  They're not laws either, unless the definition of law is something that can be broken.

    All physics is modelling, nothing more, nothing less.

    Indeed.  As one of my high school science teachers said: "All models are wrong; some are useful [anyway]."



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    The real WTF is that atheists waste all that money spamming their beliefs to others, but then whenever you ask them they only talk about how christians are all in-their-face about religion all the time. 

     

    Well, "all that money" is insignificant when you compare it to all of the money churches spend on religion-promoting, so I think the argument is valid. (btw: I've never heard a atheist complain about that, but I live on the other side of the ocean. Because of this I can't get a accurate image of religous-promoting activities in Texas, but over here there are no people occasionly knocking at your door and asking if they may spread the word of god)



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    Indeed.  As one of my high school science teachers [url=http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_E._P._Box][b]George Box[/b][/url] said [b]wrote[/b]: "All models are wrong; some are useful [anyway]."

     



  • @dtech said:

    @alegr said:

    the oft quoted e=mc2 is still correct at the same energy levels where quantum theory is correct.
     

    It might not necesserily be correct.The same way that while F=m*a seems correct in normal curcomstances,Einstein proved it isn't 100% correct. e=mc2 might not be be correct in certain circumstances, or might only be an approximation of another model/theory.

    E = mc2 is an approximation. I learned that in college.

    I can't remember what the (more) complete formula was, so I'll leave it at this: m (mass) is not a constant near the speed of light, so what we actually have is E = m0c2 + something else, where m0 is the mass at rest (or something like that).

    PS: actually, see here: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass-energy_equivalence[/url]. Something else is kinetic energy, and still the formula is just an approximation.



  • @dtech said:

    over here there are no people occasionly knocking at your door and asking if they may spread the word of god
    No wonder you're all such goddamn heathens



  • @dtech said:

    ...but over here there are no people occasionly knocking at your door and asking if they may spread the word of god)

     

    Must be nice.  I can't stand those assholes.  Mormons are the worst IMO.  Not only are they completely fucking crazy, but they come to your door and try to come off as better than you.  I had one try to fight me (unsuccessfully) because I told him I didn't believe in his god.  Boy was he pissed.



  • @amischiefr said:

    Mormons are the worst IMO.  Not only are they completely fucking crazy, but they come to your door and try to come off as better than you.  I had one try to fight me (unsuccessfully) because I told him I didn't believe in his god.  Boy was he pissed.
    You need to take a page out of my friend's book.  He's as atheist as they come, and he got them to rake his lawn and buy him new shoes.

    How?  I dunno.  Maybe he told them he would cast a spell on them.

    Or get one of them to appear in your porno movie



  • This thread is boring.

     

    Anyone with faith is stupid, and that includes every single one of you.

     

    I am the only acceptable figure of worship. 



  • @Zecc said:

    E = mc2 is an approximation. I learned that in college.
     

    It isn't if you use the relative mass as m, it is if you use rest mass. In the latter case you indeed have to add the kinetic energy, if you use relative mass the speed of the object already is compensated for.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I am the only acceptable figure of worship. 
     

    Figure maybe, but most people worship deities, but I'll pass your message along if I encounter someone forshipping figure.

    <offtopic>

    Where've you been? you haven't posted for about 2 weeks

    </offtopic>



  • @amischiefr said:

    Must be nice.  I can't stand those assholes.  Mormons are the worst IMO.  Not only are they completely fucking crazy, but they come to your door and try to come off as better than you.  I had one try to fight me (unsuccessfully) because I told him I didn't believe in his god.  Boy was he pissed.

     

    I don't know any Mormons that would get "pissed" if you said you didn't believe in his god.  I can think of lots of religions with followers who would be though.



  • @tster said:

    @amischiefr said:

    Must be nice.  I can't stand those assholes.  Mormons are the worst IMO.  Not only are they completely fucking crazy, but they come to your door and try to come off as better than you.  I had one try to fight me (unsuccessfully) because I told him I didn't believe in his god.  Boy was he pissed.

     

    I don't know any Mormons that would get "pissed" if you said you didn't believe in his god.  I can think of lots of religions with followers who would be though.

    Muslims never get pissed, but they do blow their tops. 



  • @dtech said:

    Figure maybe, but most people worship deities, but I'll pass your message along if I encounter someone forshipping figure.
    F is for FAIL.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    The real WTF is that atheists waste all that money spamming their beliefs to others, but then whenever you ask them they only talk about how christians are all in-their-face about religion all the time. 

     

     

    You're talking to assholes, not atheists.



  • @CDarklock said:

    My point is that you can't prove the axiom no matter who chooses it. This is the very centre of Godel's incompleteness theorem: there exist things you can't prove.
    The statement after the colon is accurate, but Godel's theorem doesn't have anything to do with axioms.  It just says that there are things that are true that can't be proven.  An axiom is something that is assumed to be true, and given that it is true, other things can be proven.



  • @dml said:

    But the breeze is bringing more dry air over to receive evaporation, so it is cooling you

    STFU and get off my porch.



  • @boomzilla said:

    An axiom is something that is assumed to be true, and given that it is true, other things can be proven.

    In other words, axioms are the parts of your proof that you can't prove.

    Godel's theorem says we can never eliminate all of them.

    Even given an infinite number of monkeys.



  •  @dtech said:

    @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    Indeed.  As one of my high school science teachers George Box said wrote: "All models are wrong; some are useful [anyway]."

     

    Filed under: Quote Fail

    What, now I have to research folksy quotes to see who might have said it first before posting?  Good grief1.  My teacher really did say it, and I never claimed that she was the first to say it.  For all you know, it was independent discovery.

    1Charlie Brown, in "Peanuts", by Charles M. Schulz, several times, 1950-2000



  • @dtech said:

    Where've you been? you haven't posted for about 2 weeks

    Maui.  In my absence the cancer that is killing TDWTF flourished.  This is unfortunate.



  • @CDarklock said:

    @boomzilla said:

    An axiom is something that is assumed to be true, and given that it is true, other things can be proven.

    In other words, axioms are the parts of your proof that you can't prove.

    Godel's theorem says we can never eliminate all of them.

    You might wanna go reread that theorem; that's not at all what it says.


  • @bstorer said:

    You might wanna go reread that theorem; that's not at all what it says.

    Yes it is.

    "In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory."

    And that would be an "axiom": "a principle that is accepted as true without proof". Since it is true, we clearly accept it as true. Since it is not provable, we clearly do so without proof. Which means we can accurately restate Godel's first incompleteness theorem as follows:

    "For any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an axiom."

    Unfortunately, the word "axiom" also means other things, so this would be confusing. The original wording is unambiguous, so we retain it. But the fact remains, by saying an axiom always exists, Godel's theorem says we can never eliminate all axioms.

    Unless, of course, you want your theory to be inconsistent, ineffectively generated, or informal. And before you pull up "basic arithmetic truths", Stephen Hawking has expressed a belief that this theorem applies to theoretical physics every bit as much as to basic arithmetic. I'll take his word for it; if you want to argue that, go talk to him.


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