I wasn’t terribly interested in the atheist bus campaign until I saw the photos – it’s a simple but rather nice design.
The New York Times article includes the following I-don’t-even-know-where-to-begin passage:
An interesting element of the bus slogan is the word “probably,” which would seem to be more suited to an Agnostic Bus Campaign than to an atheist one. Mr. Dawkins, for one, argued that the word should not be there at all.
But the element of doubt was necessary to meet British advertising guidelines, said Tim Bleakley, managing director for sales and marketing at CBS Outdoor in London, which handles advertising for the bus system.
For religious people, advertisements saying there is no God “would have been misleading,” Mr. Bleakley said.
Update: A.C. Grayling connects:
It would be misleading, eh? Thus the metaphysical authority of advertisers. You have to take your hat off to this one. If one wished to cite a better example of insidiousness, pusillanimity, timidity and absurdity, you would be hard pressed. There is something delicious about the thought of a functionary in an advertising agency doing ontology by arbitrating on the question of which fictional characters need a grey area of uncertainty around discussion of their existence – Little Red Riding Hood? Rumpelstiltskin? Santa? Betty Boop? Saint Veronica (who allegedly started out as sweat on a cloth and became a person)? Aphrodite? Wotan? Batman?