Sunday, 8 February 2009

When Atheist Buses Attack (Part 3: The Revenge)

Continuing what has apparently become Atheist Bus Advertising Blogging Weekend (another internet first brought to you courtesy of SSHQ), this article is pretty dumb. Though I would hope it needn't be said, I'll say it anyway: if the Christian party wants to rent space on buses to advertise themselves, then more power to them. Certainly, the message they've put together is at least entirely positive, even if I think it's incorrect (I'm also a little leery of the Christian party as a general concept, but that's a very different issue).

Hargreaves argument, though, is pretty poorly written. Essentially it runs as follows:
  • It is an act of supreme tolerance to watch a bus pass his office window and not react (beyond writing a terrible article about it a month later);
  • Atheists responding to Christian advertising is a foolish waste of money. Christians responding to atheist advertising is a really good idea;
  • Atheists are a minority group amongst mankind, which makes their advert silly. We'll ignore the fact that Christians are a minority group in the world as well, though, because at least they're not atheists;
  • The atheists are inadvertently responsible for this Christian party ad campaign, because had it not been for them, they'd never have thought to advertise their party in the run up to the European Elections.

In fairness, that last point is less a problem with foolish arguments and more with an admission that the CP is completely clueless. I thought I'd best point it out anyway. Thank God for idiots.

5 comments:

Gooder said...

The article is not really an argument, it's explanation of why they decided to start the campaign.

Ok, it calls the original campaign silly but doesn't try to argue it shouldn't be allowed or was a great insult.

So to pick it apart as an 'arguement' doesn't really work.

jamie said...

It does say in the headline of the piece that Christians are going to put across their side of the argument.

SpaceSquid said...

And even if it didn't, once you've said that an atheist campaign is foolish (and implying it was a waste of money), explaining then why your very similar ad campaign (run for very similair reasons) is a good idea is an argument in its favour.

And since I never claimed Hargreaves suggested the ad shouldn't have been allowed, or that he called it an insult, and since neither of those things are necessary for the use of the word "argument" in the first place, I'm struggling to see your point.

Gooder said...

He hasn't said he thinks the original campiagn was wrong or shouldn't have happened, he's only stated that he thinks it was silly.

And I just don't think that's something that can really be approached as a debateable argument.

Ok if someone stating a point of view that is different to yours is enough for you to see it as argument than that is fine. I just don't read it that way.

It's almost like you saying "I like pasta", me saying "I think pasta is silly" and calling that an argument.

Also the headline doesn't imply he is arguing against the adverts rather that the church groups are taking an oppurtunity to put forward their side of the god/no god argument. A statement of what they are doing rather than an arguing against what others have done.

But more often than not we read things in totally different ways, I suspect this is one of those cases.

SpaceSquid said...

"He hasn't said he thinks the original campiagn was wrong or shouldn't have happened, he's only stated that he thinks it was silly."
And that it is somehow an act of great tolerance to watch the buses go past at not to do anything about it beyond writing a fairly poor article about it afterwards, but that's beside the point.

"And I just don't think that's something that can really be approached as a debateable argument."
As I tried to make clear in my last comment, if you state X is foolish but then immediately unveil your own version of X, then you have to put forward an argument as to why your version isn't silly. Which is what he then goes on to do, albeit very poorly.

"It's almost like you saying "I like pasta", me saying "I think pasta is silly" and calling that an argument."
Except for two things. First, describing a noun as silly and an action as silly aren't the same thing. Second, Hargreaves isn't saying (to use your analogy) "Pasta is silly", he's saying "Spaghetti is silly and a waste of money, but I've just bought a whole load of vermicelli, and let me explain why that is awesome!" And even that probably doesn't go far enough in terms of the similarity between the ad campaign he is mocking and the one he is championing.


"But more often than not we read things in totally different ways, I suspect this is one of those cases."
I don't think it's a case of reading him differently, I think you're misreading me.