It’s Like a Double Rainbow of Atheism April 3, 2011

It’s Like a Double Rainbow of Atheism

Seen in Iowa (click to enlarge):

Alright, go ahead and make comments on how ugly you think the billboards are.

(Forget the fact that it’s pretty damn incredible to see even one billboard reaching out to closeted atheists, much less two of them at once.)

By the way, it’s not too late to register for the American Atheists convention in Des Moines taking place April 21th-24th.

(via Dave Silverman — I paraphrased one of the commenters for the title of this post.)

***Update***: To the people complaining about the proximity of the billboards… Usually, when you buy a package of billboards in a certain location (which AA did in this case), you have to take the billboard locations you’re offered. They might not *all* be in ideal locations, but most of them are. You buy the package because it’s cheaper in bulk and many of the billboards are in ideal locations. After that, the couple that are close to another billboard or in less-traveled areas aren’t that big of a deal.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Michelle

    Where is IL and why are they letting Iowa out progressive them? What is up our state?

  • People must think we’re a bunch of plebes with crayons. HOW HARD IS IT TO HIRE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?!?

  • How do they KNOW that? Here I was thinking that Atheism was merely the lack of belief in gods..

  • fritzy

    I agree with Andrew–it seems like the American Atheists are not putting a whole lot of thought into their billboards (or for that matter, design dollars–these things do matter if you’re trying to get a point across in out image-driven society–ugly billboard = ugly message.) I’m pretty sure there is no god(s) but I’ve never claimed to KNOW there are no gods. I make it a point to “KNOW” very little.

    That said, glad to see atheism alive and well in the midwest.

  • The design sucks and the slogan is pretentious but catchy. However, my biggest issue with this is that having two visible from the same spot is not very cost effective.

  • I love the title of this post!

  • The double billboard indicates a growing movement and suggests to the casual observer they they have enough backers to supply money to strongly advertise their cause.

    I saw A.A. is going to auction some of the spent billboards. There is a company here in Chicago that uses the vinyl billboards to make bike bags and other goods.

    It could be a great way to keep the message going, long after the campaign at this location ends.

  • exe

    I don’t understand what all the “ugly” talk is about. I don’t think the billboards are ugly. You can clearly see what the words are, that is a good thing. The message is what is important. And I also like the title of this post.

  • ckitching

    I think it’s probably bad placement. Seeing two of the same billboard in close proximity to each other is not a good thing if you want to spread your message as widely as possible.

  • Claudia

    It’s not that it’s ugly (I don’t think it’s that bad), it’s that it is far too easy to miscontrue as a position that almost no actual atheist holds; i.e That we KNOW god isn’t realy in a mirror image of theists who KNOW god is.

    I’m aware you think the billboards are more about publicity, but personally I think they are about outreach to other atheists more than anything. As such, they should be designed to appeal to as wide a swath of the nonbeliever community as possible, especially the “quiet” atheists who are less likely to be engaged in the activist community. In that sense, the billboard is less effective than it could be because it clearly lacks consensus appeal amongst even us, and I’m betting the appeal will be even lower among the closet quiet atheists the sign is supposedly talking to.

  • Val

    Iowa! It *is* incredible!

  • To those complaining about the billboards’ proximity to each other, I’ve added an update to the post.

  • Dakota Bob

    Double atheism all the waaaaaay!

  • Liz

    @Andrew It seems kind of stupid to say, “I don’t KNOW that unicorns don’t exist, I just lack belief in unicorns.”

    Makes it seem like deep down inside you think they exist, but you just refuse to believe/acknowledge it. Even if you don’t certainly know, the way the billboard is putting it is obviously meant to say, “come on, rationally thinking this probably doesn’t exist, you know you’re thinking it and we agree”

    Usually it’s okay to say that you KNOW something doesn’t exist. Most people wouldn’t call me out when I say, “I KNOW there isn’t a blue skinned alien that likes to swing from space trees”…except for you, I guess.

  • Sophia

    As an Iowan, I am happy to see it! We are actually more progressive than you would think. We’ve legalized gay marriage when most states are passing their own Prop 8. That’s not to say we don’t have our share of fundamentalists; they are freakin’ everywhere!

    I would like to know the location of the two boards, because they actually look like they are facing different directions of traffic, so most people might not see both boards.

  • Just as an FYI – the billboards are at a busy intersection with one facing west and the other facing south. They’re angled inwards a bit so passing traffic can read them easier.

    Both are visible from a parking lot on the SW corner of the intersection, that’s where we took the photograph.

  • Both are visible from a parking lot on the SW corner of the intersection, that’s where we took the photograph

    This picture makes them look closer than they actually are. We took the photo using a telephoto lens from a parking lot across the street from the sign in the foreground.

    Photos of all the billboards are available here.

  • @Sophia, these billboards are both near the intersection of Army Post Road and SE 14th St, each facing a different direction.

    Only people going north on SE 14th who make a right onto Army Post Road will see both signs.

  • They’re beautiful. Very nice designs. I like how they’re all part of a series. That’s easier to remember.

    More! More! :o)

  • Rabid

    @Liz The statement may seem “stupid” to you when you interpret it from the standpoint of a layperson, but it is logically correct.

    I don’t know, with 100% certainty, that no god exists. I do however believe, to the degree that I am 99.9% sure, that the available evidence or lack thereof suggests that it’s highly unlikely that a deity exists.

    It is not a stupid position to hold and is entirely consistent. It’s also why the AA billboards come across as pretentious… realistically they can’t know to the point they are 100% sure that no god exists. To have the knowledge needed to hold that position, you’d have to be close to a god yourself, or close enough to a god that it makes no difference either way.

  • stogoe

    I don’t know, with 100% certainty, that no god Gravity exists. I do however believe, to the degree that I am 99.9% sure, that the available evidence or lack thereof suggests that it’s highly unlikely that a deity Intelligent Falling exists.

    This is just as stupid after fixing as it was when you first said it. Use some effing parsimony and stop the weasel-speech.

    I knew the billboards had to be near E 14th, but at first I was guessing it was on the north side, by the interstate, or the freeway by East High School. Now that someone said Army Post, though, I can definitely recognize what used to be Robin’s Wood Oven Grill in the lower left of the picture.

  • Jeebus

    Definitely need a better message than these have. Maybe some questions regarding the consistency of some religious stories, or maybe how a theist knows they’re worshipping the right “gawd”. Something to make theists think. Lord knows,(pun intended)that they don’t do much of it if they believe the bullshit found in those rags.

  • Quit it with the Unicorn analogies, I’ve heard a fairly good argument that the Unicorn is another name for the Indian One Horned Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis<sic>).

    So whilst I doubt the existence of god or gods, I’m rather more ambivalent about Unicorns (and yes bits of them are on occasion pink, but they aren’t invisible or intangible (at least ordinarily – it is hard to prove they aren’t sometimes)).

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