ABC Article on Creation Museum Visit Misrepresents Atheist Bus Slogan

The recent Creation Museum visit taken by 300 secularists has been getting lots of attention and even an article from ABC. While overall I found the article to be pretty fair and balanced, I couldn’t help noticing that there was an error. You may have heard the story of Derek Rodgers (namedrop: I knew him personally before he became famous!) who got kicked out for wearing a shirt that said “There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” In the article, the shirt, and the bus campaign slogan, is quoted as saying “There’s probably no God, so get over it.”

Now, a quick Google image search, and the above photo (although you still can’t really see the shirt all that clearly) are evidence that that’s not what the slogan actually says.

Minor error? You might say that, but there’s also some cheesy saying about the devil being in the details.

I would say that there is a big difference between saying that the shirt said “stop worrying and enjoy your life” and “get over it.” The devoutly religious will probably still be offended either way, but the average passerby who reads “get over it” probably thinks to himself or herself “humph, those rude Atheists are at it again being rude” whereas they’d be less likely to react negatively to the former.

So what did I do about it besides hash out a blog post? I sent ABCNews.com an e-mail using this comment form with the category of “Inaccurate Information”, told them I was an acquaintance of Derek Rodgers and happened to know what the shirt said, and politely suggested that they Google-image searched the Atheist Bus Campaign.

What I’d like to know is why more people don’t seem to get worked up about this sort of thing. My experience with a few non-atheism-related errors in articles in the past is that they get fixed. The BBC once did a sloppy job of changing an article that said the Columbine shootings occured “in Denver, Colorado” by saying they occured “near Denver” but these people pay attention to these things nonetheless. They do have reputations at stake.

And Atheists have reputations too.

News sources usually do have means of contact for tips like these from the general population and they’re not hard to find. What I don’t understand is why more people don’t do that. If you can write a letter to a senator, or, hell, if you can get worked up because somebody once spread a nasty rumor about you at school, you can find the motivation to fix errors in widely read news sources where people get their information from.

And again, here’s a link to that small little contact form.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. I must say, reading the stories from PZ was entertaining, while at the same time giving me a metaphorical nausea. I remember a few years ago when I had a bout with Intelligent Design, when they announced the museum. I never thought it would pan out. Not that I wasn’t content that they were doing it, but I imagined that not a lot of people would go because I used to think that most people were taught evolution. I guess it did pan out… *sigh*

  2. Posted by Holly on October 6, 2009 at 2:38 am

    Although you are right that there is a difference between the actual slogan and the mistaken one, the actual slogan could still be considered just as offending (if not even more), because by saying, “now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” it’s strongly suggesting that Christians can’t enjoy life because they’re “worrying” about God.

  3. Posted by Lady Mae on October 6, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Correction:

    “This story on the creation museum originally quoted a T-shirt slogan as saying “There’s probably no God, so get over it.” The reporter could not accurately read the entire slogan because the t-shirt was turned inside out and prohibited from display. The correct wording was “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy yourself.” It has been corrected in the body of the story. ”

    What the hell is going on with ABC?! Elles, do you think that this was just a one time thing to diss athetism, or that all of those reporters have flown over the cuckoo’s nest?

    I’m sorry to be a rambling conspiracy freak, but this has really creeped me out!

    “I would say that there is a big difference between saying that the shirt said “stop worrying and enjoy your life” and “get over it.” The devoutly religious will probably still be offended either way, but the average passerby who reads “get over it” probably thinks to himself or herself “humph, those rude Atheists are at it again being rude” whereas they’d be less likely to react negatively to the former.”

    I’ve gone from being creeped out to enraged. Great.

    Hey Elles, do you suppose an afterlife actually exists? The other atheists on the web said that it was impossible because the absence of god would mean an absence of life after death. I don’t think so and I hope that scientists would be able to one day prove that some part of ourselves survives our body’s decay.

    Wind, rain, mountains, oceans; I don’t want this to end.

  4. What’s also weird is how the original articles about the bus ads had lots of misquotes too.

    As for life after death… well, I dunno. I just want to know what happens when you graduate high school.

  5. Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya

    I’m Out! 🙂

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