Aberingi's long-running topic entitled "Do we need a Universal Atheist Symbol?" leads me to ask "Do we need a Universal Atheist Motto?".

Well, perhaps we don't, or perhaps we could, but some theists might get deservedly irritated if we chose to use something like "In Darwin we trust" at appropriate moments.
These words, suitably translated into other languages, have a basic international atheist appeal with respect to truth and helpful anti-theist sabre-rattling and debating.
e.g. they might look good on the side of a bus/ coach.

Tags: Darwin, bus slogan

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I see your point in this. As we have seen by all of the comments (mind included), there are plenty of good ideas. But I guess we still want to be known and heard at the same time. Rather than a chosen slogan, let the work being done with the billboards and recent bus stop ads show who we are and keep them coming so that all can see. I do like the idea of a universal symbol though.
I don't really like the idea of having a universal atheist anything. It's too similar to religion and gives the religious ammunition against us. Saying "In Darwin we trust" would just go to 'prove' creationists right that evolution is a religion and we all have faith in it rather than god.

Atheists come from all walks of life and have all sorts of political, philosophical views. Remember that not all atheists accept evolution. It's rather presumptuous of us, the skeptic/humanist/scientific naturalist community to impose OUR views on other atheists who may well have totally different values. I would certainly be annoyed if some of the chavs who reject religion just 'cos it sounds stupid decided "Religion is gay" was a universal atheist motto.

What we do need are more slogans like Carl Sagan's "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Dawkins is good at coming up with these, so is Christopher Hitchens. Slogans like these are usefull in debates and casual conversations with theists. "In Darwin we trust" just comes across the same way as saying "In God we trust" which doesn't really add much compared to "Science flies you to the moon, Religion flies you into buildings".
Hmmm...another good point. Slogans like those on the billboards and the ones on bus stops might do way more than a catchy motto. And I am tired of seeing time and again the "battle of the fish" on people's cars. I was not aware of atheists who don't accept evolution though. Thanks.
A pithy summary of a well founded position is OK as a way to open discussion, but it has to be backed by a pyramid of supporting facts and argument. I wouldn't use the concepts of trusting a person like Darwin as the summary statement. As others have pointed out this makes the position seem like one of a somewhat blind "faith".

For me a statement that resonates a bit better is "For us to all live well use emprically-tested Science."
I find that symbols or mottos can be extremely irritating; like the "Hillbillies" in the States rallying around the Confederate flag, or the religious Right declaring their patriotism with the American flag as a backdrop. In addition, I find it equally repulsive to have pious christians tenderly caressing their crosses in a time of trouble, or mindless muslims and catholics playing with their beads. Religious conservatives in the states have the annoying habit of declaring others to their liking to be "True Americans!" In my opinion, the only motto that our community should have, one that will shock the senses of theists everytime is "I am a Atheist!" If on an advertisement should be followed by the many diverse faces of the atheist community. We do not have horns.
I recently found myself arguing semantics, while trying to take-back, and reclaim a word, for both science and non-believers. The word, faith.

I feel that a great number of atheists mistakenly eschew use of the word faith, as being synonymous with belief (in much the same way that religion is commonly confused as being synonymous with morality). And that if we were all able to agree on the exact definitions of these two words, much heated debate would simply evaporate.

Belief in the irrational - in things unseen - is actually what most atheists rightfully argue against and detest.

But as atheists, most of us can, and do, have faith in the idea that science is capable of answering any question, given the time and the technology. And we, likewise, have faith that our technology and scientific knowledge will continue to evolve, in meeting our needs.

The definitions I subscribe to are these:

Belief: Any unsupported cognitive content, unquestioningly held as true.

Faith: Realistic confidence in a person, plan, technology, or scientific discipline, etc.

Ergo, it can be said that, as atheists, we have faith in science, and in the scientific process.
I take a bit of the opposite position on the use of these 2 terms - faith & belief.

There is a long philosophical tradtion on elated concepts of belief, knowledge, reality, truth. language etc.
Belief is often discussed along with theories of Knowledge – how do you know?
You can say "I believe that Obama is kind or that people are peaceful. How do you know? It depends ultimately & necessarily on experience for justification - Obama was seen performing acts of “kindness” and I conclude in a belief that he is "kind".

Belief is a nartural part of social cognition with a developmental sequence, which we can show by
experiment. We experience the world, and can test a model, usually by creating a formal model to explain a portion of reality. Humans use mental models to interpret the world and as part of this we can “believe” in the world reality, models of it and theories about these approximate models, but the belief, and what we say about them, can be different since knowing,
observing and believing are vague concepts yet related and get mixed together.

We experience the world, and can test a model, usually by creating a formal model to explain a portion of reality. As a result there are some well founded, emoirical, reasonable beliefs we think of as knowledge and there are Irrational Beliefs, which get counced in Belief Systems.
The fitness of a belief system is defined not by its emprical validity but by its ability to make new converts, retain their loyalty and pass on the belief.

It has little to do with the biological fitness of its human carriers, & it has nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of the beliefs. These are not based on empirical test, which some value, but on faith. So it is faith is something passed down, without test authority, God's word etc. that is the concept that qualifies belief. Faith need not be realistic confidence.

So I would say that the critical, secular, agnostic/atheist, humanist community have realistic beliefs.
I don't want to sound rude but, definitely, absolutely NOT. "We" don't need a motto. ESPECIALLY that one. Unless by "we" you mean I, an atheist too, am not included. Then there's nothing I can do, is there?

Darwin has nothing to do with my atheism. Darwin never had any impact on my choice. Or Life Sciences or science in general for that matter. One doesn't need anything other than their own thinking to reach their own conclusions on religion. Just a little thinking and a lot of courage. Life sciences and the evolution theory may be the trigger for that thinking, yet there are many other triggers out there and, especially, within religion itself.

Moreover, it seems there is nothing universal about atheism, and I doubt most of us would want any sort of unifying identification, but I'm only speaking for myself, I guess. And I'm probably over thinking the meaning a simple motto could have. :P

Now, on the other hand, if that motto was something for scientists against the creationist lobby. THEN we're talking! I'd even make a t-shirt out of it. =P
Here's a bumper sticker: I DOUBT IT (I'm an atheist)
I have mixed views on this. I can see how using motto's like this might get people to look more at atheist but I also can see some religions try to use things like this to promote us as a cult. It is also likely to give religious more reason to see evolution as a religion. Is it worth it?
When I first joined the Nexus, this was one of the first discussions I came across.
After much consideration and reading about how atheism as a movement is responding to society and the rabid religionists, the idea of asking "Do we need a Universal Atheist Symbol?" or otherwise "Do we need a Universal Atheist Motto?" the answer that makes the most sense to me is no.
Atheism is an absence, the off switch if you will. Why adopt a symbol or slogan of any kind that essentially addresses "nothing"? Slogans and symbols towards that end are something of an oxymoron.
A banner on the side of a bus saying......."Have You Spoken to Your Imaginary Friend Today" makes as much sense. (which is actually a very good one, isn't it?) The whole idea smacks too much of what they erroneously accuse us of being already, just another religion.
Damn but that's a good idea for an ad campaign, it couldn't be associated with organized atheism in any way though, the more anonymous the better...."Have You Spoken To Your Imaginary Friend Today?"
O.K.- I've contradicted myself, put me on the Index.
I guess my position is that we don't need an isolated motto and symbol, but I would think such things useful as
part of a coherent cultural, secular huanist tradition. Our community has beliefs that need to be transmitted from generation to generation and there are practices and symbols that make such transmissions stick. They would also help us be understood by the broader faith community.

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