The “New York City Coalition of Reason” is sponsoring a slate of ads to run later this month stating that “A million New Yorkers are Good Without God”, which is maybe the worst statistic to use since it represents less than 10% of the city. Also, the coalition’s name is illogical.
A good statistic to use is one that reflects a majority sum, like 51%. Even that isn’t strong because it means just over half of people agree. So in this case, (presumably) fewer than 1/10th of the city thinks Atheism is the knees. Sure, 1 million people is a lot, but not for New York. If 1 million Utica, New Yorkers agreed, that’d be something.
Without calling upon some sort of English professional to consult here, I would like to make the point that “of reason” makes no sense — you can’t be a “group of reason”, or essentially what the NYCCOY alleges to be. That would be like saying you and a group of people exist on some higher plane where you, as a whole, are completely void of whatever the opposite of reason is — which is basically Buddhism.
The closest you could come to being a coalition of reason: you and other people believe, as one consciousness, in something called reason (which doesn’t exist, btw — it’s an idea, not a practice). That belief is agreed upon to be the truth, making it, in a sense, a god. Or God, depending on how you view it. Not the Christian or Hebrew or Muslim or Buddhist or Canary (I made that last one up) God — but a belief in one thing which isn’t necessarily corporeal or tangible, that is stronger than all others. A leading belief system, if you will.
The name also does something that Theologians, Philosophers and smart-faithful peoples everywhere will use as the crux of their argument against atheism — states that a life devoted to some faith is somehow without reason. Sans reason. Basically, everyone who doesn’t think atheism is “the way” is an illogical person. Why? Because they believe in fairies or Christ or Matzoh Ball soup (delicious!).
If you’re going to have an organization or coalition that asserts itself as “for reason”, its name should be reasonable. Or logical. Also, if your goal is to convince people that your “way” is the “right way”, maybe don’t start by insulting the other 9 million people in New York city, who consider themselves rational, reasonable human beings. Even the Scientologists know that, and they basically have their own sci-fi channel. Science fiction is rarely logical.
Anyway, this coalition is sponsoring a campaign in the New York City subway system, where you’re more likely to be handed a pamphlet pimping Jesus or phetons than any other pamphlet — so at least the placement was right. It’s for a book called Good Without God, by Greg Epstein.
“All Big Apple COR organizations share common ground-promoting wider acceptance of a more rational and realistic view of the universe-but each has its own particular emphasis. Some advocate for scientific knowledge, reason, and skeptical inquiry. Some focus on the promotion of dogma-free humanist ethics, and an appreciation for life and the lives of other persons.”
My point stands: you can’t have a coalition of reason. It’s illogical.