Wednesday, October 23, 2013

oh all right, sorry about hitler

Inspired by this disturbing and effective series of consciousness-raising adverts, and also by my earlier research activities in a similar vein, I offer you this series of Google auto-complete samples using the word “atheist”, just to illustrate the level of esteem atheists are clearly held in around the world. Note that this does not mean that I am seeking to equate the oppression experienced by atheists around the world (real though it is) with that experienced by women, just to use a similar illustrative technique to make a similar point.

As a control experiment I tried substituting a few other religious groups for “atheists” – in general the results for “Christians” are relatively anodyne, with the other religions varying depending how threatening and scary and generally brown and bearded and foreign they are perceived as being by the presumably predominantly American (and therefore predominantly Christian) internet-using public who influence Google’s algorithms. Except for the Scientologists, of course, everyone hates them.


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