January ‘Myths’ press release

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Press Conference / Media Advisory


American Atheists and Backyard Skeptics displays East-Coast-West-Coast “What Do You See” billboard in Westminster

There will be a press conference in front of the “What Myths Do You See?” billboard on Thursday January 10th at 4:45pm in the parking lot of the American Legion in Westminster (technically Midway City)

A local grass-roots skeptics/atheist  group called Backyard Skeptics in conjunction with American Atheists from New York City placed a 48×14 foot billboard on Beach Blvd. in Westminster, CA., very similar to a billboard American Atheists placed in New Jersey.  The new billboard features pictures of Neptune, Jesus, Santa Claus, and the Devil and says, “7 Million Californians know MYTHS when they see them. What do you see?”

Blair Scott, communications director for American Atheists, said the billboards are not intended to offend people, but that the group knows people are going to be offended.  “When you question someone’s long-held beliefs and doctrine they are going to be immediately offended and be on the defensive: it’s a known psychological phenomenon,” said Scott.  He adds “Regardless of one’s theological views, we should all support Freedom of Speech. The real offensive view comes from those who say we do not have a right to put up our billboards.”

Bruce Gleason, founder of Backyard Skeptics and the instigator of the many secular billboard which have sprouted in Orange County the last 8 months, said that “It is hard for people who are indoctrinated in a religious belief with many superstitions to look at their beliefs as myths, but it’s amazing that the same people look at the other religions and call them superstitions and myths. This seems like a perfect case of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance.” Gleason says he knows this might be the most controversial billboard to go up in Orange County, but also says that agnostics and non-theists are a growing segment in America, now standing at 18% or all Americans.   Gleason adds “The billboard is meant to have believers to compare other myths to their own beliefs and to reflect on how myths can, though a drawn-out legend-building process, come to be thought of as real.“   Gleason says that many non-believers and the ‘nones’, those who have no religious affiliation, now have a place to discuss religious and political issues at the monthly meetings Backyard Skeptics sponsors without any religious dogma.  Gleason ads that this billboard has been purchased for the next six months and will be changing the artwork to other secular messages.

WHO::The largest Orange County based skeptics and atheist group, Backyard Skeptics in coordination with American Atheists from new York

WHEN:  Thursday January 13, 2011  at 4:45pm

WHERE: American Legion in Westminster 14582 Beach Boulevard, Midway City, in between the 405 and 22 freeways