There will be no poll. It’s presumptuous of me to even suggest coming up with a symbol for freethought, and seriously, this is a small corner of the internet, with a small subset of godless people, and the ones who’d respond to a poll would be such a tiny fraction of the possibilities that it would be meaningless.
So instead, we’ll have discussion. Reason with each other.
Here’s the agenda: make an argument for your favorite, and sway me. Whatever symbol gets the most persuasive argument (and actually, the argument that larger numbers of people will like your symbol will have some weight with me), I’m going to use. Look ever to the left sidebar, where it says “Profile”—at the top of that, the symbol will appear at about the same size as the box with my face in it, and it will link to some godless manifesto (Russell’s? My own? I’ll think about it later). That’s all I’m aiming for at this point.
If it is successful, that means that some other bloggers start using it, putting a discreet or blatant symbol somewhere on their pages that link to an explanation. The hope is that readers will wonder what that odd squiggle is, click on it, and learn something.
If it is wildly successful, it will achieve fairly general recognition so that readers won’t bother to click on it anymore—they’ll get used to seeing it and know that the author is one of them goddamned freethinkers, and they’ll scurry off or settle down and read for a while. This is the most hopeful scenario, and I’m not counting on it; attempts to make that kind of widely recognized association fail much more often than they succeed.
So, what I did was simply skim through the suggestion thread and pick those symbols that generated some degree of repeated interest, and that also met my general criteria of being reasonably simple and easy to scrawl out. I stripped out colors and shading as well as I could and reduced everything to a high-contrast gray scale, and then scaled them all to about the same size…and show here some large ones and some tiny ones. If people want to get fancy and produce elaborate, full color versions with the flayed skin of Hypatia stapled to the sides and Robert Ingersoll’s happy face peeping out of some space, that ornamentation can be done later and on your own—the goal now is to get a framework that is recognizable.
So, talk about it. Please don’t get hung up on details of the rendering—think of this as something that ought to be recognizable if it were chalked onto a sidewalk, for instance, and the final version that would go on a website can be cleaned up and made sharper—and let’s avoid new suggestions, unless you’ve got something utterly stunning and brilliant. Let’s just hash these out right now.
Another useful datum would be to let us know if you would use such a symbol on your weblog, or some other place. That’ll help us get a feel for the potential for wider use.