Planet of the Hats, reformatted

Cyberguy has a nice collection of short pamphlets discussing atheism, evolution, and the scientific method, and will soon be including a lovely pdf of Planet of the Hats. It’s useful to have these sorts of things in simple, single page format.

I expect you all to make lots of copies, team up, put on your white shirts, get on a bicycle, and distribute them in your neighborhood.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    “sex was considered a filthy practice because people would take off their hats to do it.”
    Not necessarily.

  2. Rarus.vir says

    If you’re going door to door, be sure to dress appropriately in a South Park tee-shirt and Speedo’s. A roach clip on your ear earlobe would be a nice touch too. If you dont have a South Park Tee, a ty-dy would be my second choice.

  3. Snitzels says

    Cause your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance then they ain’t no friends of mine.

  4. says

    These are excellent information resources, thanks for pointing them out. I particularly enjoyed the Planet of the Hats, and This I Believe.
    If you can forgive a slight digression, I sometimes think about a similar pamphlet written by a more elegant (and less emotional) writer than myself which would attempt to explain the nature of Scientific Curiosity. The drive that keeps some people questioning, exploring and digging for answers when those around them insist that there are no answers to be found. And how we owe so very much of our modern comforts to these people. Most notably of course is modern medicine, but also included are transportation, computing, telecommunications and many others. It never ceases to amaze me how all these creationists screaming “my god did it all”, are comfortable typing their message on a computer invented by engineers who did not learn their trade in church, or visiting a doctor who is not interested in exorcising evil spirits, and fly in an airplane carefully developed using scientific method to discover the principles of flight, while others like themselves were yelling about “if god had meant man to fly…”
    Intelligent Design verse Evolution is not just about how humans came to be, it is about whether we always continue searching for answers about the world around us, or do we sit back and accept that we can not know, and stop advancing as a race. Sorry if I am preaching to the choir here (bad metaphor I know), but I guess I am wondering if there is any way to get some people to see that the current lifestyle they enjoy is the result of people who they would now condemn?

  5. says

    I think atheist pamphlets are a great idea but these ones need a bit of work artistically. Perhaps someone should organize a competition to design a new atheist pamphlet. *Cough* PZ *Cough*.

  6. says

    I look forward to being able to trade with the sweet older gentleman I see on my walks to work who obviously thinks I’m damned. It’s always seemed so unfair to take a tract without being able to give anything back.

  7. Kathy says

    PZ, I just want to give you a sincere “Thank you.”

    As I’ve gone back to school to work on my microbiology degree, I’ve become more and more convinced that my athiest husband had it right all along. I convinced myself that I was agnostic, but reading your blog, and seeing the idiocy of an ID proponent in class have convinced me that the true scientific path lies here. To be true to the scientific method means being true in ALL areas of my life, not just the lab.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I’m off to print out the literature, and dig my white shirt out of the closet.

  8. says

    The sign on my front door, which covers over the previous owner’s “no soliciting” sign, read “Proselytizers and Solicitors will be Mocked”. So they have fair warning.

    Now, on to the big decision: should I keep a supply of these pamphlets inside and hand them to the proselytizers who choose to knock anyway (~50% of those who approach), or just leave a leaflet box on the porch with a label like “religious adherents: please read before knocking”?

    Life is full of important decisions.

  9. Scrofulum says

    After Mrs Scrofulum chastised me for being too harsh on door-knocking god-botherers, I told her I’d be nice to the next lot, and subsequently politely declined their offers of salvation, letting the huge, glaring errors in their philosophical world-view go unchallenged, even though they were trying to foist them onto me in the first place.

    After they waved a cheery ta-ta, I felt all dirty, and explained to Mrs S that I would be reverting to my old ways tout de suite. As an addendum, I really like the idea of handing them a leaflet as well as a dose of rationalism.

  10. Mr P says

    Why didn’t you post this last week before the mormons (morons?) came to my door. Its ok, they left after about 10 minutes when they couldn’t answer any of my questions (including the blank stares I got when I asked why they believe). Is there a phone number somewhere to a central office I can call to have them come back? It was fun. Too bad they left before I could tell them that mormon sounds too much like muslim and I wouldnt be able to talk to them any longer.

    I think I need a sign like Steve in MI


  11. Qwerty says

    PZ says, “I expect you all to make lots of copies, team up, put on your white shirts, get on a bicycle, and distribute them in your neighborhood.” while Cyberguy says,
    “Please note, these pamphlets are not intended to be handed out on street corners, but are an information resource…”

    I’m confused. Should I be an evangelical atheist or not?

  12. Justin H. says

    The only two words I can think of for that Planet of the Hats pamphlet are ‘ice burn’.

  13. boattruckboat says

    Luke O’Dell, #10:

    I completely agree. I love the idea, but the execution needs another go. And aside from their lack of artistic grace, they are entirely too wordy.

    Anyone familiar w/ the acronym “TLDR”? Well, it applies in spades to these pamphlets. The intended audience for these are religious folks… if you intend to keep their attention for more than 2 seconds, you need pretty pictures, graphics and bullet points.

    How about something a little more covert:

    “Hi. I’m your neighbor and I’m an atheist. Now before you go batshit nuts on me, let me explain what being an atheist entails:

    1. I will mow my yard regularly.
    2. I like to grill out on my deck.
    3. I may/may-not like the same sports teams that you like.
    4. I’m home on Sunday mornings.

  14. Blaidd Drwg says

    I wear a grey Fedora, I didn’t see those mentioned in your ‘witness’ PZ. Does that make me more or less valuable and righteous on the Planet of Hats?

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    I was hoping the pamphlet would contain an image of Daniel “Pimp Daddy” Dennett and his ostentatious head gear.

  16. Julian says

    This “planet of the hats” is clearly a heretical satire; there was no mention of the Great Trilby, which every civilized person recognizes to be the King of all Hats.

  17. Nic Nicholson says

    How many more of us is annoyed by the fact that the word god is usually capitalized, even when it’s not the first word in a sentence?

    Is there some reason why this is done besides religious reverence?

    I have no problem with the god-name Yahweh being capitalized, no more than I do any other proper name, real or fictional.

    But isn’t “god” a generic term? I don’t believe the Christians should be granted special status when it come to the rules of the English language!

  18. Julian says

    nic: Its an example of something you could call sacredization (there’s another 5 dollar word out there for it, but I can’t remember at the moment).

    Yahweh is too “holy” for people to be saying (translation: early believers thought saying his name would draw his attention and, as a god of fire, lightning and war, he didn’t like being mucked around with), so for centuries people have been thinking up clever ways to refer to Yahweh without using the actual name. these attempts come in two flavors: reference by title, stuff like Jehovah or Christ; and shortenings or oblique references, like god.

    So, early Greek Christians began using their word for god (theo-) in their translations of scripture, it gradually grew into a common practice throughout Christendom, and in that time the sacredness of the word it was replacing rubbed off on it, leading to god becoming God.

    The funny thing is that Yahweh started off as just such an oblique reference. Written in Hebrew, it is essentially four consonants, YHWH, which describes the name Yahweh, but that name is only one of many titles of the god referred to. So in actuality, centuries of sacretizing the different titles for the god in question has led to its worshipers forgetting its actual name!

    How kooky is that?!

  19. says

    Thanks for the comments, folks.

    Yes, there is a lack of artistic flair, and they are a bit wordy. Some stuff is hard to condense, and I just wanted to get this “out there” so people could use it.

    I would be very happy to add any contributions, or changes to existing work. There is no ego in this from me.

    I would be looking for simple 1-2 page pamplets or mini-posters that you think would be generally useful or inspiring. If you see a need, go ahead and put your creative hat on, and send me your work to share! :-)

    – Cyberguy

  20. Julian says

    Addendum: Of course none of that matters, because gods are just figments of the human imagination. In fact, the whole matter is yet another example of how false religions are; what do you think a god of war, lightning and fire would do to worshipers who couldn’t remember its name? No global catastrophe resulting from a bruised deistic ego = no god to be insulted! :)

  21. says

    PZ said “I expect you all to make lots of copies, team up, put on your white shirts, get on a bicycle, and distribute them in your neighborhood.”

    Such a joker, that PZ.

    He meant brown shirts.

  22. says

    I like the resources- I’m going to have a go at the poster tho as I feel it is too USA and male -centric as it stands – just for me and maybe other women who want a poster that is equal to male and female- and I have never heard of half of those books lol somaybe a tweak at those too – Its a great idea and obviously very personal to the author?

    Also my daughter is a professional artist- I’ll see what she thinks about ‘tarting up’ the pamphlets and doing a couple of posters :) (I may have to persuade her with chocolate )I’ll get back to you

  23. says

    @ #30 Psychodiva

    Great! I am sure Chris Tucker will be happy to be flattered by imitation.

    I hope you will make it as generally appealing as you can to a wide variety of people, with as much feeling as you can put into it. Think of other popular texts such as ‘Desiderata’. Finish it off with a bit of artistic flair. It will be a winner!

    Thanks for your enthusiasm.

  24. Rey Fox says

    Yes, the hats must come off for sex. Most of them cover the face too much, and if your sexual activities aren’t sufficient to knock one off, then you’re not doing it right.

  25. says

    Thanks, Cyberguy. Great resources; the scientific method one I will pass on to my school teacher friends. With the increased emphasis on nature of science in our new (NZ) science curriculum, I suspect many of them will find it rather useful.

  26. says

    @ #35 Alison
    I am living in NZ too, in case you didn’t realise.

    The christian group “Focus on the Family” recently distributed sets of anti-evolution CDs and books into 200 NZ schools.


    Do you have any idea of how this material was received by teachers, especially science teachers?

    Are you able to get a copy of this material from your teacher friends, so that we can make resources available to specifically counter the anti-rationalism brigade?


  27. marty says

    One time in my drug-experimentation days, a few of us got all trippy and studied the hell portion of that Bosch painting, “the garden of earthly delights.”

    What we were stunned to notice was that, generally, everyone without a hat was being tortured by someone wearing a hat.

    And the naked people strung up on the musical instruments? No doubt it was the 80s band “Men Without Hats.”