Definitely not safe for work

A reader sent me a link to a site I hesitate to reference, just because I know some people will be aghast at the exposed mammalian flesh and weird exploitation of women…but it’s got tentacles everywhere, and molluscs, and even a few arthropods and a giant salamander. The title, Tentacles of Desire, and the list of organisms tells you what it’s all about. If you’re easily offended or squeamish about slime or freaked out by perverse fetishes, don’t go there!

Otherwise, though, just consider it a celebration of biodiversity.

A logo for the godless: an impossible assignment?

Norwegianity has put out a request to design an appropriate logo for all of us godless heathen bloggers. There’s a certain religious deathcult that uses an instrument of torture as its immediately recognizable logo—it’s very simple, clean, easy to draw, and they’ve made it their own. You see one of those things on a website or on a necklace and you instantly know to a very rough approximation the predilections of the owner. Why can’t we have something like that?

You might be thinking the very idea is ridiculous, since freethinkers are such a diverse group, but you know, Christians also encompass a very wide spectrum of beliefs on so many issues, and that hasn’t stopped them. It would be great to see somebody with some graphic talent come up with something we could all use.


There is a tradition of using the pansy (pensée) as a symbol, but it isn’t exactly easy to render. The Invisible Pink Unicorn is cool, I think, but really just mocks silly beliefs. American Atheists has a trademarked symbol, a stylized atom, which really ought to be the symbol for Scientism or something, and I’d rather see a symbol that isn’t specific to just atheism. I ran across one site with a simple idea, which might work; I’d have to think about it. It’s an asterisk, which looks a tiny bit like a pansy, and has that open wildcard vibe to it.


Anyway, the kind of thing I would be looking for is something simple, fairly abstract, easy to render, and that wouldn’t antagonize deists, agnostics, or atheists. It should be positive: no crucifixes with a slash through them, for instance. It shouldn’t be weird—no flying spaghetti monsters, please—it shouldn’t be ugly, it shouldn’t be in-your-face and gloating, it should be unobtrusive. It ought to be the kind of symbol that if it were done up as a piece of jewelry, it would be tasteful. Remember, even if you do come up with a nice logo, the hard part is going to be getting a critical mass of unbelievers to adopt it and build a recognizable association with it (and be warned, no matter how gorgeous and elegant and clever an idea you come up with, there will be a solid cadre of the godless who will resolutely refuse to have anything to do with it, on general principles and intrinsic cussedness…which is OK.)

Talk about it in the comments, doodle up stuff and send it to me, and if there is any response at all, I’ll put up a gallery of ideas later. If we’ve got something good, I’ll use it on my site, maybe Mark will join in, and we can get the ball rolling.

We’ve already got lots of suggestions in the comments. Here are some that are easy to render with html:

Book Antiqua : * ∞ Ω ○ π ∅ ⊛ ☉ ☈ ♮ σ α Φ

Bookman Old Style : * ∞ Ω ○ π ∅ ⊛ ☉ ☈ ♮ σ α Φ

Century Schoolbook : * ∞ Ω ○ π ∅ ⊛ ☉ ☈ ♮ σ α Φ

Goudy Old Style : * ∞ Ω ○ π ∅ ⊛ ☉ ☈ ♮ σ α Φ

Lucida Grande : * ∞ Ω ○ π ∅ ⊛ ☉ ☈ ♮ σ α Φ

Times New Roman : * ∞ Ω ○ π ∅ ⊛ ☉ ☈ ♮ σ α Φ

There are also suggestions for combinations (an asterisk inside a circle, for instance—the default renders as a 6-lobed asterisk, unfortunately), or others that would need a professional artist to do—a spiral or a nautilus shell or a torch, for instance. We’ve also got one suggestion for an upraised middle finger, which is rather sweet, but since it’s from a Christian we have to ignore it. Keep ’em coming!

And now a suggestion from Carl:


No fair! Carl could draw a swirly dog turd for us, and it would look good.

Two more suggestions from Manxome One:

Attached are what popped into my head upon reading your post about a godless logo.

The first is a stylized lowercase a with a period ( A, period!), which happens to look somewhat like a question mark on its side.

The second is the same idea, only the a is a highlighted portion of a stylized infinity symbol.


Here are some nice renderings of the asterisk in a circle idea from Lucas:


There’s something I like about this. They remind me of echinoderms!


Oh, how I would love to subvert this stupid story you can find in every cheap beach trinket store along the Washington coast.

And another design from Nick:


More suggestions have come in overnight. I’ve added alpha and phi to the line of text symbols above, and here are some more graphical ideas:

John Pieret sends us a pansy:


Node_3 submits a rough draft of a galaxy:


A natural symbol:


Here’s an interesting design:


Just for laughs (no way is this appropriate!), here’s a
cute suggestion:


What next? Hank Fox has a few suggestions in the comments. I’m going to be a bit elitist and say I don’t like the idea of a poll; clicking a button doesn’t require much thought or commitment, and is also easily abused. What I propose is to let the discussion here go on a few more days, and then I’ll pull out the ones that get the most interest (the asterisk, the circle, the natural symbol, pi, something with DNA, the empty set are all strong contenders right now), and I’ll ask their defenders to send me a summary of their support. I’ll put up one more post on it, and ask for comments yay or nay, and I think what I’ll do is weight the ones from people with weblogs who’d put the symbol in some prominent place more heavily. That’s what we need to get this to work, is people who will use the symbol.

Another volley of entries…from GodfreyTemple:


Pencils with erasers:


And how about atheos?


Bill Ingebrigtsen, Rethuglican

I live in the 11th Minnesota senate district, and I’m represented by a Democratic incumbent, Dallas Sams. I am not a fan of Sams; he’s one of those pro-life moderate Democrats, not particularly progressive (although he did make the effort to squelch an anti-gay marriage act), and if there’d been an alternative candidate at the Minnesota caucuses, I would have pushed for them over Sams. I will be voting for Sams on November 7th, though—I won’t even hesitate.

His opposition is a Republican, Bill Ingebrigtsen. Ingebrigtsen has been sending ads—expensive-looking (he has raised twice as much money as the incumbent), glossy, full-color ads—to my house all week. Ingebrigtsen has annoyed me with the implicit racism of his campaign. Ingebrigtsen is a thug.

One of the ads was a collection of mug shots, mostly of minorities, all labeled as “on parole”…apparently, thanks to Dallas Sams. Anyone remember Willie Horton? This was Willie Horton times ten.


Oooh, scary. Better vote for Ingebrigtsen—he wouldn’t ever consider the particulars of a case, or worry about the rights of convicts, or allow the perfectly legal, reasonable process of parole to be carried out. Once you were convicted of anything, forget it—lock ’em up, throw away the key.

Another was a green-tinted, grainy picture, as if taken through night-vision goggles, of a group of dark-skinned people climbing over a wall. Stopping illegal aliens is Bill Ingebrigtsen’s #1 priority! It didn’t look like a sight I’d see at the Canadian border, though; maybe it was Iowa.

Another was astounding in its hypocrisy. He piously deplores the rising cost of college educations, ignoring the fact that it is his party that is responsible for the trend away from support for public institutions, and blames the problem on one horribly irresponsible proposal. Can you guess what it is? There’s a theme here, you know.

That’s right: illegal immigrants. Those damned undocumented aliens want to take your tax money to educate their children, which means you’ll be subsidizing the tuition of brown people while paying exorbitant amounts of money for your kids to go to school. What prompts this fear is that Dallas Sams supports the Minnesota DREAM Act. This truly radical proposal says that children of undocumented aliens who had attended two years of public school in Minnesota and who were enrolled in a Minnesota university would qualify for residency and be charged for in-state tuition.

That’s it.

Bill Ingebrigtsen thinks that if you are a Lutheran who grew up in a white, prosperous suburb of Minneapolis, you are more of a Minnesotan than if you grew up in a rural town where your parents were recent immigrants brought in to pluck chickens at minimum wage for one of the poultry factories in the area. He seems to believe that it is to our state’s advantage if we keep these newer residents of our state poor and uneducated.

That’s all he babbles about: the threat of a Mexican invasion of Minnesota. It’s true that we do have a growing Hispanic population, as our rich factory farms try to bring in more and more cheap labor to do the dirty and dangerous work. It seems to me more to our interests to bring these new people into our communities as full partners, rather than treating them and their children as outsiders who must be ostracized and blocked from becoming even more involved members of our society. But no…that’s not the kind of thing that comes to the mind of a thug.

Democrats may lose in the next election

The Republicans have a secret weapon, one that is going to be unstoppable, and probably means they are going to dominate both houses of Congress. Phil has discovered (via Randi, who also has another useful item) the most potent electoral tool in the Republican arsenal—better than fear and hate, even more powerful than Diebold—I’m telling you, this thing exceeds the awe-inspiring awesome awesomeness of magnetic “support the troops” ribbons for your car. It’s the Presidential Prayer Team. Sign up, and you will get specific instructions on exactly what to tell God. After all, if we can get a million Americans to tell Him that He needs to protect the sacred institution of marriage from the NJ Supreme Court, He’ll know to ignore the uncoordinated pleas for mercy from those backward primitives in Darfur (where, obviously, God has been doing a bang-up job.)

The Presidential Prayer Team harnesses the power of the Internet and popularity of e-mail to communicate with our members. You will receive up-to-the-minute prayer requests and information. PPT is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and effective users of electronic communication in Christian ministry today. The prayers of PPT members have had an untold impact on America for good and for God.

Oh, yes…untold impact. I quite agree with that. I’m also impressed that sending email to Christians is considered innovative and effective—do keep it up, keep those prayer wheels turning. This is a great way to actually accomplish something.

I have to confess, though, that as an atheist I didn’t really understand why this service was necessary. Don’t Christians pray all the time? Well, was I ever surprised to learn this:

Many have wanted to pray for our President and our country, but haven’t known how to pray or what to pray. The Presidential Prayer Team provides you the most accurate and up-to-date information so that you can pray with intelligence, conviction and power.

Oh. So this web page is for the many millions of Christians who know that they are devout and religious, but don’t know how or what to pray for—they are harnessing the power of the imbeciles of America.

Now I’m really afraid.

The scoop on Mike S. Adams

For any locals who are curious about that Mike Adams character who gave a talk on campus yesterday, Bartholomew’s notes on religion has a good summary of his career as a professional victim. There’s also a more complete account of the terrible oppression Adams faced after his response to the 9/11 emails, a story he told in part but at some length yesterday. Funny how he didn’t mention that part of the story involving an undergraduate student he’d marry 18 months later…

Carnivalia, and an open thread

By the way, the mysterious disappearance of this week’s Tangled Bank host is still unexplained, but Thoughts from Kansas has stepped forward to fill in the gap (thanks to you others who volunteered, too—I went through the list in the order the offers were received, and Josh was first). Give him a little time, he’s doing this on very short notice, and I’ll put up an announcement whenever it’s done.

I have forwarded to him all the submissions that were sent via me or, but if you sent anything to metaanalysis directly, you might want to resend it to me.