Pharyngula

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.

i-eabaecb6d1203ad98d5c66e48b37b1a6-ipu.png

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.

i-f936bb2404d764ddbaf389d9f28f35c0-asterisk.gif

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:

i-1667b427d947467500322c08673f7387-carls_idea.gif

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.

i-d1f42dbb87809315a1f447f3ac096650-a_period.gifi-3419da44b66c972d4d3fa08350f9d065-a8.gif

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

i-0431baf6e7f9f9d5c8ed4535456cb80a-symbolsnw4.gif

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

i-592e4f00d5783531d4f61db64c71065c-sanddollar.jpg

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:

i-bdf3e09a300056c444606d9710428a8b-dnalogo.gif

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:

i-a6fc8c1d88b0de9895f4544f0b1d3e2a-jp_pansy.gif

Node_3 submits a rough draft of a galaxy:

i-87d4725ba19cb548847d4b2bb9c1124f-galaxy.gif

A natural symbol:

i-fccbc660c1a40dab8882239a44787be0-the_natural.gif

Here’s an interesting design:

i-f3b4c4a680435737771683c2c7ec7ace-lightbulb.gif

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

i-0e4073a4af93c95cadff10487254124c-creation_flip.jpg

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:

i-aec77660a1380935b9307a8ae3caa908-infinA.gif

Pencils with erasers:

i-8ec615e02003ad69e6dc04ce9f75ba56-pencils.gif

And how about atheos?

i-a34fb74509dccce1bfd09280b38d699e-atheos.gif

Comments

  1. #1 anonymous
    October 28, 2006

    It was the question of why, every time I do a story about the Church, they won’t be interviewed. Why are they different from all other institutions we do stories on?

    “Why do they always manage to move the air date at least a month back with the legal department?

    “That was the big question: What are you hiding? Why should I give you all the questions I’m going to ask before you’ve even decided if you’re going to be interviewed? And that’s the kind of thing the Church typically does. It’s not allowing you to be a journalist.

    “I guess it’s similar to the way they obey canon law versus civil law. It’s kind of like they make their own rules for everything.”

    *********************

    Source: http://torontosun.com/Entertainment/Movies/2006/10/27/2144887-sun.html

    Thought that this may be just one more nail in the coffin for protecting religion. Dawkins and Harris are right to get ticked because we are so scared to challenge religion —especially when it serves as an incubator for evils such as these because people are told to check their brains at the door and not question.

    The movie that this review is about is very frank about how far up the chain of command the blame goes. I did read this:

    Neither does the longtime segment-producer for CNN, CBS and ABC spare newly installed Pope Benedict, who, before he took office, presided over high-level Vatican committees looking into priestly abuse. Ultimately, the committee of bishops washed their hands of the whole sordid mess, not only prompting lawsuits from victims but also prompting President George W. Bush to grant the pontiff immunity from prosecution here.

    Source: http://www.examiner.com/a-367187~_Evil__mastermind.html

    Please reread the last sentence of that quote. Can anyone back that up? Can anyone explain to me how that happened??

    Conservatives are always about PROTECTING THE CHILDREN— from the evil OUT THERE— but not the assholes that are in their midst. Why??

  2. #2 anonymous
    October 28, 2006

    It was the question of why, every time I do a story about the Church, they won’t be interviewed. Why are they different from all other institutions we do stories on?

    “Why do they always manage to move the air date at least a month back with the legal department?

    “That was the big question: What are you hiding? Why should I give you all the questions I’m going to ask before you’ve even decided if you’re going to be interviewed? And that’s the kind of thing the Church typically does. It’s not allowing you to be a journalist.

    “I guess it’s similar to the way they obey canon law versus civil law. It’s kind of like they make their own rules for everything.”

    *********************

    Source: http://torontosun.com/Entertainment/Movies/2006/10/27/2144887-sun.html

    Thought that this may be just one more nail in the coffin for protecting religion. Dawkins and Harris are right to get ticked because we are so scared to challenge religion —especially when it serves as an incubator for evils such as these because people are told to check their brains at the door and not question.

    The movie that this review is about is very frank about how far up the chain of command the blame goes. I did read this:

    Neither does the longtime segment-producer for CNN, CBS and ABC spare newly installed Pope Benedict, who, before he took office, presided over high-level Vatican committees looking into priestly abuse. Ultimately, the committee of bishops washed their hands of the whole sordid mess, not only prompting lawsuits from victims but also prompting President George W. Bush to grant the pontiff immunity from prosecution here.

    Source: http://www.examiner.com/a-367187~_Evil__mastermind.html

    Please reread the last sentence of that quote. Can anyone back that up? Can anyone explain to me how that happened??

    Conservatives are always about PROTECTING THE CHILDREN— from the evil OUT THERE— but not the assholes that are in their midst. Why??

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2006

    I’d like to see the capital Greek letter Delta

    it’s yet another symbol that has been heavily co-opted by the xians as representing the holy trinity. However, there is an interestng history to it:

    http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/28/281.html

    also note the symbol representing dialectical materialism presented in the text.

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2006

    After following the Happy Human link and reading up on the Humanists, it seems as though this matter has already been settled.

    well, naturalism.org uses a leaf as a symbol.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    October 28, 2006

    I rather like the “a period” graphic by Manxome One put up just now by PZ.

  6. #6 llewelly
    October 29, 2006

    DNA is cool, DNA is great, everyone has DNA, but what does DNA have to do with atheism?

    Many religions claim humans were designed, or at least the god-intended outcome of evolution. DNA contains substantial evidence against these claims. The conflicts between evolution and many religions often lead people toward atheism, as many popular religions have little or no compatibility with evolution. DNA is a symbol of evolution (despite the fact that Darwin’s theories predated knowledge of DNA, and even widespread knowledge of genes).

    Most atheists – especially more the widely read atheists – accept evolution, and some promote education about evolution quite aggressively. If Dawkins wrote about evolution only in the context of writing primarily about atheism, he would never have acquired the reputation necessary to give an atheism promoting work like _The God Delusion_ any chance of wide readership. In the minds of most ordinary people, the two notions most strongly associated with atheism are probably satanism and evolution. Choosing DNA as a symbol would leverage and strengthen the evolution connection.

  7. #7 Ichthyic
    October 29, 2006


    “Alpha looks like the Christian fish.”


    Then we can tell the Christians it’s what their fish looks like after it hits the wall of reality.

    I’m sick of xians co-opting everything. It’s NOT their fish, damnit!

    they co-opted the original meaning for their own usage from the vesica pisces:

    http://altreligion.about.com/library/glossary/symbols/bldefsvesica.htm

  8. #8 Ichthyic
    October 29, 2006

    I often enjoy asking xians why they have a picture of a vagina stuck on the bumper of their car.

    It gets even better if they ask what I mean by that, and i get to explain to them how their symobolism they love so much is all co-opted from “pagans”.

  9. #9 Domomojo
    November 1, 2006

    Someone already mentioned this discussion at the Richard Dawkins web page forum, but here is the direct link:
    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=182

    As I said there, I like the simple ring best, but the asterisk is my second favorite.

  10. #10 Aleksandar Macasev
    August 22, 2007

    I have posted some insights about the possibility of an atheist logo at http://www.richarddawkins.net forum.

    Check it out here:
    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=808&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=160#p358760

  11. #11 Sarah
    January 12, 2008

    Well, I’ve read about half this post…and I see it’s been a while since anyone posted, but in regards to complaints about symbols moving around (eg. infinity) if it were a necklace of some sort – you can put a little hook on the end you want to be the top and there shouldn’t be any confusion :)

  12. #12 Sarah
    January 12, 2008

    Oh – and a suggestion: a smaller astrik attached to part of the inner side of an open circle. Not so much of a flowery astrik, but I think overall it could be quite cool.

  13. #13 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    meets the requirements, and since I’m a Lennon fan, goes beyond in my book.

    I really like it.

    thanks, Sarah.

    *o|-<(

  14. #14 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2008

    heh, except i forgot that the angle brackets designate code on this blog.

  15. #17 Technorino
    January 2, 2009

    That michaelangelo pic made me lol :D

  16. #18 niyan
    January 7, 2009

    i suggest to use a “alpha enclosed in a circle”,if the sugestion still holds,…

  17. #19 Anton
    April 28, 2009

    Hi,why dont we use a stylised version of the hidrogen atom like the one that uses Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.

    It’s a clean, easy to draw symbol and the primordial element of the universe because it’s the most simple of them all and all the other elements of the periodic table are created from it through nuclear fusion reactions that take place in the interior of the stars.

    I put an stylised version of it in the next link:

    http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/5251/hidrogeno.png

  18. #20 Anton
    April 28, 2009

    Hi,why dont we use a stylised version of the hidrogen atom like the one that uses Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.

    It’s a clean, easy to draw symbol and the primordial element of the universe because it’s the most simple of them all and all the other elements of the periodic table are created from it through nuclear fusion reactions that take place in the interior of the stars.

    I put an stylised version of it in the next link:

    http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/5251/hidrogeno.png

  19. #21 F. Bacon
    April 30, 2009

    #393′s “Only Sky” above, is head and shoulders above all the rest…it even includes the * symbol.

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    January 2, 2010

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