Lee Cronin: Making Matter Come Alive – TED2011

This is reblogged from Atheist Media. The link and the video screen above will take you to their web site to watch the video. It’s a good one.

Filmed Jul 2011; Posted Sep 2011 on TED:

Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead “stuff.” How improbable is it that life arose? And — could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life (anything that can evolve), chemist Lee Cronin is exploring this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a “Lego kit” of inorganic molecules — no carbon — that can assemble, replicate and compete.

Atheists need better PR


The other day, PZ Myers posted that he’s at the Project 42 Freethought Convention in Fargo, ND September 24, 2011.

I went to the Project 42 web site (screen capped above). I looked at the graphics and I thought, this is the marketing for this event?

PZ Myers is on the splash page? Why? Because he’s the sexy face of free thought? The idea and the image don’t bother me. But take a good look at it.

I can see what they did there with graphics. They gave it a 3D feel. That’s cool right?

But look closer. His hands look like he’s crushing a mouse skull. His hands look mangled. It’s borderline horror film. All his digits aren’t represented and the ones that are there might give me nightmares.

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple. 

And Michael Shermer?

Who shot that photo of Shermer? It looks like he’s professor Gandolf or Dr. Palpatine doing a Jedi mind trick just before electrocuting you with lightning fingers. Did the designer think it looked cool to drop that shadow so far away so it looks like Shermer is holding his hand like the Pope over some child’s head?

And those “Imma badass eyes … believe everything I say.”

Can you say, “Creepy.”

The lighting says, I’m two-faced. I have an enlightened side and a dark side. Would you like to fondle my dark side?

Do we really need to make ourselves out to be silly?

I want to stand behind atheism, but these graphics disturb me. If we stand for bettering the world, we should have better graphics behind us and in front of others.

Surely within our ranks there are photographers and graphic designers who can offer better art than this. I’ve heard of a photographer or two in my day. I know we’re grassroots and splintered in personalities, but this is somewhat dumbfounding.

Atheists need better PR.


What the kids are posting

This is a series of posting collections of things the kids at reddit.com/r/atheism are posting. Again, it’s not what I agree with, but what they find worth posting.

Check out this helpful web site that shows the number of days since a homophobic Republican is outed for a gay sexual scandal.

A wall paper comp of an illustrative NYC skyline and a pencil erasing a plane flying toward the twin towers. 

New South Carolina license plates say, “In reason we trust.” 

Typography graphic of words says, “Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows. 

God graphic says, “Gov. Rick Perry asks Texans to pray for rain. Sets Texas on fire.” 

All can be found here.

I am the atheist version of blessed

The culture of non-belief is ill-defined.

Many of our believing friends say, pray for this and that. Or they catch themselves and say, I’m thinking about you, brother.

Even as a Christian, I started saying things like, “You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.” Many believers say it.

Believers don’t want to offend the people who might not be Christian.

But I can say I’m blessed. I have lots of friends. Many of you remembered my birthday yesterday through emails and notes on my facebook page.

Without the lot of you, I don’t know where I’d be.

If you’re praying for me, I appreciate it.

And if you’re hoping the best for me, just as well.

Many thanks to you and yours, and let this next year be a helluva year … to you … to me … to everyone we know.


Even you.