Gamers for Godlessness 24 Hour Gameathonapalooza!


Lousy Canuck (Jason Thibeault) and JT Eberhard are currently engaged in a 24 hour long video gaming marathon, with guests Skyping in! Money raised goes to the fine people at Camp Quest and Women in Secularism.

I'll be joining them for a chat (and to help keep them awake) starting at about 1 am tonight!  Probably talk about atheism in comic book games, and I'm hoping to discuss Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed.

Oh - the little banner I whipped up, above, was made on my iPhone using Sketch Club with some lettering a cloning done in Photoshop afterward.

Visit them here!  You can comment and join in the fun.
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Fossil Gears









One of the highlights during our road trip from Toronto to Halifax was spending a night at atheist-political-sciencey blogger Lousy Canuck's place. Jason and Jodi were kind enough to put our travelling caravan up for the night and introduce us to the wonder of Portal 2. 

To thank @lousycanuck and @pixelsnake for their hospitality, I repainted one of the paintings on slate from my (now-dismantled) final school project into this new work, Fossil Gears

The visit was far too short. We need to meet up again some time! 


Flying Trilobite, left, Lousy Canuck, right.



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Losing heroes

This is what getting older is, isn't it?  I mean at my stage in life. Losing heroes.  




I feel like I just got to this party. I've been blogging about art, science and atheism for almost 5 years, and seriously reading about atheism another 5 before that.  I just got here, and one of the most interesting guests had to go.

Feeling selfish this morning. I want to take the day, eschew my professional responsibilities and do a proper portrait of the man to make up for dawdle of a sketch I did when I heard the news in the middle of the night.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Hitchens sketch



This is a terrible, awful sketch of Christopher Hitchens, who died today and deserves better than my scratching at 2a.m. after two nights of no sleep from our teething baby. I'm posting it anyway. Fuck it.

Hitchens wrote with his verve and sharpness when he shouldn't have had any energy left.  I can post a sketch done out of dealing with my feelings at the loss of one of atheism's great champions and an author I enjoyed. This drawing was about the process upon immediately reading the news on Twitter. Done in ArtRage Studio Pro.

I think I got the eyes right. Hold your hand up and cover the lower half of the image. Unyielding, strong, you can hide behind those eyes like shields of reason.

I will miss him.

Here's Hitchens in defense of the Danish cartoonists targeted by fanatics. Every artist can learn from his defense of free speech.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Religion in Science Education

© Glendon Mellow - glendonmellow.com. Under CCL.


Available as a card, print, framed print or poster in my online store.

Originally done for a PZ Myers - CFI event here in Toronto a few years back.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Creating Atheist Fine Art - post at Mad Art Lab

I'm really excited that today I've got my first post up at Mad Art Lab, the Skepchick art, skepticism and science blog.

It's raising the issue of creating atheist fine art - can metaphorical imagery create paintings as effective in their message as Gnu Atheist bloggers do in their writing?

I'd love for The Flying Trilobite's readership to check out the post, and please comment there! Do I make a good case?  Are there better examples than the ones I use?

Thanks to Surly Amy for the invitation to contribute to Mad Art Lab and to Brian G George for help with editing and formatting.

Check out the post!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

My atheist billboard












The Freedom from Religion Foundation has a fast, neat little application to make your own atheist billboard.  Mine's above and you can see more of them here. I learned about it from radio-show host Mike Haubrich.

When thinking about a quote, I thought about how a lot of people will possibly reference science or morality for these quotes (you can see them all here).  As an artist and an atheist, I thought I would try to sum-up some of the feelings I wrote about it in this post two years ago: Gift from God? I don't think so.

In the post, addressing the 'compliment' of artistic ability being a 'gift', I said;
Just because something is hard to understand, just because complicated processes occurred that you did not witness, does not mean it was caused by a benevolent mythical being who hands out aptitudes like Santa with presents...
...That was studying. That was attempts at keen observation. That was making countless mistakes I attempted to learn from. Feedback. Crits and criticisms. Learning from indifference. Trying new materials. Replicating happy accidents. Sharing techniques. 

I received a lot of support in the comments. When I re-posted it at my RedBubble (online store) account, I ended up with concern trolls.

Far too many artists believe in the divine - probably more in New Age nonsense than organized religion, though there are plenty of those types too. "Meant to be" is the cause of many happy accidents to many artists, when in fact, happy accidents have a lot more in common with Richard Dawkins' ratcheting up Mount Improbable: you hang on to the successes, duplicate them as close as you can and eliminate the artistic attempts that fail in your eyes. Developing a skill, technique and style in art has a lot in common with natural selection. 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Slutwalk and Koran Burning



[Preamble: I'm a white atheist straight male living in Toronto Canada. So, except for the atheist thing, I'm speaking on these political, gender and religious issues from a position of privilege. This blog post represents my understanding at the moment.]


SlutWalk
Today, here in my beloved city of Toronto a huge crowd rallied and marched and demonstrated in the first possibly annual Slutwalk. It was in response to an idiotic, insensitive hurtful, perpetuating-antiquated-stereotypes comment by a Toronto Police officer who said, "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized".

The SlutWalk encourages women to dress how they want to dress, and joined by their families if they wish, to march from Queen's Park (our Province of Ontario house of legislature for you non-Canucks) to Police Headquarters. The basic message is simple: it doesn't matter how a woman dresses, she is not asking to be assaulted or raped.

The SlutWalk Toronto site is here.
BlogTO.com has a great interview about it.
Our Lady of Perpetual Win comments about it on Almost Diamonds.
Some footage from the rally by Torontopia.

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Koran Burning
To shift gears, let's look at the actions of the Pastor in the USA who burned a Koran after threatening months ago to do so.  At first largely unnoticed by mainstream media, it was announced in Afghanistan by Hamid Karzai. After last Friday's prayers, a mob, possibly filled with Taliban infiltrators left a mosque, rioted and attacked a UN building, beheading two, and killing in total 15 people, revised upwards to 21 the next day.

New York Times.
Sam Harris's take on his new blog, with which I largely agree.
Josh Rosenau's response on Thoughts from Kansas, with which I largely disagree.
Notes and Comment.
Why Evolution is True.


Josh and I had a brief discussion on Twitter about it. If I may say, in the end I concluded, "Well it seems you and I agree the pastor is wrong to some degree, but murder is worse than book-burning to some degree."The rest of the conversation was a disagreement over the degree of blame lies at the Pastor's feet.

Basically, I find a lot of attention and blame in the media and some bloggers online are blaming the idiotic Pastor who burned the Koran for the deaths of the UN officials and other civilians in Afghanistan. 

What he did was provocative and idiotic, but hardly worth murder, beheadings and attacking an all-girls school (wtf, but yes really).

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Responsibility for Violence
I can see a parallel - and very very significant differences- between the Pastor's Koran Burning and Slutwalk. Saying the Pastor should expect and therefore be be blamed for fanatical Islamic violence is similar in some ways to saying a "woman is asking for it". 

The Pastor is an ass - I personally don't like book burnings. I once worked at a school library where I was asked to burn some beautiful old Andrew Lang Colour Fairy books in the incinerator, because they were unpopular. I took 'em home. Josh pointed me to this post by PalMD pointing out that book-burning can be an act of violence and not just expression. But book-burning by a denounced nutbar should not be conflated to responsibility for beheading and murdering. 

Women should absolutely dress however they want. I agree with Ontario not having a double-standard when it comes to toplessness (though the social stigma is mainly still there, the legal barrier was and should have been removed.) Standards of what constitutes "proper" dress are fluid with the times and with individual tastes. One person's conservative is another person's offensive. And no clothing choice should be conflated to responsibility for being raped. 

In both situations, the blame for violence falls with the perpetrator of the violence, not with anyone who may or may not have provoked them.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow