The Cover of Atheism for Dummies

My friend Dale McGowan is writing the book Atheism for Dummies and blogging about the process. He recently had a chance to offer input on the book’s cover and created a checklist for the image that would grace his book:

- Embodies natural worldview
- Represents desire to understand world
- No religious negation
- Directly accessible/relatable (no galaxies or atoms)
- Wonder-inducing
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Not typical. Provokes thought/question. OK if connection not obvious
- Owns the illusion of design

Eventually, he found the perfect symbol. So here’s a mockup of the future book cover:

I love it :) How about you?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://garicgymro.wordpress.com/ garicgymro

    Why are galaxies and atoms less accessible/relatable than what he finally chose? A picture of the Milky Way seems pretty accessible to me.

    • http://garicgymro.wordpress.com/ garicgymro

      Not that I think galaxies or atoms would have been better. I think they probably fall down on other criteria.

    • Charon

      The fact that you can’t actually take a picture of an atom should disqualify that one… but galaxies? Why not galaxies? I understand why not, say, a star-forming nebula – beautiful, but looks way too much like religious imagery, and most people would have no idea what it was. But… a galaxy? Really? I’m guessing galaxies are as familiar to people as bisected nautilus shells.

      I mean, the cover’s fine. I’m just confused about ruling out galaxies from the get-go.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

      Dang, I’m having a hard time putting this into words, but I agree,  images of atoms and galaxies just feel wrong.  How many times have such images been shown while some patriarchal voice intones some “eternal truth” at us?    
       Sadly, there are people who aren’t able to identify images of atoms and galaxies, even the 1960s conceptualizations, and they likely won’t be able to ID a nautilus shell, either.  Fibonacci who?  I predict that many religious people who read this book will be confused by the fact that evolution is not a tenet of atheism.

  • Heliconia

    This is lovely, and almost perfect, but…the curve of the yellow section in the lower left doesn’t match the spiral of the nautilus shell! Trivial, I know, but aesthetically weird enough to bother me.

    • Johann

      The curve is part of the standard Dummies book cover design, so this probably would’ve been impossible to accomplish without doing some very weird things with perspective, or showing much less of the shell and so losing some of the overall impact.  Personally, I like it – leaving out the outside of the outermost curve makes it more visually complex and almost forces you to pause and think about it to reconstruct it.

  • Peter Eakin

    I love it too. It reminds me of : http://www.google.ca/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=268&q=dawkins+and+fossil&oq=dawkins+and+fossil&gs_l=img.12…5355.30600.0.31395.18.12.0.6.2.0.514.2296.0j8j1j1j0j1.11.0…0.0…1ac.jvc9ljqpV_8#q=dawkins+and+fossil&num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=1&biw=1024&bih=512

  • Justin

    Reminds me of an old high school calculus textbook cover.

  • chanceofrainne

    I like it.

  • Aina Jaharah

    You mean there wasn’t already an Atheism For Dummies book?

  • dangeroustalk

    Meh, We don’t want the dummies. Religious believers can keep them. 

  • cipher

    I’ll give even odds some creationist will point to the nautilus as evidence of intelligent design, and cite it as an example of irony.

    • B_R_Deadite99

       You know, I’ve actually seen some fossil ancestors of the nautilus that were much less complex and were accurately dated to their own respective parts of the Time Scale. Sure the creationists will do this; does a chimp throw its shit when it feels threatened?

  • rich h

    I would like this picture (http://www.atheistcartoons.com/?p=955) but that probably wouldn’t work artistically…

  • advancedatheist

    I would have chosen a pair of dice as the cover illustration, or some similar gambling device, just to tweak the christians about “random chance.”

  • noyourgod

    Hate it.  Tremendously.

  • moother

    how about a hurricane shaped like a uterus slamming into the GOP convention?

    http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/gop-cancels-day-one-convention-divine-wrath-heads-tampa 

  • jjramsey

    I like it and can certainly see how it would segue into a discussion on the inner cover of what atheism, especially atheism from the perspective of naturalism, is about.

  • eonL5

    Excellent image for the cover. A+


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