Ben Kuchera of Polygon wrote a thoughtful, nostalgia-laden piece in response to teases about the new Tony Hawk skateboarding video game in the works. As a fan of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series (or more generally the Tony Hawk series), it got me thinking about the games and their highs and lows, as well as the influence that the titles I played and everything in them had on me in middle and high school.
CNN aired a special all about atheism this evening, titled “Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers“.(1)Teaser linked for now This is surely the end product of activity last year when some reporters were asking around the atheist circles. They recorded a Georgia Tech Campus Freethinkers meeting and one of Atlanta’s Sunday Assemblies, both of which I was present for, and I sent them a long email about my journey to nonbelief. None of that is featured in the special, but it’s nice to see the project I saw in the works finally completed.
This airing seems to coincide with another feature of nonbelief for CNN. Just the other day they published a lengthy article called “The Friendly Atheists Next Door” highlighting a delightful, happy family that manages to also be nonreligious. To people in the atheism community for a while, this may seem mundane, but for the millions who believe we apostates to be evil, Harry Shaughnessy stands in stark, cheery contrast.
The special tonight moved between many different members of the larger atheism movement: Dawkins, Silverman, Dewitt, and some younger faces. There’s a lot within the community, and there are some differing opinions on the show’s quality. I’ll offer my opinions on the good and bad points.
Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Teaser linked for now|
Valve, the company behind Steam and many extremely popular game franchises like Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Half-Life, created a documentary about the biggest esports tournament that had ever taken place before 2011. They both sponsored the tournament and created the game that was played: Defense of the Ancients 2 (or Dota 2).
The film was originally planned to be a simple documentary about the first tournament of its scale for the game, which was still in development at the time. After delving into three particular players’ backstories, however, the documentary makers and Valve decided to create a feature-length film that was released in March of 2014 and captured the essence of the growing space of esports.
Vi Hart is amazing. She’s a fantastic YouTuber who posts videos playing with or introducing science or math concepts while often drawing with Sharpies in a notebook. She’s creative, intelligent, and great at communicating complex ideas. A lot of what she draws or writes is clever and cute, too. (If you need more incentive!)
The video above is one that sat on my “watch later” list for about a year. I knew since it was Vi Hart that I’d love it, but I just never clicked on it to understand what the title meant and what the video was about. It’s unfortunate I waited so long, because it’s an amazing stream-of-consciousness exploration of creativity, randomness, music, math, and, of course, copyright law! It’s dense with great ideas and visuals that whiz by in favor of the next in this half-hour work.
I had so many thoughts while watching that I had to turn what is normally a simple share on social media to a full-blown blog post. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. Sit down with a drink and have your mind engaged and entertained.
Matt Dillahunty started a Patreon campaign a few months ago and received significant support for it before even starting to put up videos. He’s a notable figure at conferences, in debates, and especially on The Atheist Experience, a weekly public access show out of Austin that is majorly responsible for my own deconversion. So I naturally supported his Patreon campaign when I saw it.
I finally took time today to watch the half-hour videos he created on Pascal’s Wager and the argument from design. I’m happy to support his efforts even without watching all the content immediately because I personally have heard plenty on these arguments already. What’s important to me is supporting clear, comprehensive, and articulate treatments of many religious arguments into the world. I find great value in videos like these becoming watershed moments or markers of the best place to have an idea addressed. I want really good discussions in an accessible form for everyone to be able to link to, learn, and straighten out ideas.
With that in mind, I have some thoughts about the videos I watched and some constructive criticism that I believe would help ensure that Dillahunty’s videos continue to be made and exist as educational milestones in religious argumentation.