When the president of a Southern California Freethinker group called me and asked if I'd write a story about pansies as a symbol of freethought, my first reaction was to quote Gary Coleman's character in Diff'rent Strokes; ie: "What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" The association was news to me and, given the colloquial meaning of the word "pansy," I would have considered it an attempt to be insulting if it had come from anyone else.
 
It turns out that I'm just ignorant of the history of the freethought movement.
More here.

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One still has to take into account the association in the same way that teachers must take into account how hiliarious "uranus" is to the students who they're teaching.

I think we can do better than Sigmund Freud.

Diagoras the Atheist

An image of any particular person is a bad idea. It reeks of theology and ideological cults of personality. Like banners of Lenin or the depictions of jeebus nailed to a hunk of wood, it makes them the central authority. Linking something like free thought to any one individual seems like an oxymoron.

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