Alfred Paul Seckel (September 3, 1958 – 2015) was an American authority on visual and other types of sensory illusions, and how they related to perception. Seckel collected, researched, and experimented with illusions to understand what conditions are necessary for them to work, with particular focus on how they can be explained in terms of the electrophysiology and neuroanatomy of the retinal and cortical networks that mediate visual perception.
Throughout the 1980s, Al Seckel was active in the Freethought movement. In this capacity he authored a number of articles and pamphlets. He also edited two books on the English rationalist philosopher Bertrand Russell. In 1983, Seckel and John Edwards co-created the Darwin fish design, which was first sold as a bumper sticker and on T-shirts in 1983–84 by a southern California group called Atheists United. Chris Gilman, a Hollywood prop maker, manufactured the first plastic car ornaments in 1990, and licensed the design to Evolution Design of Austin, Texas. When the emblem evolved into a million-dollar business, Evolution Design began threatening to sue distributors of look-alike and derivative products (like a Jewish "gefilte" fish). Seckel in turn sued Evolution Design for copyright infringement. Seckel did not seek royalties, but wanted Evolution Design to allow free use of the design by anyone authorized by him. Although Seckel was able to produce examples of the design that predated Gilman's claimed 1990 copyright date, the suit was settled when it became apparent that Seckel and Edwards had allowed the design to fall into public domain...
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