How Many Top Atheists Do You Recognize?

KCTigerHawk

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A few. Not enough to know how accurate the ranking is, but you have to have some respect from the #1 ranked atheist Peter Singer. His support of infanticide makes him more intellectually honest than most atheists. Even so, his world view is still inconsistent.
 
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A few. Not enough to know how accurate the ranking is, but you have to have some respect from the #1 ranked atheist Peter Singer. His support of infanticide makes him more intellectually honest than most atheists. Even so, his world view is still inconsistent.
Many human cultures have supported limited infanticide. That makes it neither right nor wrong. Just data. His argument is rational. Which is not to say we should adopt it.
 

LuteHawk

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Woody Allen is a really a pathetic person. He commits
incest with his daughter and then marries her. If his
atheistic views influence his lifestyle, then he is a very
miserable human being.
 
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like-woahh

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I guess it's just a personal opinion. To me it turns it into some sort of ideology or a way to self identify. I'm an atheist but it's not like I profess it or even care about it. I don't believe in a God - cool - move on with my day.

I guess I feel like being an atheist shouldn't be some sort of identifying trait. To me a list like this would be the equivalent of a list of "top people who enjoy eating hot dogs." That's how insignificant being an atheist is in my day to day life.
 

naturalmwa

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I agree with woahh. How do you get to be tops in a field which simply denies truth in any theory yet presented. Maybe a better title for this group would be "Top 50 unbiased philosophers" or the like. Atheism is the default state until people start telling you stories. No fetus ever prays in a womb. (maybe that should be the standard for personhood, the ability to pray or refuse. I'd like to hear the religious folk argue that was a bad idea)

But I found this list especially fun for another reason. They list Christopher Hitchens at #10. Mr. Hitchens has been dead since 2011. Wouldn't his inclusion in this list point to some underlying belief in an afterlife? The author of the list describes it as "our list of the 50 top atheists in the world today:" Who says atheists have no sense of humor?
 
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Nov 28, 2010
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I guess it's just a personal opinion. To me it turns it into some sort of ideology or a way to self identify. I'm an atheist but it's not like I profess it or even care about it. I don't believe in a God - cool - move on with my day.

I guess I feel like being an atheist shouldn't be some sort of identifying trait. To me a list like this would be the equivalent of a list of "top people who enjoy eating hot dogs." That's how insignificant being an atheist is in my day to day life.
Not being a bigot shouldn't be an identifying trait either, but if you are a Republican presidential candidate and you aren't a bigot not only will you stand out, but you'll be better than the rest.

The good news is that you live in a time and place where being an atheist doesn't have to be a big deal. But there have been plenty of times and places where that wasn't true.

All this is irrelevant to the question though.

You said "The term 'top atheist' is so dumb to me." And I asked "why?"

Making a list of top atheists isn't about you. And it isn't about atheism. It's about people recognized/respected as atheists. No different than a list of top athletes, authors, trivia players, whatever.

How is that dumb?
 
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I agree with woahh. How do you get to be tops in a field which simply denies truth in any theory yet presented.
It could be because you are well known for it. It could be because you are articulate about it. It could be for a variety of reasons.

The subject matter isn't the topic, or needn't be the topic.

When you make a list of your top authors or movie actors or whatever, what do you mean by that? You do have criteria, I assume. But is it what the author writes about? Is it the kind of role the actor plays? Could be, but probably not. Your top author might be a comedy writer, and your next favorite might be a nuclear physicist. Your top actor might be Charlie Chaplin and your next favorite might be someone who does voices on South Park.

It doesn't have to be about the subject matter.
 
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I found this list especially fun for another reason. They list Christopher Hitchens at #10. Mr. Hitchens has been dead since 2011. Wouldn't his inclusion in this list point to some underlying belief in an afterlife? The author of the list describes it as "our list of the 50 top atheists in the world today:" Who says atheists have no sense of humor?
That occurred to me, too, but this is a 2011 list.
 

uniFIGHTuniFIGHT

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Of course, it is not right or wrong. Athiests, at least honest ones, know there is no right or wrong.

I disagree with that. I think atheists (myself included) make many judgments about what's right or wrong. Doesn't make us necessarily right. It's just not based on religious text or religious dogma. For example, I think it's wrong to engage in genocide.
 

naturalmwa

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It could be because you are well known for it. It could be because you are articulate about it. It could be for a variety of reasons.

The subject matter isn't the topic, or needn't be the topic.

When you make a list of your top authors or movie actors or whatever, what do you mean by that? You do have criteria, I assume. But is it what the author writes about? Is it the kind of role the actor plays? Could be, but probably not. Your top author might be a comedy writer, and your next favorite might be a nuclear physicist. Your top actor might be Charlie Chaplin and your next favorite might be someone who does voices on South Park.

It doesn't have to be about the subject matter.
I'm not sure I agree here, let's ferret this out. Atheism isn't a subject matter. Atheism is the rejection of other subject matters. There is nothing to grip to to be a good atheist. There is no theology or pantheon of beliefs one must trumpet or uphold. It's the blank slate waiting for an answer after every attempt if found wanting. So to be a top atheist is sort of odd in my mind for it seems to ascribe a theology or worldview to the word that I don't think belongs to the concept. A list of top atheists is more in line with those folk who like to think of atheism as its own religion or philosophy when it is simply the absence of those views.

That's why it would be better in my view to call these people philosophers. Philosophers who are simply very good at pointing out the flaws with all the answers others propose. Philosophers who are comfortable looking into the abyss and admitting they haven't a clue what the answer is, but they are damn sure neither does any religion yet devised.
 

like-woahh

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I'm not sure I agree here, let's ferret this out. Atheism isn't a subject matter. Atheism is the rejection of other subject matters. There is nothing to grip to to be a good atheist. There is no theology or pantheon of beliefs one must trumpet or uphold. It's the blank slate waiting for an answer after every attempt if found wanting. So to be a top atheist is sort of odd in my mind for it seems to ascribe a theology or worldview to the word that I don't think belongs to the concept. A list of top atheists is more in line with those folk who like to think of atheism as its own religion or philosophy when it is simply the absence of those views.

That's why it would be better in my view to call these people philosophers. Philosophers who are simply very good at pointing out the flaws with all the answers others propose. Philosophers who are comfortable looking into the abyss and admitting they haven't a clue what the answer is, but they are damn sure neither does any religion yet devised.

This is basically how I feel and thank you for articulating that for me. I just don't think that being atheist should be some sort of defining personality characteristic, and if it is - you've really gone too far with it. I see that list and see a large group of people who have done great work who *happen* to be atheist.

I think making a list like that puts the onus way too much on being atheist other than just being some pretty smart people in their field. I like Dawkins, but I like him because of his work in regards to Evolution science, not because he's an atheist. Honestly, his somewhat militant stance against religion is a bit of a put off. The ONLY thing I care about as being a non-believer is that religion doesn't work its feelers in too deep into government and how society is governed. History has shown us that theocracies pretty much suck donkey balls.

I just feel like lists like these are silly because it puts too much emphasis on the ideology of the person and diminishes the accomplishments they have achieved. I think if you define yourself as an atheist and everything revolves around that you aren't doing yourself enough justice. There are so many more things that make up a person outside of being atheist. I feel that way about race, sexual orientation, religious views, athleticism, talents, etc. They are small parts of a whole that makes us who we are.

If, someday, I develop some amazing thing that benefits mankind (xirkind, sorry, don't want to be too gender specific) and I got put on a list of "top atheists" I'd honestly be pretty pissed - because being an atheist is a small % of what makes up me and who I am.

I dunno, I'm rambling at this point.
 

strummingram

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Woody Allen is a really a pathetic person. He commits
incest with his daughter and then marries her. If his
atheistic views influence his lifestyle, then he is a very
miserable human being.
I think you just went against the instructions of the Apostle Paul from I Corinthians 4:3-7

I can't count how many times you've committed an equivalent sin of lust/adultery on this board. It doesn't bother me at all when you do. But, it is a little hypocritical when you calla complete stranger a pathetic person and he must be a very miserable human being. Get Jesus on the Main Line a bit more often, please. Are you happy? Then, be thankful for it.

By the way, it was his adopted daughter. I think, if you take the Old testament literally, incest was not only acceptable, but necessary. Maybe, since Allen was born and raised Hebrew, he figured "What's good enough for Adam is good enough for me." If he is Jewish (or was), then he's not under the jurisdiction of the New Testament anyway. Right?
 

mstp1992

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I saw this list that claims to be the top 50 atheists in the world.

I recognize nearly half of them (23), but only knew about a third of those (9) I recognized were atheists. I would have guessed most of them would be, but didn't know it.

What about you?

http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2011/12/01/50-top-atheists-in-the-world-today/
Recognize about a third of the names. Two of them I've had the pleasure of meeting (Steven Pinker and Pat Churchland).
 

tarheelbybirth

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I'm surprised NDT isn't on there, but Dawkins is. Both say they are agnostics as demanded by science.
 

naturalmwa

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And genocide is wrong why?
Bitch-please-Bitch-what-Nicki-Minaj-Really-Seriously-O-Rly-Oh-Really-GIF.gif
 
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Of course, it is not right or wrong. Athiests, at least honest ones, know there is no right or wrong.
Sure there is. But is isn't God-given. We figure it out for ourselves. Sometimes we even do a fairly good job of it - inventing concepts like rights and principles like reciprocity and equality.
 
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This is basically how I feel and thank you for articulating that for me. I just don't think that being atheist should be some sort of defining personality characteristic, and if it is - you've really gone too far with it. I see that list and see a large group of people who have done great work who *happen* to be atheist.

I think making a list like that puts the onus way too much on being atheist other than just being some pretty smart people in their field. I like Dawkins, but I like him because of his work in regards to Evolution science, not because he's an atheist. Honestly, his somewhat militant stance against religion is a bit of a put off. The ONLY thing I care about as being a non-believer is that religion doesn't work its feelers in too deep into government and how society is governed. History has shown us that theocracies pretty much suck donkey balls.

I just feel like lists like these are silly because it puts too much emphasis on the ideology of the person and diminishes the accomplishments they have achieved. I think if you define yourself as an atheist and everything revolves around that you aren't doing yourself enough justice. There are so many more things that make up a person outside of being atheist. I feel that way about race, sexual orientation, religious views, athleticism, talents, etc. They are small parts of a whole that makes us who we are.

If, someday, I develop some amazing thing that benefits mankind (xirkind, sorry, don't want to be too gender specific) and I got put on a list of "top atheists" I'd honestly be pretty pissed - because being an atheist is a small % of what makes up me and who I am.

I dunno, I'm rambling at this point.
I feel strongly that you and natural are both missing the point - missing what a "top list" is. I don't disagree particularly with the points you are making, but you aren't on topic. You think the topic is atheism, when that's secondary. The topic is "topness" as regards atheism.

The list has nothing to do with how strongly each person thinks he is an atheist - which seems to be your concern, woahh. And it has nothing to do with what atheism is, which seems to be your tangent, natural. It doesn't even have to do with which people are "better atheists" - whatever that might mean. Which I mention because some "top lists" would be of that nature. Top high jumpers, for example, could simply be a list of jumpers listed in order of the highest jumps.

Consider this. Suppose you had a list of top artists. Let's say these are the top names:

Michaelangelo
Rodin
Beethoven
Shakespeare

You might quibble about the choices - which is part of the fun of having such lists - but you would be confused about what we are talking about? Would you object that you don't think art should be how a person defines himself?

What is the basis for choosing these artists and ordering them that way? Are we saying that painting is more important than drama, that sculpture is more important than music?

Similarly when we list top atheists, are we saying #1 is a better atheist than #2. Are we saying anything about what atheism means?

Would you raise the same objections if I posted a list of top historians?
 

ottumwan in tx

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there is a strong Austin tx connection there. I used to eat at brick oven pizza down on red river and used to sit right next to madeline murray o'hair a couple times. csb. the story about her body being in a 50 gallon drum, in a storage unit, and how jimmy Vaughn had some guitars stolen at the same set of units, was also csb
 

KCTigerHawk

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We need to get a higher quality atheist on this board. Either the batch here isn't intellectually honest or doesn't think very deeply about their position. Probably some of both.
 

strummingram

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We all believe in God. It's not a matter of IF you believe, it's merely HOW you believe. Atheists don't recognize, or observe, the ancient mythology-based "God"... but they do embrace what God always is and always has been. It's all inclusive. No one is left out. We're all in this together.
 

naturalmwa

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We all believe in God. It's not a matter of IF you believe, it's merely HOW you believe. Atheists don't recognize, or observe, the ancient mythology-based "God"... but they do embrace what God always is and always has been. It's all inclusive. No one is left out. We're all in this together.
giphy.gif
 
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strummingram

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Really... you're in the club as long as you are you... and, you always are. God doesn't want anything from you, or require anything from you (or me, or us). Rejecting ancient religions, and their restrictions of what God is, doesn't mean you're not part of the Universe or Creation. As I said, it's all bout HOW, not IF. If saying you're an Atheist makes you feel more in-touch with that sense of rejection, that's fine. You're still a part of all that is, and you always will be. So will I. So will religious people, even though they choose to adhere to those old, restricted beliefs.
 

like-woahh

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Really... you're in the club as long as you are you... and, you always are. God doesn't want anything from you, or require anything from you (or me, or us). Rejecting ancient religions, and their restrictions of what God is, doesn't mean you're not part of the Universe or Creation. As I said, it's all bout HOW, not IF. If saying you're an Atheist makes you feel more in-touch with that sense of rejection, that's fine. You're still a part of all that is, and you always will be. So will I. So will religious people, even though they choose to adhere to those old, restricted beliefs.

Did you pull that out of your ass or from your conversations with God.
 

naturalmwa

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What's the difference?

Although, I don't technically "pull" anything out of my ass.
Oh sure you did. It's not a matter of if you pulled it out of your ass, it's merely how you pulled it out of your ass. My guess is that's some inebriated altered ass pulling. But I believe my god would approve of such things, so diddle away.
 
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strummingram

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Oh sure you did. It's not a matter of if you pulled it out of your ass, it's merely how you pulled it out of your ass. My guess is that's some inebriated altered ass pulling. But I believe my god would approve of such things, so diddle away.
that works
 

like-woahh

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What's the difference?

Although, I don't technically "pull" anything out of my ass.

Because some dude from North Carolina is speaking pretty definitively and confidently about the mysteries of God and the Ethos.

Just curious if this is due to some deep theological study or just a hunch. Perhaps a combination of both.

If it's from an altered state of consciousness due to consuming some interesting compounds - I'll have to suspend my opinion as I've yet to try any of that. I've wanted to give it a go for a little while now, as I hear the experience can be very enlightening.

Side note, I'm actually not trying to be a dick. Sometimes my extremely sarcastic nature gets the best of me.