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The 50 Most Brilliant Atheists of All Time - Comments

BigBlue's Avatar Comment 1 by BigBlue

Hmmm, no Hitch or Harris. Shame.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 16:29:57 UTC | #889821

Sensible's Avatar Comment 2 by Sensible

I don't agree this is a list of 'brilliant' atheists, although is does show the majority as such. Here is a much bigger list of 101 famous atheists:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/101-famous-atheists

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 16:32:11 UTC | #889823

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 3 by Steve Zara

This isn't a list of the 50 most brilliant atheists of all time. It's a list of 50 people that the author knows who are also reasonably well-known and who happen to be atheists. I happen to like some of the Rolling Stones' music, but Mick Jagger is not a "brilliant" atheist. Russell T. Davies has had great success with producing and writing British TV series, but he is not a "brilliant" atheist. Much as there are things to admire about PZ Myers, he's not in the same league as Democritus. But then that's nothing to be ashamed of, as he not as good an actor as Jodie Foster either (I assume). Neither is Richard (I assume), even with his Dr Who spot a few years ago (a link to R.T.Davies there!)

I rather like such lists if they are presented right. It can do a lot of good to show that so many well-known people, good people, talented people, are atheists, but the "most brilliant atheists of all time" title just doesn't work here, I'm afraid. It's a bit silly.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 16:33:22 UTC | #889824

Carlinlives's Avatar Comment 4 by Carlinlives

Ayn Rand but not Mark Twain?

Zuckerberg but not Hitchens?

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 16:41:24 UTC | #889827

Carlinlives's Avatar Comment 5 by Carlinlives

If you want to put Hollywood in there I would also include Woody Allen and Chaplin.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 16:46:35 UTC | #889829

NickD's Avatar Comment 6 by NickD

A C Grayling?

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 16:50:48 UTC | #889831

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 7 by godsbelow

Epicurus should not appear on any list of atheists. Much as we might like to lay claim to him, all extant evidence suggests that Epicurus and his school were what we would call deists: they believed that gods existed, but denied that they intervened in mortal affairs.

The evidence for Democritus' views on religion are woefully meagre, and most ambiguous: in some fragments of his lost works he writes of the gods as though their existence is to be taken for granted, in others he denies their existence. Beyond this, we have only the accounts, frequently hostile, of later writers for Democritus' attitudes. A good empiricist should hesitate to include him on any list of atheist.

But, as Steve Zara and others have already pointed out, this is really just a list of characters its author seems to like.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 17:09:28 UTC | #889833

paul fauvet's Avatar Comment 8 by paul fauvet

Has the author never heard of Karl Marx?

The complete absence of the marxist tradition suggests that this is a politically censored list.

You might not like their politics, but the brilliance of Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin, Antonio Gramsci and Rosa Luxemburg seems beyond dispute. And they have certainly had a large impact on history than Mick Jagger or Jodie Foster.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 17:21:23 UTC | #889838

lazarus's Avatar Comment 9 by lazarus

No me! :-(

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 17:29:50 UTC | #889839

JuJu's Avatar Comment 10 by JuJu

Should have been titled: A Small List of Brilliant and Other Notable Atheist

Certainly most on the list are some of "The Most Brilliant", but others don't resemble that title, and easily could've been switched out with actual brilliant people.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 17:32:39 UTC | #889841

Bla's Avatar Comment 11 by Bla

Comment 8 by paul fauvet :

Has the author never heard of Karl Marx?

The complete absence of the marxist tradition suggests that this is a politically censored list.

You might not like their politics, but the brilliance of Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin, Antonio Gramsci and Rosa Luxemburg seems beyond dispute. And they have certainly had a large impact on history than Mick Jagger or Jodie Foster.

I also think certainly Karl Marx is worth including on a top 50, and probably Lenin and Trotsky as well.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 17:39:21 UTC | #889843

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 12 by aquilacane

Comment 9 by lazarus

No me! :-(

I was going to say. This list is obviously just slapped together. My name appears nowhere!

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 17:49:00 UTC | #889844

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 13 by drumdaddy

Sorry, the 'Read more' link doesn't open brainz.org for me.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 18:25:13 UTC | #889846

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 14 by Virgin Mary

Really, who cares? Let the religious mongoloids amongst us clamour around trying to justify their beliefs by saying,

"well if s/he was/is an insert your chosen delusion then surely there must be something to it!"

But in all honesty I think that creating an us vs. them mentality isn't going to help anybody and it isn't an attitude I condone. Let them squabble amongst themselves whilst we point and laugh, there's no need for atheists to label themselves.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 18:31:10 UTC | #889847

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 15 by Red Dog

Comment 13 by drumdaddy :

Sorry, the 'Read more' link doesn't open brainz.org for me.

Me neither. It just hangs saying "contacting brainz.org". I tried in Firefox and Chrome and got the same result. Although given that the list seems to have people like Ayn Rand and Mick Jagger (I like the Stones too but brilliant?) and not Mark Twain or Karl Marx I don't think I'm missing much.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 18:43:47 UTC | #889849

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 16 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Always disliked silly lists of this kind: the ten best this and the 100 best that, completely subjective nonsense as far as I'm concerned, akin to the top 4 best colours of all time. As for this one, it can be automatically dismissed on the inclusion of Mick Jagger. It's more like a cobbled together piece of pop-culture brain candy.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 18:52:09 UTC | #889851

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 17 by huzonfurst

Link doesn't work for me, either, but then neither does this pretentious list. Who says these are the "most brilliant" atheists besides the author? I'd much prefer a thick book with as many notable atheists in it as practical, followed over time by other volumes which could become a literal encyclopedia of atheism. As Dr King said, "I have a dream!"

Also, If he's going to include Jodie Foster, I wanna see Angelina Jolie in there too, with pictures.

And where does he get his statistics? I find it hard to believe that "2.3 percent" identify as atheists, mostly because I think it's far more than that but also because of the implied precision in such an answer. Come off it, Brainz.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 18:53:03 UTC | #889852

AnthropicConstance's Avatar Comment 18 by AnthropicConstance

Hold on my bloggy brothers! (I don't see any sisters yet.) A contribution like this should be an inspiration to do better. It's a somewhat risky thing to publish any article, but I'd welcome anyone who matches or betters this one, at least for initiative.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 19:20:09 UTC | #889857

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 19 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 19:37:35 UTC | #889860

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 20 by Virgin Mary

Comment 17 by huzonfurst :

And where does he get his statistics? I find it hard to believe that "2.3 percent" identify as atheists, mostly because I think it's far more than that but also because of the implied precision in such an answer. Come off it, Brainz.

Census results?

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 19:46:03 UTC | #889862

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 21 by mirandaceleste

Comment 3 by Steve Zara :

This isn't a list of the 50 most brilliant atheists of all time. It's a list of 50 people that the author knows who are also reasonably well-known and who happen to be atheists.

Indeed. And that renders this list silly and pointless.

& Isn't brainz.org pretty much just Quora with much less credibility/intelligence and many more boobs?

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 20:13:30 UTC | #889873

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 22 by Schrodinger's Cat

Any list of who is 'great' is bound to be subjective. I think 'influential' is a better list....as I suspect a lot of 'great' people never even get heard of. The most influential atheist of all time would undoubtedly have to be Charles Darwin.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 20:18:34 UTC | #889875

MilitantApatheist's Avatar Comment 23 by MilitantApatheist

If you actually read what Ayn Rand believed, you wouldn't call it brilliant.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 20:48:06 UTC | #889878

Duff's Avatar Comment 24 by Duff

It hardly matters than its not a complete list of the greatest atheists. More people should make such lists and include their own favorites. The more the merrier. The simple people don't think anyone of any note is actually an atheist. Lets let them hear otherwise.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 21:06:06 UTC | #889883

AnthropicConstance's Avatar Comment 25 by AnthropicConstance

It hardly matters than its not a complete list of the greatest atheists. More people should make such lists and include their own favorites. The more the merrier. The simple people don't think anyone of any note is actually an atheist. Lets let them hear otherwise.

Total agreement here.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 21:26:23 UTC | #889890

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 26 by hemidemisemigod

For those (like me) who can't get to this subjective list of "Brilliant Atheists", here is a rather comprehensive list of atheists from that trusted source Weeklypedia

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 21:58:29 UTC | #889896

nazani14's Avatar Comment 27 by nazani14

There's a good discussion of this list over at Unreasonablefaith.com - and it supplies some of the overlooked women atheists.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 22:24:29 UTC | #889899

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 28 by Red Dog

Comment 23 by MilitantApatheist :

If you actually read what Ayn Rand believed, you wouldn't call it brilliant.

Keep in mind they had the following caveat:

"and we use the term "brilliant" to mean "brilliant at their craft" - not just pure brainiacs" so if you categorize Ayn Rand's "craft" as being a huckster and con woman for gullible fools, similar to L. Ron Hubbard I would say she was brilliant in that sense.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 23:07:16 UTC | #889907

BillTarrant's Avatar Comment 29 by BillTarrant

Would be interesting to add a list of brilliant deists. Deists line up with atheists agains the religious.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 23:28:20 UTC | #889914

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 30 by Marc Country

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 23:40:17 UTC | #889918