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Favorite Atheist??

Pick an option.

  • 7 votes
  • 11 votes
  • 24 votes
AtheistPeace 3 June 4

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I am my favorite atheist.

And why does this need to turn into a popularity contest?

I can't say what the poster's intent was, but if it was me, it would be to celebrate the people who have made great contributions to the cause of raising up rationality over superstition, and to keep their arguments alive in the public square. So in my view it's not a popularity contest at all; it's a party! 🥳


@Flyingsaucesir nah, it's a popularity contest. When people start voting for people whom they like best, it's a contest. Why does it matter otherwise?

@Gwen_Wanderer You may have missed two small words I wrote: "for me." For you, it's something else. That's ok. We're both free thinkers. We don't have to think exactly alike. 🙂

@Flyingsaucesir point taken!

If I ran a poll on this site asking, "Is your favorite atheist Gwen or Flyingsaucsir?" would you not consider this a popularity contest? 😀

@Gwen_Wanderer Yes, I certainly would. But in this case the question gave us couple of big names, people who have published work that furthered the cause. That we should consider ourselves or anyone else not in that category never even crossed my mind.

If it were written as you suggest, I would have to vote for Gwen 🙂

@Flyingsaucesir We shall agree to disagree--it is just a matter of degree.

Of course, I agree that I am more popular than you are. 😛


My favourite atheist was my partner and a very special friend.

Betty Level 8 June 4, 2024


I said the same! But you can be my second favorite.

Sounds good to me. I can lead or I can be a sidekick.

@Sierra4 we can share the serious responsibilities of being the "favorite."


George Carlin. Sorry he's gone.

zeuser Level 9 June 4, 2024

I loved his rational comedic style. He would have had a lot of material to work with these last nine years. He is much missed.

And Carl Sagan….😐

@Aaron70 Also a good choice.


Bertrand Russell, I found one of his books in the attic (we had a Great 2-generation attic!)at age 11-ish and it was an awakening for me in many areas,



You beat me to it!


Matt Dillahunty

He's a good one

@Tejas Aron Ra is good too.


I can't narrow it down to just one ❤️ 😂


Stephen Fry


I voted for Dawkins but George Carlin immediately comes to mind as well.

For all round secular thinker I'd say Carl Sagan.

So, it depends.


I tried very hard to think of one not mentioned by anyone else, just to extend the list, he is not particularly a favorite, but and old one, just to push the time line back. T. H. Huxley, Darwin's Bulldog. Or how about Robert Chambers, the inventor of the secular encyclopedia.

Huxley was great though called himself an agnostic. I liked how he countered the ethical views of his contemporary Herbert Spencer who was something of a forerunner of Ayn Rand and her ilk.

Robert Ingersoll was truly Great and a Republican.

Going back quite a ways the Syrian pessimist Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī is worth mentioning:

He was childfree. His tomb supposedly reads:
This is my father's crime against me, which I myself committed against none. Damn! That’s harsh.

I guess he was a forerunner of Schopenhauer and David Benatar. I’m not antinatalist like that, but childfree is a reasonable choice.

From the wiki: Al-Ma'arri is controversial even today as he was skeptical of Islam, the dominant religion of the Arab world.[16] In 2013, almost a thousand years after his death, the al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda, demolished a statue of al-Ma'arri during the Syrian civil war.[30]

@Scott321 I forgot Ingersoll. He was certainly the best.

I believe that Huxley did not just call himself an agnostic, but that he actually invented the word.


Like Gwen and Sierra4, I’m my fave atheist.


Aron Ra


Ronald Reagan, JR.

I was a Christian for three months, and a few Christians thought that is why, I'll am still a good person. 😂


Again, I don't have a favorite. However, since no one has mentioned them (yet), I'll toss out two names: Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris. Together with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins, they are sometimes referred to as the "Four Horsemen of Atheism." 😂

I’d agree mostly on Dennett (pbuh) despite his horrendous treatment of Gould in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and over-reliance on Dawkins’ goofy memes idea. Breaking the Spell was pretty good overall. Though myself agnostic on free will I found Dennett’s compatibilist arguments on that idea interesting and enjoyed his needling self-sure Harris during their discussion of that. Harris had taken the biggest nosedive of all the New Atheists in my eyes starting with his polemics against Hume’s guillotine in The Moral Landscape but especially his signal boosting of that jackass Jordan Peterson and his subsequent marketing pivot into that Pseudo-Intellectual Dork Web morass. What a regrettable shit show that became.

@Scott321 You are apparently much more up to date on these guys than I am. The last thing I read by Harris was his Letter to a Christian Nation, and that was probably 30 years ago. I have heard some recordings of Dennett, but not the ones you refer to. I especially like his (Dennett's) quote about Darwin having had the "best idea" anyone ever had...

As a youngster I enjoyed Gould very much, and was a little disappointed to learn that he had appropriated at least one important idea (punctuated equilibrium) without crediting the true originator (Ernst Mayr, though he did not call it that).

I agree that Dawkins can be kinda goofy 😂

@Flyingsaucesir Mayr came up with the ideas of peripheral isolate populations yielding peripatric speciation and the associated notion of genetic revolution, which if memory serves had a genetic drift component. This operates at the level of population biology.

Gould and Eldredge’s punctuated equilibrium was alleged to operate over longer time periods. Mayr’s ideas inspired punk eq to an extent along with other forerunners. I thought Gould and Eldredge had credited Mayr for his inspiration. The wikipedia says this:
A year before their 1972 Eldredge and Gould paper, Niles Eldredge published a paper in the journal Evolution which suggested that gradual evolution was seldom seen in the fossil record and argued that Ernst Mayr's standard mechanism of allopatric speciation might suggest a possible resolution.[5]


The running joke was that Mayr was going around saying he invented punk eq, but I presume it was a bit different overall from his population level ideas.


Here’s Gould and Eldredge in “Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism" (1972):

Since the subpopulations of a species adapt to a range of differing local environments, we might expect these groups to differentiate, acquire isolating mechanisms and, eventually, to form new species. But gene flow exerts a homogenizing influence "to counteract local ecotypic adaptation by breaking up well-integrated gene complexes" (Mayr, 1963, p. 178). The role of gene flow is recognized in the central tenet of allopatric speciation: speciation occurs in peripheral isolates because only geographic separation from the parental species can reduce gene flow sufficiently to allow local differentiation to proceed to full speciation.

In this view, the importance of peripheral isolates lies in their small size and the alien environment beyond the species border that they inhabit--for only here are selective pressures strong enough and the inertia of large numbers sufficiently reduced to produce the "genetic revolution" (Mayr, 1963, p. 533) that overcomes homeostasis.


@Scott321 It's been a long time since I last thought about any of this. Now that my memory is jogged, I do remember some (deserved, I think) criticism (from Dawkins and Harris, if memory serves) of Gould's idea of "non-overlapping magisteria." As an increasingly hard atheist I am admittedly biased in favor of science, and consider god religion silly and pathetic; not magisterial at all. I think progress in the fields of evolutionary psychology and neuroscience tends to support such a stance. Gould admitted a diplomatic role for NOMA, but downplayed it. Personally, I think diplomacy is NOMA's only role, but I don't think diplomacy is much called for. I don't see any reason to grant god religion any space in human consciousness. It's just an unfortunate feature that we have to live with for the ongoing present, and hope that some day it will be completely eradicated. But again, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I'm much more concerned with keeping my boat afloat, and my garden free of weeds. 😂

@Scott321 BTW, ALL biological evolution takes place at the population level.

Believers were so upset with all this that they came up with a "deathbed conversion" on Hitch after he died. None of it true. They do anything. I even read an account where a believer killed his atheist friend over religious belief.


Comedians. Dave Allen, George Carlin. I would even put Monty Python there.

puff Level 8 June 4, 2024

I agree but I would also add Douglas Adams

@273kelvin Never heard of him, will look him up.

@puff Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently Holistic Detective.

@273kelvin Ahhhhhhh hitchhikers. Great book.

@puff This is the best argument against not only creationism but the mindset that follows.

@273kelvin Would you class him as a comedian though? Ben Elton writes great books too, writer of the Young Ones. I suspect he is atheist but not sure. Probably started with Oscar Wilde.

@puff Well the example of the clip I posted had stand-up elements but strictly not a comedian in its usual sense. However, the level of atheist humour in his work is equal to that of Monty Python and they are not stand-ups either.

@273kelvin True

@273kelvin You should make that video a post.


Seth Andrews, the creator and host of the online community The Thinking Atheist.


You need a few more options….🤔


I see that one of the most important, somewhat recent atheist authors has been neglected. I grew up loving Letters from the Earth, an infamous satirical lampoon of Christianity written by Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens. Twain set the stage for much of the 20th century's atheism, even if that was not his central subject. He deserves a major shout-out as, if not my favorite atheist, perhaps a prominent runner-up.


James Randi is probably my favorite

Tejas Level 8 June 5, 2024

Not a very objective question. There are sooo many to choose from each with their own strengths. Besides, in today's world the movement and great writers is increasing almost exponentially.



Ryo1 Level 8 June 5, 2024

Hemant Mehta and PZ Myers I suppose. I’m mixed on Hitchens. He went neocon on Iraq but despite that his views on the plight of Palestinians were quite forward thinking and so very apt now contra Coyne, Harris etc.


It comes down to what you believe.

Is beauty truth and truth beauty?

I think they can be, at least subjectively.

But there can also be ugly truths. Take, for instance, racism in America,...

We're getting into the realm of poetry here.

Reply to Polemicist's comment I dislike " X is Y" attempts because X is obviously NOT Y even though I do know what he is trying to say. The truth is most people require a deeper explanation of what it truly means .
A lot of people accept "God is Love " without question and they should question it because it is facile.


My other is John Richard on Youtube Free thought Hour. His sidekick gives him good support

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