Sunday, October 05, 2008

Strong atheist public figures

The Jolly Nihilist asked me a question that I don't have a great answer for. Not the first time, probably not the last.

Who do you see as being a good, robust ambassador of atheism? Who makes the most convincing case (as convincing as a case can be when you personally are sitting on the other side, that is)?

I'm not quite dismissive of atheist intellectuals in my recollection, but I don't count Dawkins, Harris, or Hitchens as intellectuals at all. "Intellectual" should mean sthg meaningful.

I'd call Dawkins an intellectual when it comes to biology. I'm not sure about Harris. Hitchens - I'd call him a public intellectual on politics, I guess. But these 3 men's arguments against theism are so pitiful that I just can't use that term, lest it be emptied of its meaning.

I put your arguments and reasoning abilities (and those of Dr Funkenstein, for example) way above those guys' any day, on this topic. Part of the problem is that these 3 men have stepped outside of their expertise to pontificate on matters about which they are manifestly unprepared to deal.

So... let's see... Dennett I'd put a cut above those 3. I've heard good things about Drange, and a few good things about Martin, though less.

I'm probably the wrong person to ask, though, if you're interested in someone who is well-read. I'm not particularly well-read - no time!


The Jolly Nihilist said...

I appreciate that you took the time to answer. However, I do stand by my "dismissive" characterization. For example, with respect to Mr. Hitchens, you once called him "Chrissy." In my judgment, feminizing his name is a dismissive tack to take. It is no different from me deriding "Leeza" Strobel.

For my part, I am most impressed with Richard Carrier, whose masterwork, Sense and Goodness Without God, has been invaluable to me in my attempts to promote and defend atheism. As for Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea remains one of the three best books I have ever read.

By the way, I would classify William Lane Craig as a formidable, robust defender of the Christian faith.

Rhology said...

Well, the man is barely worth responding to. So I dismiss him with "Chrissy" and such, which is far, far tamer and gentler than many dozens of ways he has (mis)characterised Christians and TGOTB. I won't shed any tears over that.
Carrier isn't that great, but he's better than the 3 Horsemen, that's for sure.

Rhology said...

Some on Carrier.