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And who are your three favorite atheists?

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The latest Newsweek gives a sympathetic portrait of Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. The article closes with the following sentence:

If Dawkins, Dennett and Harris are right, the five-century-long competition between science and religion is sharpening. People are choosing sides. And when that happens, people get hurt.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14638243/site/newsweek.

54 Replies to “And who are your three favorite atheists?

  1. 1
    DaveScot says:

    Me, myself, and I.

    I kill me sometimes! 😆

  2. 2
    Carlos says:

    Richard Rorty, Umberto Eco, and Slavoj Zizek. I particulary recommend Zizek’s short essay, “Defenders of the FaithThe End of Belief is that he thinks that Buddhism is entirely consistent with science. So “the conflict between religion and science” is slightly misplaced, if Buddhism is a religion.

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    My favorite atheists are the dead ones.

    Heh heh. Just kidding.

  4. 4
    Ben Z says:

    When I do a good deed, I do so not with an eye toward gaining God’s favor; I do it because if I did not, I could not look at myself in the mirror”

    That sounds like the worst reason just to do good. I do just enough so I can look at myself in the mirror, or just because if I didn’t I couldn’t. What if that feeing is removed?

  5. 5
    John A. Davison says:

    “The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and science lies in the concept of a personal God.”
    Albert Einstein.”

    That was over 50 years ago. It is much worse now as the Darwinians lash out blindly in their death throes. Don’t pay them any attention as they are finished.

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  6. 6
    tinabrewer says:

    BenZ: I couldn’t disagree with you more forcefully. People who don’t believe in a creator were created by the same creator as those who do believe, and they are therefore similarly equipped. To me, the ‘being able to look oneself in the mirror’ is the essential component of an active spiritual life, and is often more finely developed in non-believers than if religious people, whose essential motivations can run the gamut from fear to a desire for social acceptance all the way up to genuine conviction. It is called a conscience. You ask “what if that feeling is removed?” as if someone could reach in and against our will “remove” our conscience. I don’t think it works that way. We kill our own consciences through a long, long series of erroneous choices, until eventually this burden becomes so large that we cannot hear our conscience clearly. But this is never an arbitrary thing, and always a development from out of the free will.

  7. 7
    late_model says:

    Totally off topic . . . interesting take on 2001 as a film exploring the implications of ID. http://www.2001principle.net/2003.htm Very interesting read. Maybe a thread could be started on this?

  8. 8
    PhilVaz says:

    Billy Joel, John Carmack, Richard Dawkins, in that order.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Carmack

    Phil P

  9. 9
    John A. Davison says:

    Since when have Darwinians a conscience? I have never known one that did myself. Some of the nastiest, most unforgiving, most arrogant and intractable ideologues I have ever known were Darwinians through and through. Does anyone really believe that Richard Dawkins has a conscience? I sure don’t.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  10. 10
    BarryA says:

    Dr. Davison, what exactly is the antecedent to “it” in 5? You say this frequently. Is it always the same “it?” Just curious.

  11. 11
    BarryA says:

    Carlos, I can see how Eco could be on your list after “Name of the Rose.” But how could he stay on you list after the last 1/3 of “Baudolino?”

  12. 12
    jwrennie says:

    “Since when have Darwinians a conscience?”

    As noted, they all do, it is part of the basic make up of human beings. It falls under the idea of Natural Law.

    If you are interested (and this doesn’t violate blog rules in regard to advertising), I did an episode on Natural Law on the podcast I host The Sci Phi Show.

    You can find it at http://thesciphishow.com/?p=56

    and an interview with Dean Donald McConnel of Trinity Law Colledge on the idea at http://thesciphishow.com/?p=58

    Jason

  13. 13
    Carlos says:

    BarryA,

    I must confess that I haven’t read Baudolino. And I wasn’t even thinking of his novels when I mentioned him; I was thinking of his conversation with Cardinal Martini.

  14. 14
    jpark320 says:

    I agree w/ you BenZ. Not only b/c not seeking God’s favor and your own instead is pretty much synonymous with sin, but to be so bold in your selfishness. I guess they help others only b/c they want to feel good themselves.

    @ tinabrewer: I agree with you that this same Creator uses conscious to draw people to Him and for believer’s as a warning system of sorts. And Calvinism debate aside ie total depravity, don’t you think in the context of the quote 1) The deliberate refusal to seek God’s favor for one’s own 2) Doing good deeds for purely one’s own benefit ie “took be able to look themselves in the mirror” is not the type of “good conscious” you are talking about? Seems like the total opposite.

  15. 15
    John A. Davison says:

    “It” is right now, the present situation. Does that help? What did you think “It” meant or would you rather not say?

    “It” is raining outside. Get it? I sure hope so.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  16. 16
    Carlos says:

    Atheists are incapable of morality?

    Oh, I’m sorry. For a moment I thought this was the 21st century.

  17. 17
    tinabrewer says:

    jpark320: the expression “being able to look at myself in the mirror” is not really about doing something to benefit onesself in a selfish way. In fact it is the opposite: it is a graphic representation of the fact that when we do evil, we have a built-in sensory capacity which causes us to judge ourselves as worthy of disdain in the wake of such acts. This self-judgement is what Christ demanded when he said, well, when he said many things, but here I was thinking of the “Behold not the mote…” We are forced to focus our spiritual attention not upon the deeds of others but upon our own selves in judgement. And no, I wouldn’t want to get into a Calvinism debate…been there, done that, ran screaming from the room in despair!

  18. 18
    BarryA says:

    Dr. Davison says: “‘It’ is right now, the present situation. Does that help? What did you think ‘It’ meant or would you rather not say?”

    I had no idea. That’s why I asked. I still don’t. That’s OK.

  19. 19
    obrienr says:

    1. My ex-girlfriend
    2. The professor who taught me Attic Greek, Hebrew Scriptures, and Ancient Greek Religion
    3. Probably one of my ex-Mormon turned atheist friends

  20. 20
    jwrennie says:

    “Atheists are incapable of morality?

    Oh, I’m sorry. For a moment I thought this was the 21st century. ”

    Actually this is a misunderstanding. The problem is not that atheists cannot be moral, it is more that the concept of moral reasoning is incoherent with their worldview. Most atheists are simply inconsistent and rather than accept the moral nihilism inherent to their metaphysical naturalism, they opt to abandon their metaphysical naturalism on this point as it suits them too.

  21. 21
    Houdin says:

    JAD: “Since when have Darwinians a conscience? I have never known one that did myself. Some of the nastiest, most unforgiving, most arrogant and intractable ideologues I have ever known were Darwinians through and through. Does anyone really believe that Richard Dawkins has a conscience? I sure don’t.”

    Really? When I think of nasty, unforgiving, arrogant and intractable ideologues, people like Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atta, Ayatollah Khomeini, those (Christian) creeps who protest at the funerals of soldiers, those hordes of creeps who drill holes into helpless people, the entire government of Iran and a host of others like them come to mind and every single one of them is a theist and none of them is a Darwinist.

    Can you name a single contemporary atheist who has done as much evil as the theists I’ve mentioned above? Would you like to make a bet that I can’t name 100 truly nasty, unforgiving, arrogant and intractable theistic idologues for every atheist you can name that meets the same description? If you’re willing to bet real money, I’ll let you scour history for nasty atheists and I’ll restrict myself to naming living theistic monsters.

  22. 22
    Mats says:

    If Dawkins, Dennett and Harris are right, the five-century-long competition between science and religion is sharpening.

    There is no “competition between science and religion”. There is a competition between a particular and self-serving definition/understanding of science (naturalism) and genuine Biblical Christianity.

    http://www.creationontheweb.co.....08#science

  23. 23
    jwrennie says:

    “Can you name a single contemporary atheist who has done as much evil as the theists I’ve mentioned above?”

    How would you define evil ? I think you are simply using a self serving defintion of evil to make your point.

    And is it really surprising that false religion results in evil ? Duh !

    And lets not forget of course the simple reality that “theists” in the geneic sense you use greatly outnumber atheists, so you would expect more of them regardless.

    But hey, your an atheist, so I wouldn’t expect you to be moral 😛

  24. 24
    tribune7 says:

    Nate Hentoff is about the only public one I like.

    I can respect an honest skeptic, but most of the public, self-proclaimed “atheists” don’t fall into that category. They would better be described as “God-haters” rather than skeptics or doubters since they have clearly not just made up their minds but have imposed a moral value on their belief.

  25. 25
    tribune7 says:

    Can you name a single contemporary atheist who has done as much evil as the theists I’ve mentioned above?

    Kim Jong-il, Pol Pot, Mao, CeauÅŸescu, and Fidel Castro (albeit it I hear he’s starting to have some doubts about his faith).

  26. 26
    tinabrewer says:

    jwrennie: if this is bash on the atheist day, it won’t work to neatly dissociate from religion all of the bad things done by religionists by calling their beliefs “false religion”. While I would certainly agree that their behaviors are morally reprehensible, as individuals, many of these folks are most definitely motivated by a passionate commitment to a particular religious doctrine or other. It just IS SO, however much we might wish it were not. In my view, the Truth of creation is not dependent in any way upon humans vigorously defending religion per se, but stands whether we get it or whether we completely distort it. THere are many ways to distort, and atheism and religion are pretty good competitors in this arena.

  27. 27
    DaveScot says:

    Phil P

    John Carmack

    Ugh. No wonder I never got along with him. We were on opposite sides of the Direct3D/OpenGL (3D API) wars about 10 years ago on the usenet thread rec.games.programmer. Of coure time proved me to be the winner. Direct3D is far more popular for video games than OpenGL today.

    I was particularly hated by the OpenGL guys because I released a software driver in 1998 that translated OpenGL calls to Direct3D calls and Quake II ran on it with virtually no loss in performance which was an incredible demonstration of D3D’s efficiency. I inserted a whole new layer on the 3D software stack and there was virtually no loss of performance. Indeed, I was at Dell at the time and had just released a new Dimension desktop platform with the brand new NVIDIA RIVA graphics chipset in it – the first desktop to get it. I had no OpenGL driver from NVIDIA to ship and Quake II refresh rate was an important defacto benchmark. So just for demonstration purposes I called up Microsoft’s D3D development group and asked for the source code to their old D3D wrapper and permission to distribute binary compilations derived from it. They readily complied. Microsoft wrote it for Quake I and it took me a few days to upgrade it for Quake II. The D3D Wrapper running on the Dimension/Riva platform set a new record for Quake II refresh rate. The rest is history. Told ya so, Carmack! ID and SGI was obviously no match for Microsoft. My condolences to Carmack on not winning the X-prize – Microsoft spanked him again as Paul Allen backed Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites. But hey, credit given where credit is due. Carmakc make enough dough with ID to fund a serious amateur attempt to build a single-stage-to-orbit reusable spacecraft. That’s WAY cool and I have to admire the effort.

  28. 28
    scordova says:

    1. Frank Tipler (pro-ID provisional atheist)

    2. Bertrand Russell who wrote

    Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind….I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy –ecstasy so great that I would have often sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy.

    3. CS Lewis who was once an atheist

  29. 29
    Drek says:

    Mike1962,

    You observed:

    “My favorite atheists are the dead ones.

    Heh heh. Just kidding.”

    That’s a pretty funny joke there, Mike. Mind if I try a few variations on it?

    “My favorite jews are the dead ones.”

    Ha! How about…

    “My favorite blacks are the dead ones.”

    Woo! This is a hoot. Wait, hang on, I know I can do it again!

    “My favorite gays are the dead ones.”

    Classic! Absolutely classic! Nobody needs to worry, though- I’m just kidding.

    I trust my point is clear?

  30. 30
    tinabrewer says:

    Drek: calm down. atheists are not a violently persecuted minority in case you had not noticed.

  31. 31
    Drek says:

    Tinabrewer:

    Neither are IDers.

    “My favorite intelligent design advocates are the dead ones.”

    I can do this all day but, in the end, talk like that really has no place in a civilized discussion. Frankly, I think it’s pretty shameful that everyone was too busy discussing whether atheists are capable of morality to notice.

    Mat. 7:1-7:5

    “Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye?

    Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

  32. 32
    tinabrewer says:

    Drek: If you had paid attention to MY personal comments above, you would see that I generally agree with you that picking on atheists is both stupid and hypocritical. In fact I used the same Jesusquote as one of yours to make my point about atheists and conscience. Now that we are on the same page, I still think that mike1962, who is not known for his aggression and uncivility around these parts, was really in all sincerity just joking.

  33. 33
    mike1962 says:

    Drek: “I trust my point is clear?”

    Last time I checked, Jews, blacks and gays ave no choice in their being Jews, blacks and gays. Are you putting atheists in the same category?

    At any rate, your point is clear but irrelevant. I’m not advocating the elimination of atheists. Lighten up. It was a joke. Some of my best friends are atheists. Really.

  34. 34
    Michaels7 says:

    Tina said,

    “If this is bash on the atheist day, it won’t work to neatly dissociate from religion all of the bad things done by religionists by calling their beliefs “false religion”.

    I believe the tick on my dog is god and the dog is his prophet. The prophet told me that all infidels are required to pay a tax or convert to worship the tick and listen to the prophet for direction on earth. If they do neither, and do not believe in the tick as god and do not honor the prophet, then the prohet told me to “kill” all infidels in the name of Blue Tick, because Blue Tick requires the blood of all infidels who deny his sacred name.

    What say u Tina?

    Do you believe my religion is true?

  35. 35
    Michaels7 says:

    “If Dawkins, Dennett and Harris are right, the five-century-long competition between science and religion is sharpening. People are choosing sides. And when that happens, people get hurt.”

    Did not read the article, but people have been “choosing sides” since Cain aquired the breath of Abel. Inherit the Wind was one side claiming victory over the other. But now a new reformation is taking place and information is not locked down by three media outlets that have recently expanded to four. Now, information flows thru sites like this and many others. Scientist can get their views out. Prior to this, only one sword was allowed to be sharpened at all. The other contestant had no righth to a sword and was tied down by dogmatic assertions.

    Welcome to the information reformation. It appears atheist for the first time in decades must defend themselves in science. Unlike scientism, Christians have a double-edged sword, both science and spirit of truth. The gnashing of teeth has only just begun and it will get uglier, but this was predicted 2000 years ago, not by three atheist on a midnight blue.

  36. 36
    tinabrewer says:

    Michaels7: Maybe you are not understanding my point,which was not an attempt to say that there is no such thing as ‘false religion’, which there certainly is. I would define it as anything about any religion which is not in complete accord with Truth, which i regard as absolute. However, we are mere mortals, and as such have many competing versions of ‘religious truth’, some of which have been used by believing mortals to justify killing and more killing. This is no different, fundamentally, that the killing of an atheist, who uses a different but equally false falsehood to justify HIS killing. (or hers).

  37. 37
    kharley471 says:

    Okay, Darwinian Dawkobot lurker here, unlurking…to spread peace, if I may…

    I think mike1962 was testing people, to see if they would understand his comments to mean the same thing as I do when I say my favorite authors are “dead white males” (namely, Nabokov, Conrad, and Shakespeare), i.e., people who happen to be dead, not people that I (or anyone) killed. Yes, some of my favorite atheists are dead ones too, because they simply happen to have died. No threat intended.

    All right? I got it.

  38. 38
    bebbo says:

    kharley471, I think that mike1962 finishing his comment about dead atheists with “Heh heh. Just kidding.” suggests he wasn’t thinking about ones who are already dead.

  39. 39
    littlejon says:

    I am slightly disappointed that people lower themselves to “Does anyone really believe that Richard Dawkins has a conscience?”. I studied under Dawkins for a term many years ago, and despite severe differences of opinion (I am a committed Christian) I never found our discussions less than intellectually respectful, and his personal ethics considered & defensible. If I may respectfully suggest, perhaps people here should remember that in large parts of the world (eg here in Europe) we are comfortable to hold teleological Christian (accounting for soul & humanity) and a-teleological NS positions (accounting for genotype & physiology)simultaneously…

  40. 40
    kharley471 says:

    Maybe. But I’m an atheist myself. And a woman. Who’s was stalked by a born-again fundie for three years, and his name’s not mike. Who’s being harassed by a nutball neighbor (not because I’m an atheist, and my whole neighborhood has had it with this dork) who doesn’t have the brains to post on any online forum. So, I mean, bring it [yawn] on, mike1962. I’ve even had “dead atheist” jokes (including this unoriginal one) directed at me personally. Snore.

    I want to know who Dembski’s favorite atheist is, cha-cha-cha.

  41. 41
    HodorH says:

    Mike, age 44 (maybe still 43) says:

    Last time I checked, Jews, blacks and gays ave no choice in their being Jews, blacks and gays. Are you putting atheists in the same category?

    I would. Can you change your beliefs on a whim? I can’t. I doubt many others here could either.

  42. 42
    jwrennie says:

    Hi Tina,

    “jwrennie: if this is bash on the atheist day, it won’t work to neatly dissociate from religion all of the bad things done by religionists by calling their beliefs “false religion”.”

    No i’m just noting that false beliefs produce evil. Not really a surprise. To try to lump christians and islamofascists together as “religious people” is simple idiocy.

    Any system of belief can be abused to serve any end a human being desires.

  43. 43
    Houdin says:

    Tribune7: “Kim Jong-il, Pol Pot, Mao, CeauÅŸescu, and Fidel Castro”

    Three of your five are dead and thus no longer “contemporary”.

    Now if anyone will put up a serious bet, I’ll be happy to name 100 truly nasty, unforgiving, arrogant and intractable theistic idologues for every nasty atheist you can name. They’re not exactly scarce on the ground. In fact, considering the One True Religion that rules over the Middle East, anybody who makes that bet who can’t name at least a thousand atheists is going to lose.

    Remember, theists outnumber atheists by about 90 to 1.

    jwrennie: “No i’m just noting that false beliefs produce evil. Not really a surprise. To try to lump christians and islamofascists together as “religious people” is simple idiocy.”

    Are you saying that bin Ladan, the 911 hijackers and the Iraqi shia death squads, with their electric drills in their hands, aren’t religious?

  44. 44
    tribune7 says:

    Three of your five are dead and thus no longer “contemporary”.

    ROTFLMAO

    OK, Houd. First, contemporary does not meand “living”. It means existing at the same time and all those mentioned exist or existed at the same time as those in your example.

    Second, of the three examples you provided — Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atta, Ayatollah Khomeini — two are not longer “contemporary” by what you think the word means.

    Third, you only asked for one example.

    Fourth, concerning your bet, I believe all have fallen and if you look closely enough you can find nasty, unforgiving etc. behavior in any of us including the greatest saints. BUT, if you want to do to by casualty count — the bodies piled up by pagan/atheist in wars of conquest and general oppression would pile far higher than those done in the name of Jehovah.

  45. 45
    Carlos says:

    . BUT, if you want to do to by casualty count — the bodies piled up by pagan/atheist in wars of conquest and general oppression would pile far higher than those done in the name of Jehovah.

    That’s partly because 20th century non-Christian ideologues (e.g. communists and fascists) had access to 20th century weapons and tactics. If the Crusaders had had tanks and grenades, the good money says they would have used them.

    There’s a systematic ambiguity in how the word “atheist” gets used around here — and most everywhere. It sometimes means “anyone who does not share one of the Abrahamic faiths” (notice, for example, the equivocation between “pagan” and “atheist” in 44 — these mean anything close to the same thing how?). And it sometimes means “someone who takes a critical and skeptical stance towards all religions, including fascism and communism.”

    And a good deal hinges on whether ideologies such as fascism and communism count as “religion.” It could plausibly be maintained that fascism was a cult of the Fuhrer with strong Gnostic dimensions, and that communism was a cult of the Party. (There’s a reason why Crossman’s book is called The God That Failed.)

    The absence of explicit reference to a god or gods is relevant, but religions are complex social phenomena, and they don’t have easy, cut-and-dried definitions. Given the hundreds of religions that currently exist, and the thousands that existed in the past, I’d imagine it would be very difficult to find a one-size-fits-all definition.

    So, too, what counts as “atheism” is difficult. Some are anti-clerical and don’t really care about the metaphysical (Voltaire, Rorty). Others think that there are simply no good arguments for the existence of God (Russell). Still others think that the whole question, “does God exist?” is not the right question to ask — Nietzsche, for example.

    On the other hand, consider the philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch. I’m presently re-reading her Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals. Murdoch takes religion and theology extremely seriously, but she also insists on taking them in a “demythologized” form. Now, is that theism, or is that atheism? Neither? Both?

    Or does it show that these categories are simply too broad and blunt to help us do any interesting thinking?

  46. 46
    tribune7 says:

    That’s partly because 20th century non-Christian ideologues (e.g. communists and fascists) had access to 20th century weapons and tactics. If the Crusaders had had tanks and grenades, the good money says they would have used them.

    Better money says they wouldn’t have used them in the way the Nazis and Communists did. Here is a list of death tolls by war. Note that four of the top five did not involve tanks. Three of them didn’t involve firearms.

    There’s a systematic ambiguity in how the word “atheist” gets used around here

    I don’t think skeptics and doubters are condemned here. Dawkins and PZ Meyers seem rather certain about what they believe, namely that Christians are fools and that Christianity is somehow responsible for the world’s problems. That’s what is generally objected too.

  47. 47
    scordova says:

    jwrennie,

    I’ve been trying to e-mail your account since yesterday but gmail is indicating my e-mails can’t reach you, so I’m posting this note here in the hope you can get this message.

    I’ll be out this weekend but maybe next week I can do the interview. Talk to you soon.

    Salvador

  48. 48
    jerry says:

    Carlos,

    Your history is deficient. The crusaders ruled for nearly 200 years in the current Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, eastern Turkey and a small part of Syria before they abandoned their last outpost. During that time they ruled a largely Muslim population without any form of genocide. Nearly all the bad press for the crusades came from the initial siege and conquest of Jerusalem. The Greeks hated then too after 1204 when they sacked Constantinople but this dispute had nothing to do with religion but with money and who would control the conquered lands.

  49. 49
    Carlos says:

    Jerry,

    I’ll accept what you say in 48 as true, but I don’t see how it undercuts my sweeping generlization in 45. If you want to come to the defense of the Crusaders, I’m just as happy to take my claim to any other pre-modern conflict — the Hundred Years War, the Thirty Years War, etc. (Heck, even the Civil War — which has been called the first modern war — would have been different if they’d had P90s instead of muzzle-loading rifles.)

    My general point here is that premodern conflicts between members of religious groups had lower fatality levels because (a) there were fewer people fighting, and fewer people in general, and (b) weapons and tactics were less destructive. So comparing pre-20th century religious conflicts with 20th century death toll on the part of fascists and communists, in order to show the moral superiority of religious ideologues over supposedly “atheist” ideologues, isn’t going to hold much water.

    I do think, nevertheless, that Nazism and Stalinism amounted to a qualitatively new form of destruction. But I attribute this to the complex relationships between technology, bureaucracy, commodification, and the demand for moral and spiritual “community, identity and stability” in an increasingly chaotic, uncertain and hostile world.

  50. 50
    tribune7 says:

    Carlos! After WWII, 3 of the next 4 bloodiest conflicts were pre-firearm.

    And the Taiping Rebellion was largely swords and spears to boot.

  51. 51
    jpark320 says:

    ” And no, I wouldn’t want to get into a Calvinism debate…been there, done that, ran screaming from the room in despair!”

    @ tinabrewer:

    Thx for the reply 🙂 I guess we were looking at it in a different light. And yes, I’m usually scream in those debates too 😉

  52. 52
    Carlos says:

    50 Interesting! I didn’t know that! Is there a reference or link you could point out?

  53. 53
  54. 54
    mike1962 says:

    bebbo: “I think that mike1962 finishing his comment about dead atheists with “Heh heh. Just kidding.” suggests he wasn’t thinking about ones who are already dead”

    You would be wrong.

    When I first saw the question, Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung came to mind. The biggest murderers in history. They happened to be atheists. Am I glad they are dead? Maybe, maybe not. In any case, it was a ridiculous question, and my answer, while jocular, was a ridiculous answer. I don’t have any favorite atheists, dead or alive. And I certainly do not advocate the elimination of atheists yet living. You can rest easy.

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