In discussions with theists, many of them will point out (incorrectly) that Hitler and Stalin were atheists (and therefore atheism is evil, etc).

It'd be nice to have a solid list of atheists to rebuff them with, but its kinda tough when they either don't properly recognize people's atheism (ie Einstein) or don't recognize their contribution to society (Dawkins, Hitchens, Carlin, et al).

Any suggestions?

Tags: famous atheists

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Well, usually this argument is countered by non-theists by making a similar comparison to theistic famous persons (or events) who have committed any forms of crime (The Crusade, The Inquisition); the problem is that generally theists counter this argument with THE very argument you provided above (both arguments are for the matter logical fallacies, inane and are made on a very childish and immature level).

The best way of course is to not give examples of atheists who made good, but to explain why the reasoning is fallacious (guilt by association/hasty generalization can be associated with this form of argumentation).

Unfortunately, it may be that if a non-theist or a theist delivers this sort of argument, they are probably not very well-versed with the subject at hand and neither very skilled or experienced in any form of argumentation; therefore trying to point out why the reasoning is fallacious may be pointless, but it's also equally pointless to give examples of famous atheists who made good, because those examples will be scuffed at, I assure you.

In addition it can be argued whether Einstein was truly atheistic or not, although it's mostly a matter of semantics here (check the Pantheism thread in Water Cooler).

You can however probably point out that people with at least less dogmatic faiths have done a lot of good inventions we take for granted today.

I think it would be better then to explain what impact for example Carl Marx's ideas and thoughts had on contemporary society, but this of course only works on a non-American theist ;) Suffice to say though, non-theists are not uncommon throughout history, and many of them were great thinkers. It's just more a matter of some people childishly holding unto certain beliefs due to pure stubbornness rather than because they want to educate themselves.
Wasn't Asimov a Scientologist ? There is a lot of conflicting information. I've even read that Hubbard had a bet with Asimov that he could start a major religion from scratch. Google gives garbage.
No. Asimnov was in a discussion with L Ron Hubbert who was thinking of starting a religion.
I thought that was an Urban Myth...

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1012/whats-up-with-dianeti...

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1691849&displaytype=pri...
http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/327345

There is a bit about it at the bottom of both those last two web site pages about it... mostly it seems to fall into the "unverifiable" category which to me means probably not. However as reasons go for the creation of a religion we would certainly love for it to be true, since that at least makes some sort of sense.

Personally I always thought that Hubbard quite the charlatan and maybe one of the best grifters ever (after all he convinced thousands of people that Scientology/Dianetics is legitimate).
wow. thanks jessica. thats exactly what i was looking for. i need to learn how to work my google machine.
Hahaha! Good point!
Hitler WAS NOT an atheist. This is one of the most disgusting lies perpetuated by christians.

http://nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

There is a huge amount of evidence to refute this.
Wasn't Hitler obsessed with stuff like holy roman relics, ie.. the Spear that supposedly stabbed Jesus, as well as the Grail and Shroud of Turin.
don't forget barry manilow, come on.

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