Dawkins and Darwin
He ain't up there ... but he damned well should be!
In the modern day, there was the Hitch, and then there was and is everyone else. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris and all the others who have enlightened me about the multiple aspects of atheism and freedom from myth and superstition and its running dogs ... but I do believe that Christopher Hitchens was someone very special, in his command of knowledge and of speech, and in his ability to marshal those talents in the promotion of critical thought at the expense of irrationality.
I say this especially because, having known him only slightly and only over the past couple of years and seen the gifted talent that he was, I have to wonder when and where the next Hitchens is coming from. That's how rare I think he was.
I certainly like this Hitchslap! Thanks, Loren.
Loren, your way with words evokes thought and feeling and your praise of Hitchens says it all.
I realize Franklin, Jefferson and Lincoln were deists, but here's a few more to consider.
The photo that I uploaded are my favourites. I love Sartre's and Camus' books; Nietzsche is the best, I believe he is the father of atheism.
J'aime Napoléon Bonaparte. Il est mon préféré athée. C'était un homme de son époque qui a précédé le darwinisme et il a raisonné sur la base des faits.
Il n'était pas un intellectuel, mais un homme pratique et ne voyait dans foi dans la mesure il a servi ses intérêts.
Il était aussi imparfaite et par la norme politiquement incorrect qui fait de lui un modèle pour les athées qui aspirent aujourd'hui.
I like Napoléon Bonaparte.
It is my favorite atheist.
He was a man of his era before Darwinism and he reasoned on the basis of facts.
He was not an intellectual, but a practical man and saw in faith the extent it served its interests.
He was also flawed and politically incorrect standard that makes him a role model for aspiring atheists today.
Samuel L. Clemens, U.S. writer; the Hitchens/Dawkins of his day. Oh, and he was good friends with Col. Robert G. Ingersoll; most popular orator in the United States
Nietzsche would be right up at or near the top. He said, famously, that Christianity was the worst catastrophe to befall mankind in our species' entire history. He is rough going and not easy to read, but his ideas are breathtaking. But I have so many favorites. Among movie directors certainly John Huston and Luis Bunuel, the latter more an anticlerical than atheist, though it was he who, again famously, said, "Thank God I am an atheist!" I miss Christopher Hitchens terribly. I learned so much about him from his memoir, Hitch-23! Darwin, the courageous and outspoken Dr. Dawkins! Sadly, I did not "catch on" early in life, or, e.g., in college, when I read Shelley, I would have understood his poems as few others in my class would. And then there is Voltaire. Ah, but then I plan to read some Voltaire very, very soon. Can anyone recommend something with a pronounced atheistic message?
Is there a secret to reading Nietzsche? I would love to be able to read him and respond as you. I've talked to others who have responded as you, and he just escapes me.
For me, it was Hitchens; an easy choice. He was angry when I had not been able to be angry. He was clear and precise in his argument when I was overwhelmed with chaos, like wandering on a dark night in a forest, knowing there was a cliff near by but I didn't know where the edge was.
He was not cowed by position or status and took on politicians and religious when I was cowed by every rebuke.
He stood his ground especially when confronting a rabbi about circumcision when I was afraid to discuss family planning at the most shallow level.
As his death came nearer, he was gentle and philosophical even as he retained his confidence as shown in the video clip Loren offered.
His books rang like a crisp bell properly made. He touched deeply into my pain and lit a fire that burns still.
Ultimately, he uses powerful language backed with emotional energy to make his points.
His final statement made in public wrapped up his humanity revealing a great gentleness.