I’m sure you’re all wondering who the 5 most awful atheists are — are you on the list? You’re probably safe unless you are Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or S.E. Cupp. I think the criticisms offered in the article are all on target, but I refuse to believe that any of them are irredeemable…well, except for Cupp, who is just a right-wing fraud. But I also have to say that this comment is spot on, and is the source of a lot of conflict right now as the movement is growing.
The thing about the so-called “rationalist” movement in America is that disbelief in gods seems to be the only qualification to join the club. Disbelief in a supernatural creator, especially as the movement becomes more popular or “hep,” as I’m pretending the kids say, in no way guarantees rationality in matters of foreign policy or economics, for example. Many notable atheists believe in some powerfully stupid stuff—likely owing their prominence to these same benighted beliefs, lending an air of scientific credibility to the myths corporate media seeks to highlight, and thereby eroding the credibility of all atheists in the long-term. In other words: The crap always rises to the top.
But now I’d like to challenge the author, Ian Murphy, to write a complementary article that lists the five best atheists in America, and what makes them good. Give us something to aspire to and set as a standard, instead of just taking potshots at a few big names (and one Fox News nobody).
Just to be really annoying, I’d name Eugenie Scott, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Susan Jacoby, and Barry Lynn, because most of them would run away from the label and one would outright reject it (with good reason, too). Maybe Murphy could surprise us with some unusual suspects and different perspectives. (You know, Surly Amy’s growing list might also be a good place to start.)