Monday, February 4, 2008

Great Americans who were atheists, and who changed the world!

I posted this before in the Atheism Vs. Christianity Newsgroup on Google, but this will be my permanant home for it.

The following Great Americans all changed the world or made excelent contributions to the betterment of our society... and happened to be atheists.

Susan B. Anthony
Prominent, independent and well-educated American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women's rights movement to secure women's suffrage in the United States. She traveled the United States and Europe, and gave 75 to 100 speeches per year on women's rights for some 45 years.

Thomas Edison
American inventor and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and a long lasting light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory. Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. He changed the world.

Carl Sagan
American astronomer and astrochemist and a highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics, and other natural sciences. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He is world-famous for writing popular science books and for co-writing and presenting the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which has been seen by more than 600 million people in over 60 countries, making it the most widely watched PBS program in history.[1] A book to accompany the program was also published. He also wrote the novel Contact, the basis for the 1997 Robert Zemeckis film of the same name starring Jodie Foster. During his lifetime, Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and popular articles and was author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books. In his works, he frequently advocated skeptical inquiry, humanism, and the scientific method.

Mark Twain
American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer. Twain is most noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which has since been called the Great American Novel,[2] and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He is also known for his quotations.[3][4] During his lifetime, Twain became a friend to presidents, artists, leading industrialists and European royalty. Twain enjoyed immense public popularity, and his keen wit and incisive satire earned him praise from both critics and peers. American author William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature." He is among the most influential and most celebrated American authors of all time.

Robert Frost
American poet. His work frequently used themes from rural life in New England, using the setting to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes.
He is considered one of America's essential great Authors.

Walter Whitman
American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and Realism, incorporating both views in his works. His works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.[1] Whitman is among the most influential and controversial poets in the American canon. His work has been described as a "rude shock" and "the most audacious and debatable contribution yet made to American literature."[2] As Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass (By Blue Ontario's Shore), "Rhymes and rhymers pass away...America justifies itself, give it time..."[.

Ernest Hemingway
One of America's greatest authors. Hemingway received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Hemingway's distinctive writing style is characterized by economy and understatement. It had a significant influence on the development of twentieth-century fiction writing. His protagonists are typically stoic males who must show "grace under pressure." Many of his works are now considered canonical in American literature.

Albert Einstein
The single most famous and influential scientist of all time. Einstein's many contributions to physics include his special theory of relativity, which reconciled mechanics with electromagnetism, and his general theory of relativity, which extended the principle of relativity to non-uniform motion, creating a new theory of gravitation. His other contributions include relativistic cosmology, capillary action, critical opalescence, classical problems of statistical mechanics and their application to quantum theory, an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules, atomic transition probabilities, the quantum theory of a monatomic gas, thermal properties of light with low radiation density (which laid the foundation for the photon theory), a theory of radiation including stimulated emission, the conception of a unified field theory, and the geometrization of physics.

Works by Albert Einstein include more than fifty scientific papers and also non-scientific books.[2][3] In 1999 Einstein was named Time magazine's "Person of the Century", and a poll of prominent physicists named him the greatest physicist of all time.

Steven Weinberg
Physicist. He was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics (with colleagues Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow) for combining electromagnetism and the weak force into the electroweak force.
. Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from a dozen institutions: University of Chicago, Knox College, City University of New York, University of Rochester, Yale University, Clark University, City University of New York, Dartmouth College, Weizmann Institute, Clark University, Washington College, Columbia University.

Bill Gates
American entrepreneur, philanthropist and chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. During his career at Microsoft he has held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and he remains the largest individual shareholder with more than 8% of the common stock.

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Although he is widely admired,[4][5][6] his business tactics have been criticized as anti-competitive and in some instances ruled as such in court.[7][8] Since amassing his fortune, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. His software has changed the world.

Steve Wozniak
American computer engineer and the co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.), with Steve Jobs. His inventions and machines are credited with contributing greatly to the personal computer revolution of the 1970s. Wozniak created the Apple I and Apple II computers in the mid-1970s. The Apple II gained a sizable amount of popularity, eventually becoming one of the best selling personal computers of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Ted Turner
American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is best known as the founder of the cable television network CNN, the first dedicated 24-hour cable news channel. In addition to CNN, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television. As a philanthropist, he is well known for his $1 billion pledge to the United Nations donated through his United Nations Foundation.

James D. Watson
American molecular biologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA. Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material". Won the 1962 Nobel prize for Physiology.

Isaac Asimov
American author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 9,000 letters and postcards, and has works in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (lacking only an entry in the 100s category of Philosophy).[2][3] Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime.[4] Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified "future history" for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He penned numerous short stories, among them "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honor. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

Most of Asimov's popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include his Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery.

Margaret Sanger
Sanger was a nurse and an outspoken advocate of free speech, women's rights issues, and the right of people to have access to healthcare. She was apauled by the poor healthcare, or lack thereof, in many parts of America. She advocated the idea of birth control or family planning, and faced legal action from the US government, which wrote up a series of laws that literally outlawed books on gynecology as "pornography" (See the Comstock Laws). Contrary to critical opinions, she never advocated abortions. She strictly advocated the idea that families only have as many children as they can reasonably afford to care for, and actually was against abortion. Her advocacy led to the availability of information on birth control, better healthcare for women, and the first practical birth control pill.


GamingAsshole said...

I know some agnostics who oppose atheism that would argue Sagan himself was an agnostic. Was he agnostic atheist or something?

TiradeFaction said...

I think he was only "agnostic" because during his time, being an atheist was being a "communist", which nowadays is like being a pedophilic neo nazi. It seems pretty clear that he didn't really even entertain the possibility of deities, so I guess you can say he was really an atheist.

David W. Irish said...

An agnostic is someone who doesn't want to admit that they don't really believe in gods.

GamingAsshole said...

I've talked with many agnostics, and many of them do their damnest to distance themselves from atheism, and go as far as to attack atheism, calling it as ignorant as fundamentalist religion. A good chunk of agnostics (at least here in California) do accept bizarre things like new age beliefs, Buddhism (and they claim to not believe in gods?) and other irrational beliefs.

I think there is skeptical agnostics, and then I think there's also agnostics that are too cowardly to call themselves theist.

David W. Irish said...

I've heard lots of agnostics claim that they're just being honest, because they don't know.

If you don't know that god exists, then you don't actively believe in one. Hence you are atheist.

GamingAsshole said...

Well, that's true for some of them, Psycho Dave, but I feel a lot of them actually lean towards theism but just can't make the full jump towards it because they still have doubts. But everyone has doubts about their beliefs sometime in their lives, so why they just don't go with theism is beyond me...

GamingAsshole said...

Of course, I know there are idiots who claim to be agnostics, but don't seem to have the mindset one would associate with agnosticism. I met someone once who called themselves an agnostic Christian yet he blindly believed in the Bible and even believed a race war between white Americans and Mexican immigrants is occurring at this very moment! The most funny thing about him was he'd get offended if you simply refer to him as a Christian, he said was also agnostic. Yeah, sure...

David W. Irish said...

I always wondered why people think it's so important that white, anglo-saxon, Christians be in control of America, and be the dominant force in our political system, and why conservatives go to such great lengths to make these stupid ideas of theirs on race and ethnicity seem rational and logical. They talk of "mexican invasions" and of "persecution of Christians", and among themselves, about Jewish conspiracies, then try to frame it as not an issue of race, color, or ethnicity.

Smash Communism with Jesus said...

Can you even prove half of those people were Atheist?

David W. Irish said...

Smash Communism with Jesus wrote:
"Can you even prove half of those people were Atheist?"

Yes, I can, actually. Most of them have gone on record saying so, or published books saying so.

But I have a question for you. Can you prove that you're not just a dumbass troll who should be ignored?

Smash Communism FOR Jesus said...

"Yes, I can, actually. Most of them have gone on record saying so, or published books saying so. "

Then DO it. Don't just list their names. You seem like some pathetic teenager with your blog post.

"But I have a question for you. Can you prove that you're not just a dumbass troll who should be ignored?"


David W. Irish said...

SMashcommunismforjesis wrote:

"Then DO it. Don't just list their names. You seem like some pathetic teenager with your blog post."

Look, I know it's just you again, fresh from your last failed attempt at impersonating other people. I will not take you seriously, because you're just a troll.

Oh, but it would be too easy to not answer your request, though. I SHOULD say "look it up yourself, you lazy ass," but it's more fun to rub facts into your face like feces.

Susan B. Anthony

Thomas Edison

Carl Sagan

Mark Twain

There's a start for you.

I assume you know how to use google. Give it a try.

That's all I'll give you because i don't want to waste more time on trolls.

Smash Communism FOR Jesus said...

Waste time? Who comes here?

Seriously, I'm all you got until I get more friends to come to this ass blog you got.

Or maybe I should just visit your myspace ;)

David W. Irish said...

Oh, you're gonna make up new identities for yourself, an post like you're all different people, just like you did before?

Yeah -- that REALLY worked before, didn't it?

And what is there to see on my myspace page?

Really, you should just come out and say what your beef is, instead of making a total idiot of yourself in public.

Smash Communism FOR Jesus said...

I've already told you my beef you fat slob who eats buckets of ribs until he pukes, and yells yeehaw at sports events. Fuck you.

I'm not going anywhere!

David W. Irish said...

Smash Communism FOR Jesus said...
"I've already told you my beef"

Well, you may think you have, but your elocution leaves a lot to be desired. What you have said is incoherent and disorganized.

Besides, you're not fooling me. You're just a troll.

Smash Communism FOR Jesus said...
"you fat slob who eats buckets of ribs until he pukes, and yells yeehaw at sports events. Fuck you."

I suppose that might be funny to a 12-year-old. I suspect that you're probably older than 12, though.

I highly recommend that you buy some lard at your local supermarket. You will need it to lubricate your neck, so you can more easily slide your head out of your ass.

Smash Communism FOR Jesus said...

Well, you may think you have, but your elocution leaves a lot to be desired. What you have said is incoherent and disorganized.

Uh, I don't know how I could be more specific. Do you want to go into the reasons why I hate people who hate me for what I am? I can do that if you want?

"I suppose that might be funny to a 12-year-old. I suspect that you're probably older than 12, though."

Only someone like you would find that humorous. You're quite vulgar. Got some sick children to laugh at over where you live?

I highly recommend that you buy some lard at your local supermarket. You will need it to lubricate your neck, so you can more easily slide your head out of your ass."

I guess THAT was meant to be funny. Only a 12 year old would even consider giggling at that.

David W. Irish said...

Wait a minute, I think I figured you out.

Either you are mentally retarded, or you are a troll making a convincing impersonation of a retard.

David W. Irish said...

As I said before, you haven't made a convincing Christian or conservative. Your behavior is too much like a charicature of them to be taken seriously. It just seems too fake.

You need to practice before anyone will believe you're not just a troll.

Smash Communism FOR Jesus said...

Whatever, I don't have time to hear you whine.

I'm rich and you bitch, so see you next post.

David W. Irish said...

One would think that if you were rich, you could have afforded a bit more education so you wouldn't respond like a retard.