Top 10 Favorite Atheist/Rationalist YouTube Channels

This last three months I’ve spent blogging, I’ve learned my away around the atheist internet and been delighted by how many wonderful resources there are, between websites, blogs, videos, discussion forums, etc.  And not only the videos but some of the video channels run by extraordinarily creative or at least patiently argumentative creators of original YouTube material have been just astoundingly impressive and genuinely exciting for me.  The rich variety of distinct voices, perspectives, and approaches, each one strong and engaging in its own way, makes the whole process of discovering this alternate universe to mainstream TV discussion a whole lot of fun.  And last night seeing Derren Brown’s preaching bogus mathematics to millions of people as falsely accounting for how he pulled off his live lottery “predictions” several nights ago inspired me to put together this resource of good, actually educational and entertaining videos as a resource for those looking for videos that improve their understanding, rather than seek to confuse it.

Since, I’m late in finding many of these videos, I usually feel a little silly posting stuff that is a couple years old even though it’s still new to me (and likely to most of you).  This post will be a convenient place to once and for all express my enthusiasm for all this wonderful pre-existing YouTube material defending a rationalist approach to knowledge, morality,  religion, politics, and life in general.  A good number of these videos I have already highlighted before in posts of their own but maybe you missed them then, want to see them again, or will just be able to skip ahead to others you’ve not yet seen.  From each of these unique video channels I have carefully selected a representative video which I take to be one of the channel’s best offerings and then provided links to 8 of the channels’ other videos which I consider personal favorites.  The list is in no particular order:

The Atheist Experience is a regularly produced call-in show that lets everyday believers have their run their defenses of their beliefs by informed atheists, including a former ministry aspirant.

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Edward Current provides sharp-edged, almost nastily sarcastically toned satire of shallow Christian thinking.  Many of his videos sarcastically present himself as a Christian and within that pretended perspective he exposes the crude implications of popular Christian attitudes, theology, and apologetics.

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Other Edward Current videos not to miss:  Test Your Faith-VisionGod’s Cool Designs

Gogreen18 is Laci Green’s high energy, sassy, brash, and usually dramatically over the top You Tube channel on which she talks about popular topics, rails against religion, and tries to offer rudimentary education presumably for other young people about various culture war issues, sexual education, and, most of al,l the bankruptcy of religious arguments about all such topics.  Her videos burst with personality, enthusiasm and unabashed creativity even as some of her more ambitious conceits fall flat and some of her arguments come out a little sloppily written and some of her videos cloy.  When her ambition pays off, and even sometimes when it doesn’t, her videos become winningly charming.

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Other Gogreen18 videos not to miss:  TITS OR GTFO!!!YouTube Time Capsule!

ZJemptv is one of my most favorite new discoveries.  ZJ delivers her often meticulously logical, elegantly concise, helpfully clear, and authoritatively toned pre-written takedowns of faith-based thinking and homophobia with an almost impossible combination of roboticism, passion, anger, and humorous incredulity:

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Other ZJemptv videos not to miss:  Faith and ReasonThe universe is not “fine-tuned”Internet arguments: Information theoryGender ambiguity: Do’s and don’t’sComing OutZJ reads her comments

Thunderf00t is one of YouTube’s most thorough atheist debaters committed to rebutting creationism, often through engaging other people YouTube videos:

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Other Thunderf00t videos not to miss:  Just work your way through the 30 part series on creationism begun above.

Non Stamp Collector digs in deep into the absurdities of religious beliefs in his brilliant and original cartoons.  While the meat and potato religious absurdities, biblical atrocities, and religious pseudoscience are his topics, his videos are narratively enjoyable in their own right since they don’t just present arguments but illustrate them through fun stories and his insights probe deep into familiar themes in a way that reveals a mind so irritated by palpable absurdities that he is driven to pick through each and every twist of ridiculous implication in them.  And his moral outrage at some of the immoral absurdities of Christian teaching and Old Testament practices comes through daringly vividly in some of his videos.  Next to Christopher Hitchens and Pat Condell, there are few in the atheist community who I know who combine humor and deep moral anger in their criticisms of religious absurdity like Non Stamp Collector:

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Other Non Stamp Collector videos not to miss:  Jesus and the Interpreter.  A modern-day christian helps Jesus get startedJephthah (Judges 11)A Personal Relationship with Jesus,Yahweh’s Perfect Justice PART 1, High Stakes Intelligent Designing

Pat Condell is internet atheism’s mad prophet.  Virulently and angrily insistent on tolerance of everything but religious intolerance, Pat’s polemical wit, passion for freedom and reason, and willingness to offend rather than treat irrationalism and authoritarianism with even the appearance of the slightest bit of undue respect makes him a necessary spokesman for the position of uncompromising, politically active, morally urgent atheism.

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Other Pat Condell videos not to miss:  Re: The Blasphemy ChallengeWhy Debate DogmaThe myth of IslamophobiaUnited States of JesusStop sharia law in Britain

ON EDIT (February 13, 2011): It is with regret that I must qualify my enthusiastic endorsement for Pat Condell. In the subsequent months since this post went up, Pat’s opposition to Islam has crossed the line repeatedly into the realm of legitimate Islamophobia and out of the realm of legitimate, targeted critique of Islam. It’s a fine line to walk. Pat is completely indifferent to even trying to walk it. It’s a shame. I still support much within his earlier videos but wish he was not so susceptible to irrational, counter-productive bigotry.

Mr. Deity is that rare marvel of a satire that manages to always be funny and never fall into the trap of leadening preachiness.  While not a talk show, it is atheism’s closest approximation to a Daily Show in that the comedians behind this show know how to let the comedy come out of the absurdity of the subject matter such that it plays first and foremost like comedy and only secondarily (though still unambiguously) as a critique of its targets.  Mr. Deity’s lighthearted feel and humor makes it accessible and non-threatening even to some religious people while not sacrificing its focus on exposing the absurdities (both light and dark) inherent in popular Christian theology and apologetics.

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Other Mr. Deity videos not to miss:  Mr. Deity and the EvilMr. Deity and the MessagesMr. Deity Superbowl Extra: The Press ConferenceMr. Deity and the Book, Part Deux

Richard Dawkins.Net is just chock full of fascinating interviews.  Dawkins discusses evolution not just with scientists like biologist PZ Myers but with cognitive philosopher Daniel Dennett, psychologist Stephen Pinker, activist creationist Wendy Wright, Jesuit astronomer and utterly convinced evolutionist Father George Coyne, and ethicist Peter Singer among others.  Dawkins brings a rare level of depth and debate to these interviews, challenging his interlocutors to develop their best arguments without ever stealing the show from them.

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Other Richard Dawkins videos not to miss:  Father George Coyne InterviewPeter Singer—The Genius of Charles Darwin,  Richard Dawkins interviews creationist Wendy WrightDaniel Dennett—The Genius of Charles DarwinDawkins’ Root of all Evil: Ted HaggardSteven Pinker—The Genius of Charles Darwin

Qualia Soup, finally, is a remarkably well written and imaginatively animated series of elegantly presented run-downs of the basics of probability, chance, evolution, faith, scientific process, and other related topics which make for first-rate, accessible, visually engaging, easy to follow, and detail and example rich educational videos.  They’re delivered with a pleasant passion in the most mellifluous and aristocratic accent.  Who in the world would want to ignorantly disagree with such a thorough teacher or his authoritative voice with its shaming disdain for the ignorance and superficial argumentation around him?

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Other Qualia Soup videos not to miss:  Open-mindednessEvolutionThe problem with anecdotesThe faith cakeFlawed thinking by numbersSkewed views of scienceIn the beginning, God created injustice

Your Thoughts?  Your Own Suggestions?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://www.atheist-pig.com The Atheist Pig

    These are all great YouTubers, but one of my favorites is ProfMTH. He really does his homework and is a pretty darned smart guy.

    You can find his channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ProfMTH

    I’d also recommend Penn Jillette’s channel as well.

  • Daniel Fincke

    Thanks for the tips, Atheist Pig! I never heard of ProfMTH and my one exposure to Jillette on YouTube was abysmally, dreadfully bad and self-indulgent. (It was his reply to Mr. Deity referencing him and he filled it with fake laughter and lots of pointless hamming. It didn’t help that I thought the Mr. Deity that referenced him was the show’s low point too!)

  • Spootmeister

    I’ll go ahead and just give you a glut of recommendations. Most are atheistic or in some way respond to theism, including channels that merely collect atheist vids from around YouTube, and others deal with science. I list these in no particular order.

    TheoreticalBullshit
    AronRa
    potholer54
    Potholer54debunks
    DonExodus2
    AndromedasWake
    cdk007
    djarm67
    ZOMGitsCriss
    dprjones
    ThetaOmega
    FightingAtheist
    ExtantDodo
    JamesRandiFoundation
    eightfootmanchild
    Gravitationalist
    atheistcartoons
    Sciencefilms
    FFreeThinker
    BestOfScience
    BestOfAtheism
    AtheistExperience (different from TheAtheistExperience, but has vids from the same show)
    SagansCosmos
    infidelguy
    C0nc0rdance
    DarkMatter2525
    RabidApe
    Beingism (short vids with humanist philosophy and points, I guess you’d say)
    hoffmanallison
    Atheistblindchick
    FactVsReligion
    ToddAllenGates
    C0ct0pusPrime
    PBBChannel
    MrsBettyFlowers
    Evid3nc3
    Nykytyne2
    DefenderOfReason
    urbanelf
    theowarner
    43alley
    azsuperman01
    BionicDance
    DarkTheAtheist
    DrixDZanth
    healthyaddict
    KingHeathen
    SchrodingersFinch
    LiberalViewer (mainly political)
    TheThinkingAtheist
    tooltime9901
    Underlings
    FFreeThinker2
    beautyintheuniverse (thunderf00t’s other channel)
    Albert10110
    somegreybloke (mainly humorous, but also has some short vids on religion)
    TheraminTrees
    SecularStudents
    crazypills2
    MisterSharp
    DasAmericanAtheist
    SisyphusRedeemed
    TruthAtAllCost
    patricianatheist
    askegg
    NykSciPhi (Nykytyne2′s backup channel)
    FreePrometheus

    Ugh, sorry… I didn’t realize I had this many subscriptions relevant to all said subject matter. Though there are many that I highly recommend, I’m rather fond of TheoreticalBullshit, since I like philosophy quite a bit, so I’ll go ahead and single his out as a superb channel.

    Have fun finding enjoyable channels and vids! There really is a lot of stuff out there, as you can see just from my list. Additionally, you might want to stay tuned to the Spootmeister and ConvertTheAtheists channels. My friend and I haven’t posted any videos on them yet, so they’re just sitting there, but we intend to make them about atheism, philosophy, and science.

  • Spootmeister

    Oops… one more. My friend’s own channel is aposematicatheism, and I expect him to make biology-related videos when he finally gets around to it, so… that might be one more you’ll want to look out for in the long term.

  • Daniel Fincke

    thanks so much Spootmeister, it’s so helpful to have such an extensive list of tips! send me the link when your videos go up and hopefully I’ll like them and can blog them!

    What’s your philosophy background?

  • Spootmeister

    Formally, just a low-level moral philosophy course and a low-level metaphysics and epistemology course at my university. But I’ve been interested in several areas of philosophy since at least my deconversion from Christianity about seven years ago, in high school, and have more than a mere layman’s knowledge of them just through having researched some things online (the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, for instance, isn’t exactly layman’s material). I’m also really interested in cosmology and particle physics, and there’s definitely philosophy involved with subjects such as the universe, existence, causation, and the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics.

    I’ve seen most known theistic arguments and can refute them, I’ve dropped various political views a few times because I found them ultimately to be unsound, and, well… I’m much too philosophical for most people. My pedantry and desire for precision in language and meaning aid my thought processes when it comes to philosophy, as I’m well aware of what kinds of errors and fallacies can easily crop up (the pedantry tends to annoy some people, however).

    That doesn’t mean I can cite the views of specific philosophers or tell you what they’re known for. I just prefer to deal with the ideas as they come, to mull them over and discuss them. Unfortunately, I’m a bit scatter-brained and forgetful (there’s a LOT of conflicting philosophy out there, and it’s hard to pick a side when they both make some, but not complete, sense).

    I’ll be graduating sometime soon with a bachelors of science in math. Might go to grad school for physics, but my immediate academic future is fuzzy, since I’m still not quite sure what I want to do. In any case, I regard my sustained interest in math as a result of my interest in philosophy, to some extent.

    Anyway, I plan for my YouTube channel to have a lot of arguments focused on problems with theism, rebuttals to theistic arguments, and the irrationality of certain social or economic views (I’m pro-choice, for stem cell research, and pro-gay-marriage). I even made up a long list of mostly theism/atheism-related topics last semester that I want to do videos on, but have so far never gotten around to producing anything, haha.

    Addendum to recommendations: SisyphusRedeemed is a professional philosopher’s channel, so I’ve also enjoyed that.

  • http://www.youtube.com/djarm67 djarm67

    Thanks for the recommendation spoot.

    My faves would have to be,

    thunderf00t
    cdk007
    aronra
    DonExodus2
    AndromedasWake
    dprjones
    thetaomega
    ExtantDodos

    DJ

  • Daniel Fincke

    Thanks for coming by djarm and thanks for the recommendations!

  • http://www.youtube.com/djarm67 djarm67

    Oops. Forgot potholer54

    DJ

  • Daniel Fincke

    I’m watching your debunking of A Question of Origins right now, DJ, great stuff. Thanks. I’ll blog it soon.

  • jean hemmas

    Let me ask one question. What if after you guys die you all find out that you were all wrong and there is no other chance for you all? If Christians are wrong and athiests are right, we all could have a good belly laugh. If Christians right and you all are wrong, there won’t be any laughing for you guys. Considering the seriousness if you guys happen to be wrong, and the fact that there will be no more chance, don’t you think all think it is worthy cause investing more time exploring this Jesus issue?

    One last thing, when you know who you are and you are secured in your knowledge, no need to debate anyone. Not once did Jesus Christ argued with anyone about his deity. He only stated who he was, and affirmed his purpose for coming to earth, which was to die for your sin and mine. He neve begged anyone to believe him neither did he forced anyone to accept the forgiveness he died to offer. He simply leave you with the decision to accept it or reject it. The Choice is yours.

    • trollkilla

      Hey jean, look up pascals wager, then look up the debunking of it. done simple. too many possible gods out their to please, your in the same boat i am

    • Austen

      You are attempting to assert Pascal’s wager. It has long been thought of as the only logical argument for belief in the Judeo-Christian god (which of course is plagiarized almost entirely from the Egyptians). It contains many contradictions, logical fallacies, rhetorical fallacies, and other errors. Watch this video to find out why Pascal’s wager is erroneous.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZpJ7yUPwdU

  • http://www.martinspribble.com/ Martin S Pribble

    Great list, but you forgot Stephanie (lovingdoubt) :)

    • Daniel Fincke

      Thanks Marty, I really like her (and just sent her a Facebook friend request this morning coincidentally—*crossed fingers*) but didn’t know her back when I made the list.

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  • Ben

    Daniel… how are we missing philhellenes?
    Science saved my soul, why dont scientists fear hell, etc…!
    Otherwise great list.

  • Lisa

    Dark matter!!!

  • Tony Mancini

    Steve Shives is one of my favorites. Def deserves a mention.


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