Philosopher Doug Krueger once made the interesting observation that whenever theists want to boast about their alleged successes in debates with atheists, theists always describe their opponents as “best-known,” “foremost,” the “most famous,” or the “most prominent.” For example:
- The blurb for the book on the second Habermas-Flew debate describes Antony Flew as “the world’s best-known philosophical atheist.”
- The back cover of the Moreland-Neilsen debate book describes Kai Nielsen as “one of today’s best-known atheist philosophers.”
If I were to generalize a bit, it appears there is interest in answering the following questions:
- For any purported atheist, is the individual recognized as an atheist by other atheists?
- Who is the most prominent atheist philosopher (living or deceased)?
- Who is the most prominent living atheist philosopher?
- Who is the “best” atheist debater?
- Who has the strongest arguments for atheism?
- Which atheist has the best rebuttals to theistic arguments?
- For any given atheist, are their arguments for atheism representative of what you consider to be the best arguments for atheism?
What do you think? Would the idea of “ranking” atheist philosophers, debaters, or activists be useful?