1. Bart Ehrman
Ehrman is a professor is a professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He actually attended very conservative bible schools, Wheaton College and Moody Bible Institute. And then went on to receive his PH. D at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a former fundamentalist, who at one time studied under the great Christian NT scholar Bruce Metzger. He has set the Christian community on fire with his teachings on NT teachings. His work is so impactful, controversial, and detrimental to the Christian belief, that there is anti-ehrman website called the Ehrman Project. He eventually became my #1 skeptical source for scholarly information of the History of Christianity having authored several New York times best sellers.
2. Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and actually my personal favorite to watch for any science geek. He is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan. He is an agnostic, not by rejection of religion, but by acceptance of Science. His explanation of the Universe and how it works, will cause a person to longer consider the notion of God of the Gaps as science, but as pure ignorance. To him “Science is the philosophy of Discovery, Intelligent Design is a philosophy of ignorance.” He is actually partially responsible for down grading Pluto to a dwarf planet.
3. Christopher Hitchens
Hitchens is best known in the atheist movement for the common terminology ‘hitchslapping‘. An American English Journalist who wrote for Free Inquiry, The Daily Mirror, and Vanity Fair. He had a way of making religion of all sorts seem not just illogical, but evil to the core that it poisons everything. He once even debated his christian brother, Peter Hitchens in a live debate. Hitchens was a fiery debater with a level of common sense that anybody can relate to. He has written several popular books: The Portable Atheist, Letters to a Young Contrarion, and his most controversial one, God is not Great: How Religion poisons Everything. He passed away in December of 2011.
4. Dan Barker
Barker, is a former evangelist and preacher who graduated from Azusa Pacific University, having also maintained a pastoral position at several small churches. And has released over 200 christian songs during his time as a musical evangelist. He is now co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation with his Wife, Annie Laurie Gaylor. After his de-conversion he released a book, Losing Faith in Faith. He has currently debated more theist, christian, or religious persons than any other atheist/skeptic. In addition to that, through the assistance of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins; Barker was able to set up a program called The Clergy Project, to assist religious clergy de-convert and transition to a normal lifestyle.
5. Lawrence Krauss
Lawrence Krauss is the associate director of the Beyond Center and director of the Origens Project at Arizona State University. He actually does not prefer to describe himself as atheist, but as an Anti-Theist. Krauss is a theoretical physicist, who has answered the Christians question: Can Something Come From Nothing? (Which is a question I myself had, in my own mindset as a christian.) And the answer according to Krauss is YES. In addition, even though he is a scientist by profession, he has participated in debates, even against world renown William Lane Craig.
6. Sam Harris
Harris is a neuroscientist by education, but an avid debtor, lecturer, author, and philosopher by profession. Having received his Ph.D in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California. He has proven to be most successful in lecturing and authoring three national bestsellers on the New York times bestsellers list. Having written The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The Moral Landscape. He has lectured on topics such as life, death, morality, free will, and world religions. In addition to all that success he also the CEO of Project Reason.
7. Richard Carrier
Carrier is a world renown author, historian, and speaker, who holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in ancient history with a focus on ancient Greek and Rome. Being an expert in Greco-Roman philosophical and religious history, Carrier has come to his own conclusion that the Historical Jesus has never existed. That Jesus is a byproduct of folklore and exaggerated tales. He himself even admits that he is in the minority in this area, and knows that he is part of a fringe movement, but this still makes him very popular with the new atheist movement. He has authored such books as Why I Am Not a Christian, The Christian Delusion, and The End of Christianity. He currently blogs for Free-thought blogs and does speeches and book tours around the world.
8. Richard Dawkins
Even though Dawkins is eighth on my list, he is easily most recognized and famed atheist on this planet. (Actually Mark Zuckerberg is, but most people don’t know he is an atheist.) He actually rose to prominence with one of first books The Selfish Gene in 1976 and later authored another popular book titled the God Delusion. He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, while being tutored by Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen. He later continued his studies under Tinbergen’s guidance, receiving his M.A. and D.Phil. Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, who used to teach at the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science. He has no need to teach professionally anymore, because of all his book sales. However he still does educational projects through his foundation.
9. Jerry Coyne
Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. Coyne has earned a B.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Harvard University. Coyne’s work is focused on understanding the origin of species and the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature. Coyne is an atheist that views religion as a hinderance to the progression of natural science. He believes that religion and science are incompatible, that only rational evaluation of evidence is capable of reliably discovering the world and the way it works. He actually maintains a very popular blog named after his book, Why Evolution is True.
10. Thomas Paine
Thomas is actually not an atheist, he was a deist. He believed in god, but not in any formal way nor in any formal religion. He was very anti-christian. A founding father of the U.S. Considered an american hero by some, a heretic and traitor by others. His principal contributions and works include his revolutionary inspiring works the pamphlet Common Sense, the American Crisis, and the Rights of Man. Common Sense being an all-time best-selling American book that advocated for colonial America’s independence. However his most controversial work was the Age of Reason, a book that scrutinized and critiqued the Bible in a way that no man ever attempted before.
This is my last of the 10 best atheist, agnostic, and skeptic scholars. They were chosen based on scientific knowledge and debating skills. Who would you say are the 10 best atheist debaters?