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Louis C.K.

Louis Szekely (born September 12, 1967), known professionally as Louis C.K., is an American stand-up comedian, Emmy-winning television and film writer, actor, producer, and director from Boston, Massachusetts.

 

He currently stars in the FX comedy series Louie, which he also writes, directs, and edits.

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan, Galaxy background, Famous Atheist

Carl Edward Sagan (1934-1997) was an astronomer and science popularizer.


In a March 1996 profile by Jim Dawson in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sagan talked about his then-new book The Demon Haunted World and was asked about his personal spiritual views: "My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it," he said. "An agnostic is somebody who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I'm agnostic."


Update from Tom Head, editor of Conversations with Carl Sagan (University Press of Mississippi, 2006):


Sagan resisted the atheism label and self-described as an agnostic.


In a 1981 interview with U.S. Catholic, Sagan said: "I have some discomfort with both believers and with nonbelievers when their opinions are not based on facts ... If we don't know the answer, why are we under so much pressure to make up our minds, to declare our allegiance to one hypothesis or the other?"


In a 1996 interview with NPR's Talk of the Nation, Sagan said (when asked about religious beliefs): "Where's the evidence? Now, the word God is used to cover a wide variety of very different ideas, ranging maybe from the idea of an outsized light-skinned male with a long white beard who sits in a throne in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow--for which there is no evidence, none at all--to the view of Einstein, of Spinoza, which is essentially that God is the sum total of the laws of nature. And since there are laws of nature ... if that's what you mean by God, then of course there's a God. So everything depends on the definition of God."


In a 1996 interview with NPR's Fresh Air, Sagan said: "I find that you learn absolutely nothing about someone's belief if yu ask them 'Do you believe in God?' and they say yes or no. You have to specify which of the countless kinds of God you have in mind."


In another 1996 interview, Sagan told Joel Achenbach: "An atheist has to know more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no God."


In an interview with The Humanist magazine conducted after Sagan's death, his wife, Ann Druyan, said that neither she nor Sagan believed in a traditional God or an afterlife.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin Famous Atheist

Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.


He published his theory with compelling evidence for evolution in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s the scientific community and much of the general public accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favored competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.



Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.


Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871, he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.


In recognition of Darwin's pre-eminence as a scientist, he was one of only five nineteenth-century non-royal personages from the United Kingdom to be honored by a state funeral, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.

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