I must admit, I'm not a big fan of Richard Dawkins or Steve Pinker for that matter. They're quite ethnocentric. As a feminist and someone who veers more towards the left, I can't stand their Darwinian style elitism. I'm looking for more equitable Athiest or Agnostic thinkers, if anyone could recommend anything please inbox or comment. I'm new to this site so go easy on me. Also any texts that criticize main theological issues in Islam would be great. Documentaries are also welcome. If you're going to refer me to anything in Arabic, it would help if you know a free pdf version of it because I can't always access Arabic books where I live. They're usually very rare. 

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Comment by Pope Beanie on November 7, 2013 at 10:48pm

Welcome, Laila!

I know very little about that side of the Atlantic Ocean or anything south of the Philippines, but there are people here at TA who live in Europe or Africa. I'm especially interested in hearing from Muslims (or ex-Muslims) who are willing to describe their view of Islam.

I used to feel the same as you about Dawkins. But now I've seen some people here say that Dawkins helped them leave their faith, which I consider a big plus. I like Pinker and would like to understand more about how he's "ethnocentric". I'm sure I'm also ethnocentric in some ways, and would like to fix that! I think know a lot more about Asian culture than African culture.

Comment by Rocky john on November 8, 2013 at 12:23am

Welcome my friend. I am glad that you have decided to stick around here after reading some of the replies to a recent thread on Muslim terrorists.

I have a few sources of criticism's of Islam i can offer you(mostly from ex-muslims) .You probably already know of  her, but just incase you do not, a youtube search on Maryam Namazie will bring up a number of talks and debates she has done on Islam.

Unfortunately my understanding of Islam comes mostly from our western media ( i have read the Koran , but only once and it was a while ago) So i can't say any of the other resources i have are entirely accurate.But they are likely worth a read even at worst. One is a free ebook HERE. "Chapter 1 is rather polemical but from Chapter 2 onwards the character of Muhammad is disected in a very detailed and scientific way."

I also have a few other books you may want to look at, but they are unfortunately saved on my computer. I have added you to my friends so that when you accept i  can message you for an Email address where i can send them . I don't know exactly what will appeal to you but i have a number of them from various authors . So a few of them will likely be of interest.

Comment by Ed on November 8, 2013 at 9:08am

I am not familiar with Pinker but I have read some of Dawkin's works and was confused by your characterization of him as a Darwinian elitist. I don't believe Dawkins necessarily supports social Darwininism and the need to allow the strong and fit to survive at the expense of the weak. As an ethical theory I find social Darwinism unsavory at best, akin to the hallucinations of Hitler.

Comment by Random Cairene on November 8, 2013 at 9:20am

unfortunately i have few english sources but  I second what @Rocky said about Maryam Namazie and i'd like to add Taslima Nasrin to her .. you can follow their latest articles through the following links.



if you would like a some arabic texts as well .. there are the books of khalil abdel kareem ,Sayed Al Qemny, Farag Fouda, abdullah el Qusiemy.
their books are available as pdf all over the internet you can google them easily.

here are some links to their works .





Comment by Pope Beanie on November 8, 2013 at 2:50pm


I don't believe Dawkins necessarily supports social Darwininism and the need to allow the strong and fit to survive at the expense of the weak. As an ethical theory I find social Darwinism unsavory at best, akin to the hallucinations of Hitler.

Good points. Creationists especially like to conflate Darwinism with social Darwinism, trying to make both sound akin to an elitist's philosophy of eugenics.

Meanwhile, I think Pinker may be somewhat of an intellectual elitist, but he did have to buck some linguistic theory made pervasive by Chomsky, and he is imo an effective pioneer. Imo Pinker is at least much more of a social egalitarian than a social elitist.

Comment by Unseen on November 8, 2013 at 8:36pm

I'm not clear on what sort of atheist you dislike. Can you define Darwinian elitism a bit?

If you don't believe that an intellectual dialectic (the competition of ideas through discussion and criticism) TA could be a mite uncomfy for you. 

Comment by Pope Beanie on November 8, 2013 at 10:01pm

[...at this point Pope Beanie offers beverages and ordeurvs, even if he can't spell it right]

Comment by Laila Moe on November 9, 2013 at 7:09pm

I'm really sorry for the late reply, I gave up after two days of waiting for a response. To be honest, I have only watched their lectures and documentaries. I would read the books if I did not have midterms and essays at the moment. Some of the arguments that they've made were great and inspired me to think about different things. But I'm not too keen about their views regarding gender, politics or society... I wouldn't call it social darwinism though. It may be more of a bias than an intellectual opinion on their part. Regardless, I'm not wishing to argue or convince anyone that Dawkins and Pinker are elitist or ethnocentric... maybe I'll make a separate post just for that debate. If someone convinces to change my mind about these two figures, then convinced I will be... And of course I believe in an intellectual dialectic. I'm a skeptic and a leftist, so I think believing in an intellectual dialectic was a prerequisite for me. I'm just asking for sources of atheists with different perspectives than Pinker and Dawkins. I'm sure that having a different perspective of gender, society and politics will probably have different implications on how one perceives atheism and life. But for the meantime, since I don't know too much about atheism and agnosticism, I will stick with Dawkins and Pinker. But the more variety, the better.

That being said, thank you all so much for these resources. Especially Marvel, that was much more than I was expecting. I will check them out and perhaps I'll post feedback. It will be very slow though because I have midterms until the end of november and i'm currently moving as well. 

Comment by Laila Moe on November 9, 2013 at 7:39pm

I can't figure out how to reply to individual comments, so I'll just do it here. 

Thank you Belle Rose, but your link is not opening for me. :(

Thank you Rocky. I'm really used to the polemics, but to find truth you'll have to see past it and learn to pull the good arguments from the dustbin. Since in the Muslim countries today, leaving Islam is a crime which is often punishable, speaking against Islam (no matter how scientific) is almost impossible. So I have to put up with the racism and the anti-immigrant politics to find good atheist arguments in between. (although a lot of the polemics are constructed by theists who just aren't Muslim and ignore the very similar problems in their own books.) I will definitely add you for more books and perhaps to discussion! I have not heard of Maryam to be honest. Like I said, most of these figures are often unheard of whether in Islamic countries, or whether you live in the West surrounded by Muslim family and friends. 

Ed, I really wasn't claiming that he was a social darwinist. But He's elitist as far as I have analyzed his speeches. But then again, being a privileged individual who is unaware of their privilege or power differences and systems of oppression in society, could make anyone sound elitist even when they're not. I'll make a post with citations and references to explain why I have this impression of Pinker and Dawkins. But it's not really important whether I'm right or wrong about them. I take the useful information from them and criticize what I find to be elitist. But I do think that perhaps a feminist or a socialist would have a different perspective of Atheism, which I would be intrigued to learn. 

And Marvel, thank you so much for all of that. I had no idea that Farag Fouda was an Atheist. I always thought that he was being attacked for his liberal beliefs. Would you know of anyone else? I know that Mostafa Mahmoud became an Atheist for a period, but changed his mind (perhaps under pressure?), but I can't find his books on Atheism anywhere. I have not heard of neither women. But by just looking up their names and lecture titles, I like them already. Thanks a lot!

Comment by Rocky john on November 10, 2013 at 12:26am

"I can't figure out how to reply to individual comments, so I'll just do it here. " Dont worry about it as you cant reply directly to posts in this subforum .

I was watching a conference talk called "science and faith in the black community" where one of the panelists said something that stuck with me . Which was something alone the line of 'coming from an underprivileged family in most American  communities, the children have two main paths to follow . Which are becoming involved in the criminal underworld or joining a church'. It is then no wonder that so many of them are religious as it is most often the religious institutes that offer them help and guidance when they need it. If i had been born into that situation i would also be far more attracted to the religious institutes that helped me than some rich white guy telling me why i am an idiot for believing in a god.

You may be interested in the discussion as some of the points will likely  be germane to your background (Though Richard Dawkins is one of the panelists) Science and Faith in the Black Community

You may also enjoy Julia Sweeney's talk on her path to atheism . She is a comedian and it is pretty funny .Julia Sweeney - Letting go of God

Noam Chomsky is a thought provoking social critic  with strong socialist leanings, though he does not talk on atheism that much. Here is a talk he did recently on Egypt's revolution that you may find somewhat interesting. Noam Chomsky (Oct 4, 2013) "Egypt - Revolution or Coup?" Though i must be honest and say my view on what is actually happening over there is very limited.


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