Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Who's Who in Hell is now online

Warren Allen Smith's massive Who's Who in Hell (2000, Barricade Books) is now online as a wiki, provided by the organization Philosopedia (not yet a 501(c)(3)), which manages a wiki of the same name.

Unfortunately, they're not allowing the public to edit the content. I hope they will at least open it up to registered users in some way. It's also somewhat disappointing that the organization of Who's Who in Hell puts all the entries into 26 wiki pages, one per letter of the alphabet, rather than having a separate entry for each person. My entry on the L page is woefully out of date.

UPDATE: But they're quite responsive... I have a new entry already.


Reed E said...

Another player in the celeb atheists space.

Weren't we associated with that project a while back? :^)

Jim Lippard said...

I actually just made a post about celebrity atheists over at the Secular Outpost a few days ago. Not sure why I didn't think to connect or combine that post with this one.

olvlzl said...

The problem I've got with this is it lists many people who I suspect wouldn't want anything to do with it. Neo-atheists, like "Humanists" and others who have more of an appreciation for PR than for integrity should not list people in a project like this without their prior approval. Unfortunately, the very famous and long dead are easily appropriated even if, as in the case of E.G. O'Neill, for example, I doubt they'd be enthusiastic. Hey, you got any evidence from him that I'm wrong about that? There are a few of the living who, I suspect, are appropriated on flimsy evidence or who are rather ambiguous, though they can speak for themselves.

I'm a universalist, don't believe in hell. Though there are times I wish there was one, so many appropriate candidates present themselves.

Jim Lippard said...

olvlzl: The celebrity atheists wiki intentionally puts people into the categories "atheist," "agnostic," and "ambiguous." Back when Reed ran it, it was limited to the living, though that no longer seems to be the case (since Sagan's still on the list, for example, as is Adrienne Shelly, one of the people I added).

Who's Who in Hell is obviously somewhat less discriminating which is to be expected given the ambiguity of its title (it doesn't claim to list atheists).

Personally, I'm not sure I find it any more objectionable to list famous long-dead people in Who's Who in Hell than it is to baptize them.

I wonder if the Mormons have thought of doing baptisms for all of the dead listed in Who's Who in Hell? I think that would be a good way for them to spend time and money, doing something that causes no harm to anyone.

olvlzl said...

Jim Lippard, when have I ever advocated baptizing dead people? Or living ones, for that matter. Since my objection is to attributing beliefs to people and listing them in groups they might object to, if they had a chance, this is an example of what I'm objecting to. By the way, one suspects that if a fee was paid in some way that any dead person could be baptized in the manner you wonder about. Which is about as slick an operation as you can imagine in this line of business.

My point was about the intellectual honesty about listing people like O'Neill who was sufficiently complex so as to defy categorization. I knew one of the people listed and, while they were prone to giving conflicting signals, at times as jokes, I know that particular one was not a "non-theist".

Jim Lippard said...

I didn't mean to suggest that you advocated baptizing dead people--I rather thought you would find it objectionable for the same reasons you object to Who's Who in Hell.

Again, I don't think it's intended that everyone listed in Who's Who in Hell be an atheist as their qualification. O'Neill is clearly in there for his statements critical of organized religion.