Intelligence Squared debate: Catholics humiliated by Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry
By ANDREW M BROWN - TELEGRAPHA.CO.UK
Added: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 23:00:00 UTC
I have just witnessed a rout – tonightâs Intelligence Squared debate. It considered the motion âThe Catholic Church is a force for good in the worldâ. Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, opposing the motion, comprehensively trounced Archbishop Onaiyekan (of Abuja, Nigeria) and Ann Widdecombe, who spoke for it. The archbishop in particular was hopeless.
The voting gives a good idea of how it went. Before the debate, for the motion: 678. Against: 1102. Donât know: 346. This is how it changed after the debate. For: 268. Against: 1876. Donât know: 34. In other words, after hearing the speakers, the number of people in the audience who opposed the motion increased by 774. My friend Simon, whoâs a season ticket holder, said it was the most decisive swing against a motion that he could remember.
The problem (from the Catholic point of view) was that the speakers arguing for the Church as a force for good were hopelessly outclassed by two hugely popular, professional performers. The archbishop had obviously decided that it would work best if he stuck to facts and figures and presented the Church as a sort of vast charitable or âsocial welfareâ organisation. He emphasised how many Catholics there were in the world, and that even included âheads of stateâ, he said, as if that was a clincher. But he said virtually nothing of a religious or spiritual nature as far as I could tell, and non-Catholics would have been none the wiser about what you might call the transcendent aspects of the Church. Then later when challenged he became painfully hesitant. In the end he mumbled and spluttered and retreated into embarrassing excuses and evasions. He repeatedly got Ann Widdecombeâs name wrong. The hostility of both the audience and his opponents seemed to have discomfited him.
- - YouTube - townsquare Comments
Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').
- - Ancestors Trail Walk Comments
WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 26 AUGUST 2012 - event begins on Saturday 25 August
Richard Dawkins - for the Press and... Comments
I was invited several months ago to speak at the Faclan Book Festival in Stornoway and I was delighted to accept, as I have a great affection for the Highlands and Islands but have never visited Lewis and have heard such good things about its beauty and about the friendliness of the islanders.
Andy Liegl - CBR (Comic Book... Comments
In front of a packed crowd during his panel titled "My Two Years with Dawkins, Christ and a Small Crab Called Eric" at Comic-Con International in San Diego, artist, writer and indie filmmaker Dave McKean recounted two recent life events on radically opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum: an all-ages book he illustrated with scientist and Atheism proponent Richard Dawkins called "The Magic of Reality," and a film he shot starring Michael Sheen in Port Talbot, Wales called "The Gospel of Us," a modern day interpretation of "The Passion" story chronicling Jesus Christ's final days of life on Earth.
Jacob Fortin - The Good Atheist 103 Comments
Update 6/7 - podcast
"Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know"
Eugenie Scott - YouTube -... 17 Comments
Many creationist arguments would be familiar to Darwin. But others--such as Young Earth Creationism--would have baffled him. Genie Scott explores the then and now of creationism. Where: Transylvania University. When: 2/15/2012