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Blair-Hitchens head-to-head - Comments

SourTomatoSand's Avatar Comment 31 by SourTomatoSand

[...] they seem to have no heart and no room in their heads either for ambiguity or that unknowingness so many of us struggle with.

This resonates with me, because I was raised in an evangelical Christian fundamentalist family. When I tried to believe in Christianity, nothing made sense to me. "Evil" made no sense, and I didn't understand why bad things happened... everything from human interaction to biology to mathematics made no sense, because it's all incompatible with religious teachings.

Now that I'm an atheist it all makes sense. There are, of course, a lot of things I don't know, and a lot of things no one knows. But the things I do know aren't in conflict anymore, and I don't suffer that "ambiguity" or "unknowingness" I did when I was a part of a religion that thought it knew everything.

If she's anything like me, Yasmin might gain peace of mind if she would consider an atheist worldview.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 19:24:50 UTC | #551620

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 32 by SoHelpMeReason

For the sixteen billionth time, and for the next sixteen billion as they should inevitably (and frustratingly) arise, atheism did not "give rise to communism and fascism".

This woman is depressing me.

"I don't have a god. Therefore I think I'll oppress people politically as a part of my atheism. It's the atheist thing to do."

That doesn't even make sense. I doubt highly a self-interested man like Stalin would have been held back from his motives by Cloud Daddy. More than likely, like all other dictators in history, the man would have warped his religious beliefs to suit his motives, because as human beings we tend to adjust external things for our own benefit before we ever lay out the plans to change ourselves.

Crappy people do crappy things. It has nothing to do with godlessness. The anticipated objection here is that in that case, neither has it anything to do with religiosity. But then 1) religions ultimately have no effect, 2) that does not imply anything religion says is true, and 3) religions unlike atheism trap people in labeled groups, and needlessly impose, frankly, stupid restrictions and requirements that subject pathetic fools to a kind of clumsy gymnastic event of leaping through various hoops like pet show Schnauzers--only they look more ridiculous. At least you can sympathize with the pup made to wear Paris Hilton's purse, as the poor thing never had a say in the matter.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 20:01:19 UTC | #551650

PERSON's Avatar Comment 33 by PERSON

"Comment 29 by God fearing Atheist I see atheism is now also responsible for capitalism, as well as Stalin and Hitler." There is a strong atheist tendency at the top of US capitalism, running from John D Rockefeller through Henry Ford to the CEO of Enron (who was a self-proclaimed fan of, and seeming completely misunderstood, "The Selfish Gene"). It's also present in the middle tiers of capitalism: in libertarianism and the kuro5in/encyclopaedia dramatica type better educated capitalism-normalised post gen Xers. And certainly, financial matters were seen as unchristian. Which is why they were left to the Jews, who were also handy to liquidate in the odd Pogrom if you needed some cash in a pinch.

So atheism is a big component of capitalism IMO, but then it is necessarily a big part of any system that would even have pretensions of being rational.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 20:30:57 UTC | #551662

SourTomatoSand's Avatar Comment 34 by SourTomatoSand

Comment 33 by PERSON :

] So atheism is a big component of capitalism IMO, but then it is necessarily a big part of any system that would even have pretensions of being rational.

I find it funny that anyone would claim atheism is part of capitalism as if it's a bad thing (referring to Brown doing so, not you). In my experience, Jesus Christ and Capitalism are treated with an approximately equal level of deference in the United States. The norm is to believe unquestioningly in both-- one of the many reasons President Obama is pegged as both a Socialist and a Muslim by his more batshit detractors.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 20:41:36 UTC | #551666

PERSON's Avatar Comment 35 by PERSON

Comment 32 by SoHelpMeReason

No religion has a firm basis that I've encountered. Their axioms are sufficiently weak, vague and narrow to allow arbitrary interpretations and additional assertions, and facilitate the introduction of complete fabrications, and thus by either means arbitrary action. There is limitation by memory and nostalgia, but time and radicalism (particularly "rediscovery" of "ancient" "truth") deals with this. Common sense, limited and prone to error though it is, is overruled, sometimes completely thrown out. The same with accumulated evidence. This can be so with Atheism, but the application of reason, the refusal to reject common sense without good cause (e.g. the demonstrable predictive effectiveness of QM) and emotional self-awareness can significantly reduce it, hopefully eliminate it if sufficiently widespread.

In short, credo considered harmful.

I wonder if the organisers refer to this meeting as the Blair-Hitch project.

Comment 34 by SourTomatoSand

Comment 33 by PERSON : So atheism is a big component of capitalism IMO, but then it is necessarily a big part of any system that would even have pretensions of being rational.

The norm is to believe unquestioningly in both-- one of the many reasons President Obama is pegged as both a Socialist and a Muslim by his more batshit detractors.

That's why I was referring to middle and upper class Americans.

It does make some sense as a criticism if you think capitalism is unacceptably problematic, particularly in its current form (as I do) or inherently and irretrievably evil (as others, some of whom are somewhat coherent, do). If anything, my criticism of capitalism would be that most of the reasoning associated with it, e.g. economics, is about justification of policies and actions rather than prediction, facilitation of understanding or ensuring moral outcomes.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 20:55:46 UTC | #551673

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 36 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 8 by Jos Gibbons

I wish I had the time to do my usual refutation stuff, but I'm snowed under.

Mores the pity, I'm a huge fan of your surgical dissection of such pish, stuff and nonsense.

As RD states above, at least reading the comments over at the Independent should instil a feeling of some hope as the commenter's over there are ripping her a new arse hole too. The herd definitely appears to be growing.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 21:12:46 UTC | #551679

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 37 by Stevehill

@DarkMatter

Personally, I am completely mystified as to why the Independent, the BBC or any media outlet actually think Yasmin's self-evident infantilism, random rhetoric and worthless opinions are of any value whatsoever.

You've got to have an ethnic on the team or you're not truly multi-culti, therefore by implication racist. She might be the best they can get. On some topics she's pretty good.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 21:55:36 UTC | #551695

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 38 by Carl Sai Baba

I give you sophisticated theology and accommodationism in a nutshell:

How dare those two brutes speak as though either idea is absolute and superior? The only sophisticated position is to feel superior by having absolutely NO ideas.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 22:38:36 UTC | #551709

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 39 by mjwemdee

They believe that attacking Iraq was absolutely the right thing to do, but the former uses Christianity as an alibi for his political decisions – intimations of divine reassurance brought on by fervent prayers – and ardently believes in celestial goodness, while his adversary is contemptuous of religion, hates its global influence.

Ironic that Yasmin - with her surname - thinks that the word 'alibi' is a synonym for 'reason' or 'excuse'.

The lady's voice is far too amplified in the public forum.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 23:51:45 UTC | #551728

hal2011's Avatar Comment 40 by hal2011

95 hours until the debate opens! I can't wait. I'll be there in person in the front row of the choir loft right above the back of the stage! Woo Hoo, sooooooooooo excited.

Does anyone know if Hitchens is going to be anywhere else in Toronto to sign books or sell his Hitch 22 memoir? Supposedly, Munk Debate's says there will not be any public book signings there.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 00:20:22 UTC | #551736

Alovrin's Avatar Comment 41 by Alovrin

Sez Yasmin about her daily addiction....

I have faith; I need to pray every day, seek solace from Allah, ask for mercy and forgiveness. It helps me strive towards trying to be better than I am. One of my best friends is a devout Catholic

and the high she gets off it........

Religion can be a force for good if it is internalised and divorced from politics and power. As a flickering flame within, it stops you from becoming hateful, careless, self-aggrandising, grabbing and too materialistic. It has its place, must have its place.

Sheez I'd rather take drugs, the imagery is waaayyy better.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 00:49:19 UTC | #551744

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 42 by Steve Zara

Comment 41 by alovrin

Sez Yasmin about her daily addiction....

Yes, that's it exactly.

Alibhai-Brown thinks she is a heroine of heroin because she pushes the syringe in just a little and she's not sure when she is high. How dare we rant about the reality, the ruination of lives? As long as hard drugs aren't political, what harm do they do? Let the dealers fund school shoot-ups, let the opium dens get tax relief, insist that dealers are an example to us all.

She's welcome to her daily bliss of self-deception, but not to call vice a virtue, and condemn those who tell the truth about addiction.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 01:15:39 UTC | #551747

frax71's Avatar Comment 43 by frax71

I have read here that Hitchens admires the odious Blair but can't find any evidence that supports this, and in the context of the debate I don't know if it would be of any significance anyway. Except that they both admire that supreme idiot Bush

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 01:16:45 UTC | #551748

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 44 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 43 by frax71 :

I have read here that Hitchens admires the odious Blair but can't find any evidence that supports this, and in the context of the debate I don't know if it would be of any significance anyway. Except that they both admire that supreme idiot Bush

Check the most recent Charlie Rose interview (the one where Rose visited Hitchens at his house). Hitchens was asked something like 'what politicians do you admire most?' and Hitchens said Blair.

I have my expectations set to 'very low' by this debate. In fact, by any debate. They're usually on railway tracks i.e. each one reads from their pre-set script, and there's virtually no engagement with the other's arguments. There's never enough time to deal with all the points or to reconcile errors, misunderstandings, etc. The moderators are always too weak to call people up on logical/factual errors , and the participants don't want to think on their feet - much easier just to read from the script.

Hitchens should have made short work of Alistar McGrath, but that debate was also disappointing. I've seen so many lame debates. Shermer and Demski are like a double-act road show - doing the same 'gig' from venue to venue and hugging afterwards as they take applause. It's less a debate than pseudo-intellectual entertainment.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 01:32:07 UTC | #551752

hitchens_jnr's Avatar Comment 45 by hitchens_jnr

Blair v Hitchens - Hitch'll mash that fool into a pulp.

If only Yasmin Alibhi-Brown had the guts to debate him, I'd love to see him repeat the trick on her.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 02:14:41 UTC | #551761

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 46 by irate_atheist

Comment 42 by Steve Zara -

All signs of delusional psychosis, you'll notice. Communication and control by imaginary beings etc.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 13:29:14 UTC | #551930

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 47 by Steve Zara

By the way, I don't know why people seem to expect Hitchens to have an easy time with Blair. Blair is a very experienced debater and user of media. It's going to be an interesting event.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 13:33:56 UTC | #551931

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 48 by irate_atheist

Comment 47 by Steve Zara -

Parliamentary protocol states that you cannot accuse an opponent of lying, or being a liar. I can't see the Hitch being restrained by such niceties...

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 13:37:31 UTC | #551934

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 49 by Cook@Tahiti

If Blair can handle Paxman, he can brush off Hitchens. He's Mr Teflon.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 13:42:43 UTC | #551937

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 50 by irate_atheist

Maybe someone should point the Hitch in the direction of this website:

http://www.arrestblair.org/

I'm sure the cash would some in handy.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 14:04:01 UTC | #551951

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 51 by Richard Dawkins

Why do any media outlets keep repeatedly inviting her (excluding more capable, intelligent, qualified guests) as if she is some kind of authority or expert on anything at all?

Do you really need to ask that question? Media people are petrified of being thought racist, Islamophobic or sexist. The temptation to kill three birds with one stone must be irresistible.

Richard

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 14:32:48 UTC | #551963

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 52 by irate_atheist

Comment 51 by Richard Dawkins -

You missed out 'elitist'. After all, who wants comment from the cream of the crop....

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 16:20:26 UTC | #551997

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 53 by aquilacane

Comment 4 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 2 by aquilacane

Ancient times those very words would've been pictures.

I remember not that long ago we would be graced regularly with your own artwork to make a point...with humour. Ahh the good auld days.

I guess, words are pictures, even if our brains may process them differently than other images. I suppose words differ from images as they were created to imply a specific meaning that others will understand with little problem.

Pictures have allowed us to give meaning to objects so as to allow them to act in the fashion of words. black robe of death, red rose of love and so on.

I liked the drawing method of posting. I wish I could still do that, it's much more fun and rewarding when you get it right. I think I made more enjoyable points rather than better one. And I often mixed images with text, for me getting the point across is all that matters.

The best picture is the one that conveys the intended message with the least confusion. image, word or a combination of the two, just so long as the message is clear. You can't pit one against the other. What's better, making a phone call or sending an email? I don't know, what's the message?

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 17:17:45 UTC | #552021

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 54 by aquilacane

Oops... ignore post above, wrong thread and won't let me edit for some reason.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 17:48:42 UTC | #552036

PurplePanda's Avatar Comment 55 by PurplePanda

Her 'a plague on both your houses' approach is just a way of covering herself in case Blair 'loses'. Well I said he wasn't fit to defend faith anyway! So we don't lose na nah nah!

No doubt if he comes up with any good arguments she'll happily add them to her repetoir.

Personally I think Blair will be Hitchen's toughest opponent yet. He is a very smart man, and extremely experienced speaker, even if he is a selfish religulous war-mongerer.

And that whole 'unknowingness' thing is just a way of trying to endear myself. Oooh look at me, I'm humble enough to admit I don't know, unlike these arrogant two.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 18:17:46 UTC | #552058

PurplePanda's Avatar Comment 56 by PurplePanda

Er "herself" not "myself". Some kind of non-freudian slip there....

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 18:34:50 UTC | #552071

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 57 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Comment 51 by Richard Dawkins :

Why do any media outlets keep repeatedly inviting her (excluding more capable, intelligent, qualified guests) as if she is some kind of authority or expert on anything at all?

Do you really need to ask that question? Media people are petrified of being thought racist, Islamophobic or sexist. The temptation to kill three birds with one stone must be irresistible. Richard

This website really, really needs a "like" button for comments like on Facebook.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 18:37:27 UTC | #552072

UncleJJ's Avatar Comment 58 by UncleJJ

More blabbering from this odious woman. Her opinions are worthless.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 02:11:57 UTC | #552340

Alovrin's Avatar Comment 59 by Alovrin

Comment 42 by Steve Zara Comment 41 by alovrin

Sez Yasmin about her daily addiction....

Yes, that's it exactly.

fMRI her..... on second thoughts ..... it would be a waste of some poor bligher's time and ... well ... that's enough of a reason.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 08:11:28 UTC | #552417

whenpigsfly's Avatar Comment 60 by whenpigsfly

And they gave her the George Orwell prize for political journalism???

-sigh-

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 08:40:22 UTC | #552427