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← Fight the good fight: Blair v Hitchens

Fight the good fight: Blair v Hitchens - Comments

Hideous Dwarf's Avatar Comment 1 by Hideous Dwarf

I cannot understand why one of the British terrestrial channels hasn't broadcast this important debate. Isn't that what the BBC is supposed to be for?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 08:46:33 UTC | #554652

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 2 by Jos Gibbons

Why didn't Harris mention Hitchens won it?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 08:57:43 UTC | #554654

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 3 by Bernard Hurley

After watching the debate I couldn’t help recalling Dr Johnson's remark that when one knows one is to be executed in the morning it concentrates the mind wonderfully. Except, of course, that Hitchens has always had a concentrated mind. I can't help feeling that the end is near, but the way he is conducting himself is a shining example to humanity and might do more to sway theists than all his books and debates put together.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 08:58:22 UTC | #554655

Ranting Socrates's Avatar Comment 4 by Ranting Socrates

THE ENTIRE DEBATE IS UP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Xid49EdBg#t=03m50s

THAT IS PART TWO (PART ONE IS BLAH BLAH INTRODUCTION). SORRY FOR THE CAPS MY BUTTON IS JAMMED. ALL THE OTHER PARTS ARE ON THE SIDE. HURRY BEFORE COPYRIGHT TAKES IT DOWN.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 09:09:40 UTC | #554656

Tryphon Tournesol's Avatar Comment 5 by Tryphon Tournesol

Comment 2 by Jos Gibbons :

Why didn't Harris mention Hitchens won it?

..what would you expect from someone who thinks that Blair was on stronger grounds with his Hitler&Stalin arguments, or that Hitchens dealt 'low blows'.

Can't believe that some people -faithheads and journalists- still don't (want to?) know that the H&S argument was refuted long ago. And today it is just a matter of not being lazy, background research is one Google-button away..

Same goes for the low blows, giving the facts isn't doing that. Well, me thinks Hitchens must have been fighting dirty for exactly the same reason that RD is shrill an strident...thruth is a dirty word.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 09:27:13 UTC | #554659

healthymindhealthybody's Avatar Comment 6 by healthymindhealthybody

If that was a small concession to what Hitchens's current intimate brush with mortality has meant to him, it was a brief one

What an idiot, Hitchens has said similar things before he had cancer. Transcendent does not mean supernatural. What a retard this paul harris is.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 09:56:13 UTC | #554664

vertigoa's Avatar Comment 7 by vertigoa

This is on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpMPFu3mMPA&p=4311099EA46871C6

I have to give credit to Blair for taking such a defeat so humbly and respectfully, which cant be said about many of Hitchens former opponents.

Am I the only one who got the impression that the best Blair could say about religion is that sometimes it is not so bad? And that sometimes religion helps resolve the problems caused by religion?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 09:57:52 UTC | #554665

healthymindhealthybody's Avatar Comment 8 by healthymindhealthybody

If that was a small concession to what Hitchens's current intimate brush with mortality has meant to him, it was a brief one

What an idiot. Hitchens has said similar things before he had cancer, transcendent does not mean supernatural. What a retard this paul harris is.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:00:25 UTC | #554666

tomt's Avatar Comment 9 by tomt

Just watched the whole thing. An example of civil society at its best - this is the sort of dialogue we need to see even more of. What a wonderful world it would be if debate of this quality was broadcast on a regular basis!

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:03:17 UTC | #554669

The Plc's Avatar Comment 10 by The Plc

Comment 2 by Jos Gibbons :

Why didn't Harris mention Hitchens won it?

It's the Observer, Sunday version of the Guardian. They get a bit uptight about religion up there. I can't imagine why, the UK isn't exactly a religious country, least amongst it's target audience, educated liberals and progressives. They've toned down their war on atheism in recent weeks though, possibly because of the flak their nonsense hit pieces have received.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:04:22 UTC | #554670

healthymindhealthybody's Avatar Comment 11 by healthymindhealthybody

why wont my comment appear?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:04:31 UTC | #554671

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 12 by Cook@Tahiti

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:15:58 UTC | #554677

sandman67's Avatar Comment 13 by sandman67

First up I think the opening is a disgrace. Yes he has lost weight, but if anything I think Hitch looks good sans hair. He reminds me of the warrior poet character Kurtz. Hes got a good shaped head for baldness...some I have seen look a lot worse.

Now to the arguments. Both sides presented great oratory and debate, even if Blair did use the shabby Hitler/Stalin buzzword bingo cack twice. I think Hitch ignored it as its a well discredited argument. Blair didnt stand a hope in hell...so what hope did he have. At least he conceded with grace, and presented good entertainment well said.

Lastly in answer to The Plc about why Brits and their media are so paranoid about religion. Its because we have had 700 years of bloody religious history, most recently being the N Ireland war and the rise of Islamist fundy madness in the UK. We have replaced one auld enemy with a new one. So we fear and worry with reason.

A great debate, and compulsive viewing.

It is on the BBC by the way....look it up. Its on on New Years Day.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:45:36 UTC | #554691

Chrisss212's Avatar Comment 14 by Chrisss212

what was the final vote?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:59:31 UTC | #554700

markjn's Avatar Comment 15 by markjn

Dear god, this is a slaughter.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 11:28:57 UTC | #554708

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 16 by helen sotiriadis

Comment 6 by healthymindhealthybody :

If that was a small concession to what Hitchens's current intimate brush with mortality has meant to him, it was a brief one

What an idiot, Hitchens has said similar things before he had cancer. Transcendent does not mean supernatural. What a retard this paul harris is.

i noticed that too... the religious mind cannot fathom that non-believers can feel wonder when perceiving this cosmos.

listen to hitch tell us what he feels when he looks at the hubble telescope's images of the sky -- and hear him compare that to a miserable burning bush -- and then try to insist that transcendent is the property of theists.

it's bull.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 11:52:58 UTC | #554716

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 17 by the great teapot

Tony has all the right hand jestures. I have this image of him practicing them in front of the mirror, a la Spode the PG Wodehouse facist.

The debate though is meaningless, what we want to see is the evidence not for god but for their religions. Tony, oh wise one, answer me that.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 12:27:51 UTC | #554726

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 18 by Letsbereasonable

He shuffled slowly to the white chair and sat down, occasionally sipping from a plastic bottle of water.

But his words didn't shuffle from his lips and he certainly sipped the life out of Tony Blair's plastic argument.

And to all you relativists out there: can you picture this kind of debate coming from Teheran or Cairo, or even Tel Aviv?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 12:30:04 UTC | #554728

submoron's Avatar Comment 19 by submoron

It sounds absolutely superb.

I can't help thinking: Blair was known as "Bambi". What could Hitchens be called in "... meets Bambi"?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 12:44:48 UTC | #554732

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 20 by Letsbereasonable

Comment 17 by helen sotiriadis :

Listen to hitch tell us what he feels when he looks at the hubble telescope's images of the sky -- and hear him compare that to a miserable burning bush -- and then try to insist that transcendent is the property of theists.

It's bull.

Indeed. Transcendence is not the exclusive property of theists, it is the property of all humans. Theists simply believe they have the solution to what is yet a mystery to molecular biology and neuroscience. Transcendence, among a number of other humanising phenomena, has as yet no molecular explanation. Molecules 'thinking outside of themselves' is itself something that cannot be imagined.

The theists entitlement to the 'solution' is of their own making. They formulate it in the laboratories of their imaginations. Religion has backed off on so many 'as yet unexplained' phenomena since the Enlightenment that transcendence may be considered a backing-off-in-waiting. If you follow Sam Harris it may soon become a backing-off-in-progress.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 12:51:15 UTC | #554733

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 21 by the great teapot

Tony should learn sign language. He could then put his hands to a use, rather than this phoney affectation he thinks so important.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 12:58:41 UTC | #554734

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara

Transcendence, among a number of other humanising phenomena, has as yet no molecular explanation. Molecules 'thinking outside of themselves' is itself something that cannot be imagined.

What do you think needs to be explained?

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:08:53 UTC | #554736

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 23 by the great teapot

I think Tony definitely won the deabate. Hitchens hardly moved his hands at all.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:10:20 UTC | #554737

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 24 by helen sotiriadis

At the end of it, he suddenly looked a little exhausted, standing up with Blair for an ovation from the crowd but leaning with two hands on the back of his chair.

i watched this and it's heart-wrenching.

i'm repeatedly awed by how hitchens manages to not only retain the quality of his talks -- but to actually increase it -- with all discomfort [to put it midly] that he must be feeling.

like he said, he has more.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:18:17 UTC | #554739

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 25 by Letsbereasonable

Comment 23 by Steve Zara :

Transcendence, among a number of other humanising phenomena, has as yet no molecular explanation. Molecules 'thinking outside of themselves' is itself something that cannot be imagined.

What do you think needs to be explained?

Molecules 'thinking outside of themselves'.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:20:05 UTC | #554740

Daniela 's Avatar Comment 26 by Daniela

Comment 24 by the great teapot :

I think Tony definitely won the deabate. Hitchens hardly moved his hands at all.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:21:38 UTC | #554741

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 27 by Letsbereasonable

Comment 25 by helen sotiriadis :

I watched this and it's heart-wrenching.

I thought it particularly poingant when he reached up and stroked, in his familiarly characteristic way, a head of hair that wasn't there.

I hope Hitchens doesn't read these posts because I'm sure he'd censure the lot of us for this kind of talk.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:27:45 UTC | #554742

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 28 by helen sotiriadis

Comment 26 by Letsbereasonable :

Comment 23 by Steve Zara :

Transcendence, among a number of other humanising phenomena, has as yet no molecular explanation. Molecules 'thinking outside of themselves' is itself something that cannot be imagined.

What do you think needs to be explained?

Molecules 'thinking outside of themselves'.

thinking is a function of the brain. there is no 'thinking outside of themselves.'

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:28:33 UTC | #554743

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 29 by helen sotiriadis

Comment 28 by Letsbereasonable :

Comment 25 by helen sotiriadis :

I watched this and it's heart-wrenching.

I thought it particularly poingant when he reached up and stroked, in his familiarly characteristic way, a head of hair that wasn't there.

I hope Hitchens doesn't read these posts because I'm sure he'd censure the lot of us for this kind of talk.

yes... but still, it's part of it.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:30:35 UTC | #554744

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 30 by Letsbereasonable

Comment 29 by helen sotiriadis :

thinking is a function of the brain. there is no 'thinking outside of themselves.'

Obviously. But how does it do it? Why would a bunch of molecules favor Mozart over, say, the Beach Boys? How would they know the difference?

To the systems processing the data it's just pressure levels, chemical flows and electricity. How does the molecular brain see a difference between the electricity and chemical flows of Jane Austen and those of Dan Brown?

It might not constitute a mystery to you, but I have difficulty thinking it otherwise.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:45:18 UTC | #554746