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Hitchens vs. Hitchens - Comments

Winckle's Avatar Comment 1 by Winckle

I read a Hitchens vs Hitchens "article" in the Dail Mail, although it was penned by Peter Hitchens, who is a man that does not believe that Dyslexia exists, yet is quite happy to belive in God.

He ended with the rather annoying phrase "If one does not devote oneself to God, then one becomes a devotee of power or money", or words to that effect.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 14:24:00 UTC | #48105

_J_'s Avatar Comment 2 by _J_

1. Comment #51127 by Winckle

Shame. Given his beliefs, it would have been more apt if he'd ended with the words:

"If one does not devote oneself to God, then one becomes a devotee of power or munnee"

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 14:34:00 UTC | #48107

pewkatchoo's Avatar Comment 3 by pewkatchoo

It is hilarious because they are both appearing on Question Time on the beeb at the moment. Peter is Chris Hitchens brother. They definitely do not see eye to eye on anything.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 14:35:00 UTC | #48109

Linda's Avatar Comment 4 by Linda

This is a pretty good Radio 3 interview with Hitchens. Its only available for a week.

Philip Dodd talks to controversial writer Christopher Hitchens about his latest book, God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion. As he explains, he not only professes to be an atheist, but also believes religion is immoral. Philip also takes a look at the newly opened Welcome Collection, a pantheon of scientific and medical galleries and exhibitions dedicated to human health and identity.

Christopher Hitchens
Philip Dodd talks to Christopher Hitchens about his new book God is not Great in which he follows in the tradition of Betrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian to argue against religion and for a more secular life - in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's view of the universe.

God Is Not Great: The Case Against Religion by Christopher Hitchens is published by Atlantic Books."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/nightwaves/pip/bncg6/

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 14:43:00 UTC | #48111

dancingthemantaray's Avatar Comment 5 by dancingthemantaray

This sounds amusingly like Christopher Hitchens having some kind of schizophrenic argument with himself!

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 15:03:00 UTC | #48113

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 6 by PaulJ

This link will only be in effect for 7 days, can someone make an mp3 for the site and send it to design@richarddawkins.net? Thanks, Josh
Actually the Today Programme seems to be archived for substantially longer than 7 days, see here. Not only that, but the individual clips seem to be better organised once they're archived.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 15:15:00 UTC | #48114

IanRobinson's Avatar Comment 7 by IanRobinson

Josh, I've just emailed you an MP3 of the H vs. H segment.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 15:19:00 UTC | #48115

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 8 by TIKI AL

Does anyone know if Peter also thinks the Iraq war was a stroke of chimpanic brilliance as Christopher does?

Could God formulate a foreign policy so stupid that even He couldn't find a way out?

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 15:27:00 UTC | #48116

IanRobinson's Avatar Comment 9 by IanRobinson

Does anyone know of there are any estimates or published figures on the number of natural miscarriages per year in the UK (or anywhere else)? I've heard and read that it is more than the number of abortions that are performed. I'd like to know how people like Peter Hitchens (who used the abortion argument during this exchange with his brother) would rationalise a deity that allowed such natural wastage.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 15:42:00 UTC | #48118

UncleJJ's Avatar Comment 10 by UncleJJ

They are well matched, what a pity they couldn't have debated much longer. The poor woman presenter was overwhelmed. Peter put up a better opposition than anyone else whose debated Christopher

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 15:47:00 UTC | #48119

Insightful Ape's Avatar Comment 11 by Insightful Ape

Having listened to this, I have to wonder whether Peter Hitchens is in favor of stoning punishment for homosexuality.
By the way if he thinks no one has ever taken up his challenge I think there is a book that he should read. It is called the God Delusion.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 16:24:00 UTC | #48122

jakelovatto's Avatar Comment 12 by jakelovatto

After listening and watching many atheist/theist debates the seeming trump card of absolute morality is always played.
This idea stands and falls on the assumption that there is a god at all and that you know this god's mind. Only then can you claim absolute morality. As this can't be shown i dont know why this point is consistently raised.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 16:51:00 UTC | #48123

godisanidiot's Avatar Comment 13 by godisanidiot

Lol, how can that idiot be his brother?
My blood boiled over listening to him.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 17:08:00 UTC | #48124

cathjm's Avatar Comment 14 by cathjm

What is it about you all guys, adoring this Bush/Blair/Rove/Gonzales CH zealot? Are all the enemies of your enemies, your friends? This CH guy is a (brilliant) polemist, not a scientist; beware.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 17:39:00 UTC | #48126

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 15 by Bonzai

Peter Hitchens brought up abortion as an example of how men persue evil without the guidance of a higher moral authority. Like all evangelicals he called abortion "baby killing".

Interestingly, abortion = baby killing is a modern formulation. The bible explicitly says otherwise.

The OT mentions the following scenarios to elaborate on the laws of Moses. Two men are fighting in the presence of a pragnant woman and injure her in the process. If the women dies from the injury, then both men have to be put to death according to the law. However, if the injury only causes a miscarriage then the men get off by paying a fine. No jail, no physical punishment.

It is evident that Peter Hitchens' God doesn't equate abortion with murder. It is also evident that Peter hasn't read his bible,--or he has serious reading comprehension problems. Since he either hasn't read his bible or reading it without understanding where does he get his morality from? If he is right that we can't know right and wrong without holy books then he must be quite an immoral chap.

It is absolutely preposterous to say that any sense of absolute morality has to come from God. If morality is just the arbitrary fiat of an arbitrary supreme being it is still arbitrary and cannot be "absolute" in an intrinsic way. If it is not arbitrary, this means there are rules independent of God and hence God cannot be the source of morality. Socrates already addressed that brilliantly long before Jesus.

P.S. I am never a big fan of Christopher but his brother is absolutely infuriating. He sounds exactly like some god bother I was debating on another site. The only good thing I have to say about him is that at least he hasn't cited paragraphs after paragraphs from the bible to make a simple point like that retard. But then he probably hasn't read it in the first place.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 17:52:00 UTC | #48128

Yorker's Avatar Comment 16 by Yorker

I wonder if CH holds the same pro-death penalty views his brother does? I heard PH rattle on about the correctness of the DP on BBC radio recently.

Incidentally, I watched them both on Question Time tonight; CH looked as bad as I've ever seen him, bloodshot eyes, blotchy complexion in angry shades of red but he was still lucid and looked but didn't talk, very drunk. PH on the other hand, looked much healthier but wasn't so entertaining. CH was in top form early on as he delivered a swift arse-kicking to Shirley Williams over the Salman Rushdie knighthood, it didn't fare well with the audience though and he resorted to brow-beating them into applauding him! Hilarious. I'll say no more since a video clip may appear.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 18:50:00 UTC | #48139

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 17 by Enlightenme..

Don't know much about Peter, is he a 'dyed in the wool' ?

Or does he play God's advocate, either from principled a-humanism from 'objective morality' reasoning - somewhat like Dianelos Georgoudis ?

Or, even - this may sound a bit mad! - from some kind of sibling rivalry gone bonkers ? (Cain & Abel?)

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 19:11:00 UTC | #48144

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 18 by Enlightenme..

14. Comment #51148 by cathjm on June 21, 2007

"What is it about you all guys, adoring this Bush/Blair/Rove/Gonzales CH zealot? Are all the enemies of your enemies, your friends? This CH guy is a (brilliant) polemist, not a scientist; beware."

You find out your sister is into s&m/is a serial divorcee/supports Arsenal/drinks too much/...

Do you;
A: Disown her, and everything she stands for.

B: Attempt to respect her differences in opinion in some things, maybe even attempt to raise her consciousness to the fact that Arsenal stink?

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 19:26:00 UTC | #48148

cathjm's Avatar Comment 19 by cathjm

Ok A5; if it had been the other way around, and PH had the red eyes, what would you have written?

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 19:37:00 UTC | #48151

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 20 by PrimeNumbers

There is no objective morality, but quite frankly Atheist morality than the evil that is the God that has a hell, that invents "sin", and who's spokespeople bugger little boys.

Peter just isn't half his brother.....

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 20:26:00 UTC | #48159

Morro's Avatar Comment 21 by Morro

Man, one of these days it's going to come out that Hitchens has some crazy sort of cancer, or something, and we're all going to feel really bad for making fun of how he looks. =P

I personally think Hitchens is the best of the four atheists currently out there. As far as supporting his views in real-time debate, and in making the most convincing argument in his book, Hitchens leads the pack. Above and beyond his atheism, he's still just an amazing writer. Read his Letters to a Young Contrarian to be impressed.

I really think that atheism does not need more scientists. It already has more than enough of those. Atheism needs people who don't have a discreet separation from society, people who have real-world experience with religion around the world, people who don't seem to have emerged from some logical think-tank, but who seem like actual human beings.

That's my biggest problem with Sam Harris. He's a great thinker, but he is SO logical, so unemotional, that he comes off like a robot.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 20:26:00 UTC | #48160

rufustfirefly's Avatar Comment 22 by rufustfirefly

Bonzai; do you have book/chapter/verse of the OT that mentions the penalty for causing a miscarriage? A god point and I'd like to use with a "believing" friend of mine.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 20:33:00 UTC | #48161

Zaphod's Avatar Comment 23 by Zaphod

Wow Christopher's brother is a complete tool. He really believes that nonsense about morality. It is so obvious that we first evolved a primative morality that over time was changed and honed. This morality increased with our development of language which allowed greater social structures spanning more than just a few villages. As Christopher says we would have got where we are today if we didn't kind of notice that certain stuff wasn't ok.

If an absolute morality came from god then why do morals constantly change. If god exists and is absolute why aren't our morals the exact same as 50 years ago or 100 or 1000 years ago.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 20:58:00 UTC | #48163

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 24 by Bonzai

Comment #51183 by rufustfirefly

Bonzai; do you have book/chapter/verse of the OT that mentions the penalty for causing a miscarriage?


Yes sir. Here is a link I find

http://bible.gen.nz/amos/bible/ex21.htm

22 Suppose a pregnant woman suffers a miscarriage as the result of an injury caused by someone who is fighting. If she isn't badly hurt, the one who injured her must pay whatever fine her husband demands and the judges approve. 23 But if she is seriously injured, the payment will be life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, cut for cut, and bruise for bruise.


If I remember correctly, this is not the only place in the bible where this law is mentioned. You can probably find similar verses in other chapters as well.

Biblical morality is really quite repugnant. I wonder what would believers who claim that we derive our morality from the bible say about the previous verses on beating slaves to death.

20 Death is the punishment for beating to death any of your slaves. 21 However, if the slave lives a few days after the beating, you are not to be punished. After all, you have already lost the services of that slave who was your property.


So the master got off scot free if the slave didn't die on the spot.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 21:15:00 UTC | #48166

Zaphod's Avatar Comment 25 by Zaphod

Linda thanks for this http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/nightwaves/pip/bncg6/ link. Philip Dodd is one of these pseudo intellectual non-Christian Christians. What he believes is so far from the consensus of what most Christians believe. Hitchens is right when he says you can't grasp with it, you can't argue with it. Spiritual dribble indeed Mr Hitchens. Insubstantial nonsense.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 21:23:00 UTC | #48167

rufustfirefly's Avatar Comment 26 by rufustfirefly

Thanks, Bonzai. I find they usually ignore those parts of the bible, or they give you the that's the old testament. The new testament is different. It's about love line. Maybe, but it doesn't do those Midianite children or the folks from Jericho much good.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 21:53:00 UTC | #48173

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 27 by Bonzai

Comment #51195 by rufustfirefly

I find they usually ignore those parts of the bible, or they give you the that's the old testament. The new testament is different. It's about love line.


Yes, I know. My usual answer is that if the OT needed to be upadated by Jesus that just defeats their own claim that God is the source of absolute morality. If they insist that God exists and Jesus was the true son of God, then God must have changed his mind somehow. Would they trust a deity that changed his mind so drastically to be the source of anything absolute?

Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law, not to change it. So I don't know what is the biblical basis for Christians to reject the OT. Indeed I never heard a satisfactory explanation.

But they don't reject everything in the OT. For example the ten commandments are still considered the greatest revelation to mankind by Christians even as they contemptiously dismiss other laws of Moses' like prohibitions against working on Shabbath and pork eating as quiant anachronism. Yet the sausage eating, sunday shopping evangelicals see no contradiction in quoting Leviticus with great gusto in order to condemn homosexuality.

In other words they cherry pick whatever suits them. Some basis of absolute morality.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 22:08:00 UTC | #48175

pewkatchoo's Avatar Comment 28 by pewkatchoo

Peter Hitchens is a bit of a chinless wonder! Pompous and arrogant (it runs in the family obviously), his views are diametrically opposed to his brothers. He is also the editor of the Mail on Sunday which probably says it all.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 22:39:00 UTC | #48177

pewkatchoo's Avatar Comment 29 by pewkatchoo

Enlightme..
'Arsenal stinks...'

Don't sit on the fence man, tell us what you really think.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 22:43:00 UTC | #48178

Tumara Baap's Avatar Comment 30 by Tumara Baap

I have spoken to seemingly sensible people who'd vote for Bush all over again because he is stands for a "moral compass". This notion of "absolute" morality is like a virus. Morality ought to be based on the merit of reason and natural justice. Morality tied to a mythical superbeing is as vulgar as it gets. It's bound to be abused by the privileged interpreter of God's intent, changes all the time with religious vogue (vegetarianism amongst modern hindus and concealing of arms and legs amongst muslims), is fickle and often wrongheaded in scope, and furthermore implies poor intelligence by opting for revelation in lieu of reason. In the U.S. for example, abstinence only AIDS measures have demonstrably contributed to more death and disease. I don't know why educated people continue to link God to morality. Morality is innate. Chimpanzees clearly display altruism, empathy and even culture. This is the wellspring of morality. In us it's entwined with history and narrative. Studies in stroke patients show we are hardwired for morality; it's an evolutionary consequence of our social species. Or is silly Peter now going to postulate a Chimpanzee God? Absolute morality my f****** foot!

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 22:46:00 UTC | #48179