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Hitchens vs. Hitchens - Comments

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 1 by Matt H.

How awful it is that Peter Hitchens turns out to be an Intelligent Design proponent. He's deluding himself when it comes to God, but on Intelligent Design he's either ignorant or he willfully ignores the evidence.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 15:28:00 UTC | #149342

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 2 by Bonzai

he's either ignorant or he willfully ignores the evidence

Or because of sibling rivalry. It is possible.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 15:31:00 UTC | #149344

maton100's Avatar Comment 3 by maton100

Christ, this is hilarious.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 15:33:00 UTC | #149346

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 4 by aquilacane

Is Peter a middle child? Sibling rivalry sounds interesting. Are the parents highly religious? I wonder if a favoured second child could be more prone to defend the family (faith)? Perhaps he has a mind of his own (Although shared by default with millions of other worshipers of ID)?

I guess a religious person will always search the ends of rainbows for pots of gold, believing one day they'll finally find one. And agnostics casually take a look just incase it's true. Of course Atheists study the rainbow, figure out how to reproduce and improve upon it, then cast rainbows in conveniently hilarious locations, just for a good laugh.

Guess I'll watch then

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 16:13:00 UTC | #149355

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 5 by Peacebeuponme

Gonna finish this off tomorroew. Peter trots out the old "without god everthing is permitted". Embarrassing for him.

I thought he did well on the Iraq bit. Hate myself when I slightly side with him on anything.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 16:18:00 UTC | #149356

Stephen Maxwell's Avatar Comment 6 by Stephen Maxwell

Peter's weak example of countering Christopher's morality challenging made me cringe.

Christopher was highly amusing in getting his point across, even when it was a horrible thought that he was describing, for example the story about the terrorist who murdered Leon Klinghoffer.

"He avoided arrest and had to be released because he had a diplomatic passport..."

"A what passport???...A WHAT passport?????!!!!!"

"A diplomatic passport..."

"What diplomatic passport??"

"An Iraqi diplomatic passport!!"

Better to laugh than to cry I guess.

I also particularly enjoyed his dealing with the guy who posed the Stalin, Mao etc question. "You lose boychick!"

Also, he dealt amicably with the religious experience question, in that you have to accept it for the evil religious experiences as well as the good religious experiences

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 16:47:00 UTC | #149361

black wolf's Avatar Comment 7 by black wolf

I'm still watching.
Believers should really try to avoid the Isaac story. Hmm, they'd need to delete it from the Bible. There is simply no way to justify this story, except when you're a priest king trying to justify your arbitrary totalitarian regime. Or when you try to rationalize your cosmic Stockholm syndrome. Asking a theologian to explain this is like asking a car crash victim to please stop bleeding.
edit: I just got the word "painiseek" from YT for continued commenting. How astonishingly appropriate, almost prophetic.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 17:00:00 UTC | #149366

xdrive's Avatar Comment 8 by xdrive

Wow! at the old questioner in the sweater who almost broke down to tears at how much he was terrified of Atheism. That guy has issues.

Hitchstopher was infinitely patient with him.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 17:07:00 UTC | #149368

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 9 by Styrer-

Da Hitch is absolutely pissed! Out of his tree.

But wins hands down regardless.

What a player. And what a tragedy to have to own up to being brother to that utter fuckwit Peter. Did he ever say more than 'er...we need or we'll kill each hoodies in UK kick shit out of!'?

Christopher pissed is better than most folk sober. Including his anal-retentive, unevidenced, pro-faith twat of a bruv.

What an utter disgrace.

Glad my bruv is a fellow atheist.


Tue, 08 Apr 2008 17:16:00 UTC | #149369

blasphemer's Avatar Comment 10 by blasphemer

Regarding the old Stalin atheist argument it occurred to me that if you wanted absolute power and authority, you would do well either to recruit long-established authoritarian institutions like the church to your side or, if they were unwilling to go along, to destroy them; you don't want a competing dogma to the new dogma you're trying to establish.

Isn't this exactly what the god of the old testament did? Didn't he order his followers to destroy all other gods, largely be destroying all the worshipers of those gods?

If you're looking for a totalitarian model, don't look to Stalin and Mao, look to the original inspiration for those demigods, the original bad-a$$ god of the old testament.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 18:03:00 UTC | #149391

black wolf's Avatar Comment 11 by black wolf

After seeing all of it, I conclude that Peter did make one or two good attempts at forming a valid argument. I honestly can't remember them though.
The debate demonstrates that there is still very much more need to educate the public about atheism, humanism, history and science. Many people fear what they don't know.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 18:07:00 UTC | #149392

rhlong's Avatar Comment 12 by rhlong

Thanks I've been looking forward to this.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 20:12:00 UTC | #149437

Thor's Avatar Comment 13 by Thor

I am so glad C. Hitchens made the very important distinction on nihilism vs. atheism, that is he in many cases shares his brother's worries about social breakdown and overboarding relativism, but this should never be equated with atheism.

As he has said on many other occasions (I am paraphrasing): would a society built on the ideas of Epicure, Spinoza, Hume, Einstein etc... be a nihilistic society? Hardly.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 20:17:00 UTC | #149438

Mr. Flibble's Avatar Comment 14 by Mr. Flibble

I agree with Chris on the position of religion, but I agree with Peter on the Iraq war stance. I understand Chris's position on that, but I don't believe that makes him correct on that topic.

All in all, a great thing to watch.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 21:01:00 UTC | #149451

Shane Williams's Avatar Comment 15 by Shane Williams

Nothing is exempt from the laws of nature, and by this we no that there can be no supernatural. Use that Christopher, it's a quick and easy way to keep them inside the box of reality (it also disproves any supernatural god).
Using time as an example, we can calculate it infinitely forward and backwards and can find no reason for a start or end, thus there has always been. Nothing can escape that law, not even the "unimaginable" or "undescribable," one of many!

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 21:09:00 UTC | #149453

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 16 by rod-the-farmer

Riveting. I stayed up until 0230 to watch the entire thing. I am certainly glad we have Christopher Hitchens on our side in the debate over atheism. He would be a nasty opponent on the other side.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 22:33:00 UTC | #149472

mor-o-less's Avatar Comment 17 by mor-o-less

I hate to give ammunition to theists but in the interest of honest debate I can think of a candidate nation that meets Christophers requirements for a fair comparison of atrocities. His requirements being that the nation is based on the ideas or philosophies of Democritus, Spinoza, Paine, Jefferson, etc. Namely the United States vis-a-vi Native American genocide. I can't be the only person that thought this unless I've misunderstood what he was saying. I only say this to suggest that people not make the same argument.

I did misunderstand what Christopher said by leaving off "fully embraced" as part of his requirements for the nation or state.

Tue, 08 Apr 2008 23:02:00 UTC | #149479

Darwin's badger's Avatar Comment 18 by Darwin's badger

5. Comment #157210 by Peacebeuponme on April 8, 2008 at 5:18 pm
Gonna finish this off tomorroew. Peter trots out the old "without god everthing is permitted". Embarrassing for him.

I thought he did well on the Iraq bit. Hate myself when I slightly side with him on anything.

I know what you mean, PBUM, but in a way, that's actually one of the things that I like the most about not subscribing to a dogma. i.e. it's okay to question or disagree with someone that one otherwise completely agrees with. I'm a big fan of the SGU, but when one of them said (paraphrased) "the only scientifically accurate position to take on the subject of religion is agnostic", I couldn't have agreed less. That didn't stop me from agreeing with nearly everything else that he said, nor did my agreeing with nearly everything else that he said influence my ability to disagree with him on religion or any other hypothetical conflict of opinion. I quite like the Bible guy, can't remember his name off the top of my head - Bob Price? - when it comes to the subject of religion, but on most other things, we are very different indeed, and that's okay. I can cope with the dissonance due to my ability to separate the topic from the person; this is something that I couldn't have done before I discovered free thought and critical thinking.

Of course, you're free to disagree or agree with me in whichever way you please. :)

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 01:00:00 UTC | #149511

Serdan's Avatar Comment 19 by Serdan

Excellent! The Hitch at his best.


Someone who says that "Do what you will must be the whole of the law". That's supposedly what Satanists say at their ceremonies. By the way Satanists are not atheists by definition. Their Satanic majesties are not non-entities.

Lulz. Before hearing this I would have thought it a good bet to suppose that Hitch had been reading Satanic literature. His views are perfectly in tune with what LaVey proposed in The Satanic Bible and elsewhere. Indeed, one of the things LaVey felt strongly about was that of the taxation of churches, something Hitch touches upon in this debate.

Aside from that, he is very much ignorant of occultism in general.

1.) "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" - This was popularized by Aleister Crowley. However, even he did not wish to imply that you should just follow any impulse that might occur to you. He believed that following one's True Will would lead to self-realization. Of course one's True Will could supposedly be known through the help of a Holy Guardian Angel or somesuch, so it's all nonsense anyway.

2.) Moreover, the adherents of Thelema did not claim the name of Satan for themselves. LaVey was the first to do that in a coherent manner. He founded Satanism in 1966.

3.) Satanism is inherently atheistic. There is no room for gods when the most important thing in your own subjective universe is yourself.

4.) The "Satanic majesties" used in ritual are actually non-entities.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 02:24:00 UTC | #149533

Oromasdes1978's Avatar Comment 20 by Oromasdes1978

Brilliant Stuff!

Quote from Christopher on God:

A Celestial North Korea!

At least you can fucking die and leave North Korea



Wed, 09 Apr 2008 02:26:00 UTC | #149535

Ygern's Avatar Comment 21 by Ygern

Serdan, I think the point that Christopher Hitchens was making was that an atheist is no more a satanist, than a vegetarian is someone who enjoys a good steak once in a while.

Peter Hitchens is probably one of the more intelligent opponents that I've watched debating CH; however, he did trot out all the hoary auld non-arguments regarding atheism as well as make a lot of people fairly incredulous when he started advocating ID. After doing a bit of hunting it seems this is something he feels strongly about

Even his fans couldn't believe it.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 03:26:00 UTC | #149558

Darwin's badger's Avatar Comment 22 by Darwin's badger

it depends on whether or not one is referring to theistic satanism or not. LaVeyan Satanism is a relatively new take on a centuries-old tradition.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 03:34:00 UTC | #149562

AlexD's Avatar Comment 23 by AlexD

Interesting how, during the section on religion, they seem to be arguing on entirely different questions; Christopher is arguing "There is no God, and He is not great", as advertised by the moderator, while Peter goes after Dennet's "Belief in belief" angle.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 03:38:00 UTC | #149565

Serdan's Avatar Comment 24 by Serdan

Ygern, I know. Problem is that he was wrong on the facts. Something that is not befitting for The Hitch.

I don't get the vegetarian part..?

Badger, ORLY? Care to show me some references?

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 03:44:00 UTC | #149567

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 25 by Peacebeuponme

Darwin's Badger

I know what you mean, PBUM, but in a way, that's actually one of the things that I like the most about not subscribing to a dogma. i.e. it's okay to question or disagree with someone that one otherwise completely agrees with.
You are of course right. Its just that I have a particular issue with the Hitchens brothers. You see, when I was younger and at college I had a part time job as a sales assistant in a high street store. On my breaks I always used to read Peter's column in The Express. I was constantly amazed at how he managed to take the completely opposite view from me on absolutely everything. I disagreed with every column he wrote and he got me angry every time I saw him on TV.

Much later, over the last few years, when I started reading Dawkins, I noticed that he occasionally mentioned a Christopher Hitchens in friendly terms. Having forgotten Peter's first name by this point, my reaction was that, surely, Richard could not be referring to this man I so loathed? I then found out, that no, it was his brother. But not only that, his brother opposed him in all the ways I did, and was one of the most erudite, witty and brilliant orators around. A journalist, an atheist and a champion of freedom. I was overjoyed. An awesome discovery.

Since then, I listened to Christopher's brilliant talk on freedom of speech in Toronto. He expressed my feelings in a way I never could. You could not fail to be impressed by his argument or its delivery. Some people here talk about us "Hero-worshiping" Richard. If I could ever say I had a hero, it would be our friend Christopher. The perfect anti-dote to his misguided brother.

So, yes, agree or disagree with the argument, not the person. But when that person is Peter Hitchens I can't help but do it begrudgingly.

That's my arse-kissing bit done with.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 04:30:00 UTC | #149587

Darwin's badger's Avatar Comment 26 by Darwin's badger

I know what you mean, I feel the same about some people and it takes a lot of discipline to adhere to sometimes.

Serdan, everything I know about it is via the internet - wikis, etc. I'm not an expert by any means.

e.g. Wikipedia: LaVeyan satanism was founded in the 1960's, based on occult influences from Crowley and philosophy from Rand and Nietzsche.
Theistic satanists are not atheists and view satan as a deity and/or force.


I couldn't give a monkeys, to be honest. I don't think either one is particularly humanistic.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 04:54:00 UTC | #149599

Serdan's Avatar Comment 27 by Serdan

Badger, wiki is wrong, but since you couldn't give a monkey's I'll just leave it at that.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 04:57:00 UTC | #149601

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 28 by phasmagigas

hmm, peters brings up the attacks from teenagers and says these kids are 'active atheists'.

its true to say this type of thing is rare in say the USA, you dont get grannies being beaten up by a gang of 14 year old girls very often but of course hes got it all wrong. Had these kids been forced into moral submission by a local church then yes, they might well have not have the nihilistic, violent tendencies that they show but that says nothing about god only religion.

These kids are the product of modern times with weak family ties, weak parenting, drug use, weak schooling, a realistaion of their untouchable position as juveniles, an obsession with clothing fashion and status over any type worthwhile endeavours, often low ability kids from low ability parents, they cannot be called atheists as they dont even know what that means, they are like any 'untrained' animal, they will behave how they want.

Aside, as we are quite aware there are lots of atrocities commited by the faithful and precisely BECAUSE of it, thise kids dont think 'i can do what i want because there is no god' they simply dont think atall, our species will have always had versions of social control through its history, religion is only part of it, social control has vanished for these individuals, their minds degenerated into apathy as they have grown.

edit, i see hitchens makes a similar point in part 8.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 06:26:00 UTC | #149635

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 30 by phasmagigas

just why did peter bring up the very flimsy connection between hitch and the pornography guy???? laughable.

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 06:49:00 UTC | #149644

BNCbright's Avatar Comment 29 by BNCbright

Why is Hitchens repeatedly referred to as Dr/Professor in the Q&A session?

Is he winding the questioners up?


Wed, 09 Apr 2008 06:49:00 UTC | #149643