This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Hitchens v Albacete - Excerpts

Hitchens v Albacete - Excerpts - Comments

beanson's Avatar Comment 1 by beanson

That size of wine glass is now banned in British pubs

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 13:47:00 UTC | #271236

Goldy's Avatar Comment 2 by Goldy

Comment #285008 by beanson
Seems my emigration to NZ was timely and wise! :-D

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 14:04:00 UTC | #271242

beanson's Avatar Comment 3 by beanson

In the interest of clarity I understand that it is still possible to get tolerably drunk though

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 14:17:00 UTC | #271248

ggab7768's Avatar Comment 4 by ggab7768

I can't help but feel that the V in the heading wasn't really needed.
I'm a little familiar with this particular friar.
He tends to be unusually sensible.
He has some looney moments but is generally likable and borders on reasonable.
You get the impression that he could toss out his faith any day now.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 15:15:00 UTC | #271264

NewSkeptic's Avatar Comment 5 by NewSkeptic

Nice to hear these exchanges of view being presented in a civilised manner, rather than being caught up in trench warfare.

Christopher's repertoire of anecdotes is seemingly inexhaustible and always amusing to hear.

My only main complaint, so far, is the clatter of crockery in the background, but you can't have everything ...

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 15:29:00 UTC | #271266

AfraidToDie's Avatar Comment 6 by AfraidToDie

Hitch seemed to let the old guy off the hook. Albacete would rather agree than argue a point; what's up with that? Hitch should have asked him what gave him the knowledge to lead others. At the risk of sounding mean to an old man, he should have asked him that if he did discover that he's lived his life following a hoax, does he have too much of his life invested in that lie to ever admit it. I don't think I've ever seen hitch (until now) not having the heart to nail someone to the cross :-)

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 15:42:00 UTC | #271273

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 7 by mordacious1

You would think that someone of Hitch's status would not have to give a talk next to the kitchen where they are washing up the silverware.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 17:11:00 UTC | #271302

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 8 by mordacious1

Lorenzo Albacete is a "physicist by training", according to Wiki, but they do not state whether or not he has a Phd.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 17:21:00 UTC | #271308

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 9 by Alternative Carpark

What a nice old man!

I wish someone would give him a $5 million grant, so he could quit his day job.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 17:34:00 UTC | #271319

jaytee_555's Avatar Comment 10 by jaytee_555

This charming old guy must struggle hard every day to keep inventing reasons why he need not take the next obvious logical step. I'm almost tempted to hope he manages to keep it up, so long as it makes him happy. Anyone who can struggle so hard to hang on to a delusion almost deserves not to be disabused of it.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 18:37:00 UTC | #271362

8theist's Avatar Comment 11 by 8theist

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 19:13:00 UTC | #271386

morgantj's Avatar Comment 12 by morgantj

That wasn't even a debate. That was just Hitchens, and his opponent agreeing with practically everything Hitchens said. Sure Albacete seems to be a nice old guy, but it didn't make much for a debate. Or course this rhetoric was in a civilized manner, there was no opposition.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 19:20:00 UTC | #271394

Ryan Booker's Avatar Comment 13 by Ryan Booker

The more priests that are like Albacete the better.

He has to be the most atheistic 'believer' I've seen.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 19:36:00 UTC | #271409

eean's Avatar Comment 14 by eean

This guy knows how to handle Hitchens. He argues that a belief in God etc should come from love. We can't really argue with that. Overall he doesn't use any of the kind of arguments that the God Delusion decimates. Whenever Hitchens brings up some dogma or another it looks like he's creating a straw man.

I do think a moderate believer could watch this "debate" and come away feeling stronger in their beliefs.

Reminds me of my favorite bit of Religulous was the priest outside of the Vatican talking about how pointless all this pomp and finery was. :)

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 20:07:00 UTC | #271431

MaxD's Avatar Comment 15 by MaxD

I like both of Hitchen's debate personalities. He seems to know when to be the attacking prick, and when a collegial conversation is warranted. Here he seemed particularly sharp and witty. And he had a fine person off whom he could bounce his thoughts.

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 20:17:00 UTC | #271437

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 16 by robotaholic

Hitchens is thoughtfull and respectful when it's appropriate. There was no reason to be overly """"""strident""""""" lol

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 20:57:00 UTC | #271445

nickthelight's Avatar Comment 17 by nickthelight

Sounds like somebody was tidying up after a tea party the whole way through.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 01:20:00 UTC | #271502

NMcC's Avatar Comment 18 by NMcC

It is a mystery to me how anyone can consider Hitchens a worthy advocate for atheism. It seems to me that, where Professor Dawkins is concise, sparing with his words and usually crystal clear in his meaning, Hitchens is the exact opposite. Hitchens gives me the impression that his main concern in addressing any issue or question is to reveal how clever and knowledgeable he is. He almost always starts his sentences from the end and works his way towards the beginning. This is the same in regard to answering questions; he is forever answering them with long, windy, wordy and, usually unnecessary, verbose rambles about subjects that the audience has to ‘fit in’ to the point of the question or subject themselves. It seems to me that Hitchens’ contributions are invariably almost in the form of riddles.

On another point, I think the disingenuous fraud Hitchens should stop quoting Marx on religion. Just as Hitchens normally mangles Steve Wienberg's quote about 'good people doing good things' etc., Hitchens does the same with quotes from Marx. Having spent a great deal of his life passing off the state-capitalist, anti-democratic dictates of Leon Trotsky as the authentic voice of Karl Marx, it is laughable that Hitchens is now trying to present Marx here (as he did in his book) as simply an abstract critic of religion. Marx was nothing of the sort. The passages Hitchens quotes from Marx are, indeed, from his A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (strictly speaking, from the Introduction), but the most interesting aspect of Hitchen’s quotations from Marx is not what he says, but what he leaves out.

And, predictably, given the views of Marx in general, the very text Hitchens leaves out is the essential point that Marx was making. Yes, Marx did write that religion is ‘the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the soul of soulless conditions.’ He did famously declare that religion ‘is the opium of the people’. Marx did write, as Hitchens relates, that the point of criticising religion was not simply to pluck the flower from the chain so that human beings could wear the chain unadorned, but so that we could cull the living flower. But the connecting passage that Hitchens leaves out is the very point at the very heart of Marx’s views about religion:

“The criticism of religion as the illusionary happiness of man is, at the same time, a criticism of the conditions that need illusions.”

Little wonder he leaves it out, for Hitchens, of course, is now one of the most vociferous defenders of that society that ‘requires illusions’.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 01:30:00 UTC | #271507

DKPetersen's Avatar Comment 19 by DKPetersen

Interesting 'debate', I just wonder who the hell is fencing in the background the whole time :)

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 02:06:00 UTC | #271524

notsobad's Avatar Comment 20 by notsobad

Ask they guy what he says about gluttony being a deadly sin.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 03:53:00 UTC | #271573

FreeWillyB's Avatar Comment 21 by FreeWillyB

Thanks for posting this!

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 04:01:00 UTC | #271578

fiagottpf's Avatar Comment 22 by fiagottpf

Comment #285288 by NMcC

Bravo Sir!

I stand and applaud you

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 08:34:00 UTC | #271701

squinky's Avatar Comment 23 by squinky

All that clinking in the back is the wait staff trying to keep up with all of Hitchens shot glasses. You didn't think he was drinking that in-frame cabernet did you because it's a prop.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 09:04:00 UTC | #271721

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 24 by severalspeciesof

NMcC,

“The criticism of religion as the illusionary happiness of man is, at the same time, a criticism of the conditions that need illusions.”

Little wonder he leaves it out, for Hitchens, of course, is now one of the most vociferous defenders of that society that ‘requires illusions’.


Interesting take, yet I feel that Hitchens actually does address that part of Marx's quote by commenting on the conditions of life of early man, and our evolutionary conditioning towards seeking patterns.

As far as defending society that 'requires illusions', I don't think any society exists without some 'illusions'. To have a society without illusions would require a global/universal society that everyone agrees to. And even then there could be self imposed 'illusions'.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 09:06:00 UTC | #271724

Big City's Avatar Comment 25 by Big City

Surprisingly, I find myself agreeing with NMcC's idea that Hitchens is overrated. I watch every debate of his I can find, yet he hardly says anything that blows me away. He's clever, but only when he's sober, and he's rarely sober. He always takes on easy targets like Boteach and he doesn't even give them the real beating they deserve. The arguments that he does have usually aren't very convincing and he saunters right along, leaving them full of holes, especially in the eyes of believers. His 'some designer' argument doesn't even hold up against secular criticism. I'm starting to feel that he makes us look bad.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 17:37:00 UTC | #272070

squinky's Avatar Comment 26 by squinky

Big City, NMcC
I for one am thankful for Hitchens because I think he is more 'accessible' to the lay public than is either Harris or Dawkins or certainly Dennett. (Personally, I favor Harris the most). Hitchens comes to atheism from a philosophical, historical, and literary tradition which, while not as watertight as scientific data, I believe has much more impact on the lay-public that has little to no detailed scientific understanding.

I take great exception with your point about not having any convincing arguments. Hitchens goes farther than all the others by extending the thought experiment of theism to a failed personal philosophy. Namely, massive holes in God's design such as: how the human niche is an infinitessimal part of the solar system, how our sun will red giant and exterminate all life on the planet, how the Milky Way will collide with another galaxy in the future. This is a devastating argument against God.

The most powerful argument which I am glad he made is that God stood with arms folded for 4,599,996,000 years without a thought of intervention. This is virtually a QED argument that religion is manmade. I would even go further and say God exterminated many early hominids (neanderthals) who made tools and had culture--why?

I just think NMcC has his tit in the ringer over interpretations of Marx. Who cares. Fuck Marxism. I bet serious money that no one on this board could publically debate Boteach or Warren or D'Souza or any of these other clowns and come off half as intelligible or entertaining as Hitchens or Harris or Dawkins. If you could, you should quit your day job and stop posting on this site cowardly attacks on some of atheisms strongest advocates.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 19:47:00 UTC | #272129

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 27 by DalaiDrivel

I find myself basically in agreement with Squinky re: 26, except for the last paragraph which seemed merely to vent some emotions.

Quite similiar to me in fact most of the time...

I agree that the arguments Squinky has cited are devastating.

As to his Hitchens redundancy, I am more inclined to think, as I suspect others are, that these arguments are simply worth repeating, and that's why Hitchens does, until people get them.

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 22:44:00 UTC | #272181

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 28 by DalaiDrivel

Now after watching this, I don't think I'm generalising too much in saying that the whole of Albacete's speech could be boiled down to:

1.) Argument from Personal Credulity. I didn't particularly like this much at all, because it seemed like he was using it so that it would appear that everything Hitchens would say in response would be an ad hominem.

2.) God of the Gaps

3.) Ingratiating himself upon his opponent with statements of agreement to save himself from a proper undressing. I can't believe some of the things that Albacete said he agreed with, like Hitchen's "folded arms" point provided that we "stay at the level of religion." What does that caveat mean? And saying that he is in "full sympathy" because "it's true" doesn't appear to have any meaning- just an ingratiation.

Well, I wish Hitchens would have piped up right then: "No, no. I sympathise with you."

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 23:50:00 UTC | #272196

squinky's Avatar Comment 29 by squinky

DalaiDrive1
I was venting in that last paragraph. Ah well, sometimes I forget my etiquette on this board when I get a visceral reaction to someone's comments. Glad to hear I have a kindred spirit on this board!

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 08:27:00 UTC | #272332

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 30 by chewedbarber

Big City

His 'some designer' argument doesn't even hold up against secular criticism.


I think Hitchens does an excellent job of illustrating how one might infer from our meager existence, why god is 'some designer'.

especially in the eyes of believers.


In the eyes of believers, there is no argument.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 08:58:00 UTC | #272353