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← Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry vs. The Catholics

Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry vs. The Catholics - Comments

DreamDevil's Avatar Comment 1 by DreamDevil

This isn't a debate, it's a massacre!

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 14:45:00 UTC | #411975

apikoros's Avatar Comment 2 by apikoros

Favorite quote of the night:

"It's the strange thing about this church: it is obsessed with sex, absolutely obsessed. Now they will say, we with our permissive society and our rude jokes are obsessed -- no, we have a healthy attitude: we like it, it's fun, it's jolly. Because it's a primary impulse, it can be dangerous and dark and difficult. It's a bit like food in that respect, only even more exciting. The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese, and that in erotic terms is the Catholic church in a nutshell."

Thanks, Stephen. An elegant analogy in the starkest (and truest) terms.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 14:57:00 UTC | #411977

theinquisitor's Avatar Comment 3 by theinquisitor

The catholics dismissive attitude did as much to harm their position as Hitchens and Fry's arguments did. No disrespect to the quality of their arguments, but nothing can harm one's position as much as bald faced cowardice and deception.

I guess they know there's nothing they can possibly say in defense of these actions, so they ignored it and hoped no-one would notice. FAIL.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:04:00 UTC | #411980

sornord's Avatar Comment 4 by sornord

When the post-debate numbers were read I just shouted, "Yes!" with my fist pumping into the air. Just for a second it was like a football game...

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:05:00 UTC | #411981

Lithium_joe's Avatar Comment 5 by Lithium_joe

Woo-hoo! Been waiting to se the recording of this!!

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:20:00 UTC | #411982

ravish's Avatar Comment 6 by ravish

ehh, they could have massacred them a bit more I thought. It was too short as well.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:28:00 UTC | #411985

kev_s's Avatar Comment 7 by kev_s

"What are you for?!!"
This was wonderful stuff.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:31:00 UTC | #411988

Netsrak's Avatar Comment 8 by Netsrak

Oh yeah, that was awesome, Hitchins and Fry were on fire.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:37:00 UTC | #411989

kylelocket's Avatar Comment 9 by kylelocket

This was fantastic, I almost felt bad for the catholics, they made such a pathetic showing that they never had a chance. It's almost a shame that they didn't have better points of view so that the debate would have been more difficult for hitchens and fry. I guess the nature of the catholic church makes it inherently difficult to defend.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:45:00 UTC | #411990

jaytee_555's Avatar Comment 10 by jaytee_555

So much for the idea that trying to change people's mind on religious topics by argument is hopeless.

So much also, for the idea that agressive atheism is counter-productive.

It is heartwarming to see reason prevail over superstitious cant.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:47:00 UTC | #411991

RedMetalViolin's Avatar Comment 11 by RedMetalViolin

Anyone notice the news bulletin at the bottom of the screen before Fry's speech, "Islamists in Somalia stone a man to death for adultery, but say they will spare his pregnant girlfriend until she gives birth"...
Fry and Hitchens vs Islamic leaders?

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:47:00 UTC | #411992

Lithium_joe's Avatar Comment 12 by Lithium_joe

Incidentally, in the still on the fourth video, I can just see the back of my head.

The glowing square I'm holding is the phone I utterly failed to record this on.... ^^

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 15:53:00 UTC | #411993

Thurston's Avatar Comment 13 by Thurston

This is a heavily edited version of a two and a quarter hour debate. The unedited version will probably surface soon enough.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 16:04:00 UTC | #411996

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 14 by Bonzai

Kick ass. I so enjoy seeing Anne Widdencombe squirmed.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 16:09:00 UTC | #411997

MarcCountry's Avatar Comment 15 by MarcCountry

Anne Widdencombe? I thought that was Terry Jones in drag, although I was basing that on voice, not appearance.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 16:31:00 UTC | #412000

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 16 by Bonzai

The most remarkable thing is the complete absence of much needed introspection on the part of the Catholics.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 16:32:00 UTC | #412001

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

Listening to Stephen Fry is always a pleasure, just one that is not often paid for by the misery of listening to Anne Widdencombe first.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 16:36:00 UTC | #412002

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 18 by helen sotiriadis

that was wonderful

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 16:43:00 UTC | #412004

flying goose's Avatar Comment 19 by flying goose

The most remarkable thing is the complete absence of much needed introspection on the part of the Catholics.

worth repeating

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:10:00 UTC | #412007

Alan C.'s Avatar Comment 20 by Alan C.

Could the Catholics have picked two worse apologists than those two to make their case?
I don't think so, not so much a debate as a humiliating rout. :-)

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:13:00 UTC | #412008

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 21 by Richard Dawkins

She may be one of the nastiest people in British public life, but that is no reason to get her name wrong. She is Ann (no 'e') Widdecombe (no 'n').


Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:15:00 UTC | #412009

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 22 by the great teapot

I corrected my spelling to agree with the article at the top of the page. Don't blame us guv.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:19:00 UTC | #412010

alabasterocean's Avatar Comment 23 by alabasterocean

This is my "Sport", it's a 'game on' event!

Fry and Hitch make a efficient "bad cop - good cop" team.

This is the most fun I have had in weeks...

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:25:00 UTC | #412011

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 24 by the great teapot

Sorry, did I say guv?
I meant our great leader.:)

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:25:00 UTC | #412012

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 25 by TIKI AL

Richard @ 21: "She may be one of the nastiest people in British public life,"

Nasty, yes, but is she the most dangerous woman in Britain today?

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:28:00 UTC | #412014

elpopstardo's Avatar Comment 26 by elpopstardo

Stephen Fry is a legend, Ive got goose bumps!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:34:00 UTC | #412015

AllanW's Avatar Comment 27 by AllanW

19. Comment #430330 by flying goose on November 8, 2009 at 5:10 pm

The most remarkable thing is the complete absence of much needed introspection on the part of the Catholics.

It is a remarkable lack and not just demonstrated by the two Catholic protagonists in this debate. But I think you're casting much too genial a veil over what many now see as the basic problem for the Catholic church.

A lack of introspection may be your polite way of saying they should undertake a course of navel-gazing but I disagree. The most basic, urgent and necessary action they need to take is to accept fully, unconditionally and without stinting that institutional rape and child abuse was condoned, aided and covered-up for decades.

Nothing less than that frank and humble admission (and the sooner the better) is acceptable in order to start the process of restitution to the victims and for the church to begin to reorder itself. This first step is required because how else is anybody outside the church going to believe that they are able to express even the smallest moral utterance until they have addressed these most blatant and grievous wrongs? Any Catholic should feel the same.

Would you take any moral advice from any other body that had committed atrocities and yet still held itself out not just to be a moral, worthy and righteous institution but was trying to convince you that they were the ONLY ones who had the right answers to how to live a good life?

If the Roman Catholic church does not take this step it will condemn itself to permanent disgrace and ultimate degradation and slide into disuse. Rightly so in my opinion.

I'm not having a go at you FG but I really don't think that 'a period of introspection' will do the job that needs to be done.


I would however echo Fry's remarks that it's the institution itself that should be targetted not individuals unless there is evidence of their personal involvement in wrongdoing. The fact of being a Catholic should not in any way open somebody up to approbrium in itself.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:38:00 UTC | #412017

ridelo's Avatar Comment 28 by ridelo

I specially liked it when in the 4th video (0:52) Stephen Fry suggested that the Church should restitute the money the bishop applauded.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 17:43:00 UTC | #412019

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 29 by Alternative Carpark

Intelligence squared really need to put out an audio file of the whole debate.

Start the petition!

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 18:05:00 UTC | #412020

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 31 by the great teapot

Stephen "The catholic church thought slavery was fine"
in the distant background ms widdecombe says well so did everyone at the time, Stephens response "Then what are you for"
Absolutely, what happened to the absolute morals argument.

it is like having a boxing match with 4 year olds.

Sun, 08 Nov 2009 18:07:00 UTC | #412023