Thursday, September 06, 2007

God is not great

That is the title of Christopher Hitchen's new book. While I can't say that I admire Hitchens as much as Dawkins, in fact he is a bit obnoxious, I do enjoy seeing him debate. On a recent tour for his book, he's decided to do his debates in the bible belt, taking the enemies of reason head-on.

In Dawkins' review of his book, here is what he had to say about Hitchen's debating skills:
"I hadn’t met Hitchens before, but I got an idea of what to expect when Grayling emailed me to discuss tactics. After proposing a couple of lines for himself and me, he concluded, “. . . and Hitch will spray AK47 ammo at the enemy in characteristic style”.
Grayling’s engaging caricature misses Hitchens’s ability to temper his pugnacity with old-fashioned courtesy. And “spray” suggests a scattershot fusillade, which underestimates the deadly accuracy of his marksmanship. If you are a religious apologist invited to debate with Christopher Hitchens, decline."

I think Hitchen's should come debate with John Torry, before the conservatives start including ID in out science books.


Bayman said...

Hitchens was great. Less of a scientist than Dawkins, but much better and patient with deconstructing religion.

I had to watch to whole debate. Pretty long, but a great way to distract yourself from flu-like symptoms.

Hitchens historical knowledge is so great that Sharpton doesn't even try to defend religion, just hides in the corner of the "my God is my God" argument (despite the fact that he is of course a Christian preacher and doesn't normally hide in the corner).

It would be interesting to see Hitchens debate a religious scholar who knows history as well as he does.

Bayman said...

Oh yeah. And Tory is an idiot. I don't think he has a chance of winning. If he does, then we have bigger problems than just Tory and ID.

That also reminds me, recently there was some news coverage of Tory criticizing McGuinty for suggesting that the province should give equal funding to all religious schools, not just the Roman Catholic ones. Kind of a no-win issue for everyone, since I would think the correct answer is that the state should not be funding religious education of any sort, but abolishing the Roman Catholic school board would not exactly go down easy with a lot of people.

At any rate it seems religion might somehow end up being an important issue in the upcoming Ontario election, which would be interesting although possibly a little depressing.

Bayman said...

This guy Hitchens is pretty interesting writer, although it's challenging to understand the rationale behind his pro-Iraq war II stance.

It's worth hearing some of his arguments in this debate with Tariq Ali. Some interesting points are raised, but the best part is listening to what happens when two well-spoken and excessively civilized Enlishmen get mad at each other.

Bayman said...

And a much more recent article where Hitchens discusses Iraq.

Anonymous said...

I was REALLY optimistic that finally the environment would be the major issue in the provincial elections. However I now think this 'ID in schools' issue is going to be the sensationalized issue of this election and scare many people into voting based on this issue alone.
As if it actually has a chance in hell in this country.

Bayman said...

Yeah a discussion on sustainability would probably be more likely to lead to some results.

I'm not sure I agree, but some people also think that now would be a good time to talk about the place of religion in society too, seeing as how a lot a people are blowing each other up on God's behalf these days.