An Atlantic conversation with Christopher Hitchens

August 10, 2010 • 11:18 am

We’re gonna stay with the Hitch until he either dies or recovers.  Just think of it as HitchCam.  Here’s a conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Hitchens’s pal Martin Amis.  Not a whole lot new here but Hitchens remains frank and unbowed. Rod Dreher will be peeved that he’s still appears insufficiently humbled by his disease.

Oh, and Goldberg has a little post addressed to those praying for Hitch to die.

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13 thoughts on “An Atlantic conversation with Christopher Hitchens

  1. JG as the interviewer of CH was/is a complete dud. What a ghastly poor job of it!How can one heap greater opprobrium on an interviewer? Words fail!

  2. “Isn’t there a kind of hubris in the certainty of God’s nonexistence?”

    What could this man possibly be talking about? Anyone who makes such an utterance reveals that he is either too stupid or too lazy to actually acquaint himself with the viewpoint that Hitchens represents. And it is especially bad that he is asking the question of Hitchens himself, a man who has answered the charge eloquently and at length more times than he could count. Fucking moron.

    1. It’s the old misconception that atheists are “sure” about there being no god, which does sound a bit “arrogant” if it were so.

      Atheists simply don’t believe in any god, whether they are certain or not. This lack of belief usually comes down to a lack of sufficient (or any) evidence to support the god hypothesis.

      1. One doesn’t have to be that defensive.

        The other misunderstanding that is coupled to atheists being “sure” is that empiricists doesn’t use “certainty” in the religious sense. Facts are most often quantitatively certain, often to 99.999 % certainty (say, physics), but there is still room for errors.

        – Skeptics don’t claim 100 % certainty, they allow room for errors. Believers may not.

        More to the point, if you have a theory and can certify it so that you deem the results too strong to doubt them based on current evidence or tested “beyond reasonable doubt”, that too leave room for errors and reversals (rejecting the theory for another).

        Again you can quantify certainty, often to 99.9 % certainty (say, physics). But more importantly, if you can test you know what will make you reject your theory.

        – As Coyne never tires to tell us (errhm, well), skeptics have a ready answer to the question: “what will make you reject your idea?” Believers never do.

        [I can’t refrain to note at this point that according to Accommodationist Gospel this state of affairs, people being uninformed of the usual method of inquiry into knowledge, is “good”. It would be “strident” to point out that believers attempt methods that cloud instead of reveal knowledge, and it would be “aggressive” to ask them what would make them reject belief.]

        So however you cut it, lack of sufficient evidence or sufficient evidence to test the contrary, you aren’t “sure” and “arrogant” but treating the question as any other question.

        It is but if you would engage in religious special pleading and elevate the question beyond the mundane to use “certainty” to reject gods that you would be arrogant. But at that point you wouldn’t be a secular atheist but a religious one.

        That is quite another fish in the sea, and likely very rare.

        1. “One doesn’t have to be that defensive.” As the common reply implies, not that it implies anything on Ray Moscow or any other user personally.

          Um, maybe that non-arrogant business is harder than I thought.

  3. I think Goldberg was intimidated a little by being in the same room as both Hitchens and Amis. He struck me as unnecessarily and unnaturally antagonistic towards a dying man and posturing a bit. At least I hope so, because if that’s his real personality then yikes what a douche.

    It’s a shame he didn’t do a better job.

    1. It sounded almost like Goldberg was trying to witness to Hitchens. Maybe he wasn’t, but a lot of his questions seemed to be in that direction.

      He doesn’t seem to be a very good video interviewer, either. Either all his questions were off-the-cuff, or he didn’t think through what he was going to ask very well.

      1. And he kept trying to talk over him too. I really wish interviewers would understand that the goal is to get the other guy to tell us what he thinks, no-one really wants to know what the interviewer thinks. The other crime I hate is asking questions with the answers embedded in them so the interviewee is effectively left with only yes or no to say. Very tedious.

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