36 thoughts on “Videos of TB vs. CH debate

  1. I’d imagine these will be taken down pretty quickly, they are supposed to be Pay-For-View. I’ve got them lined up in my download manager to grab them before they are removed.

    1. Me too.

      And I downloaded them in reverse order– last time the debate was pulled (Hitchens vs. Dembski) as I was watching– grrrr!

    1. They are all still up, knock on wood. Search as Jerry has suggested or just go into the YT user’s channel to get them all.

      1. They’re still there (I just watched them all yesterday)–but you have to scroll down into the comments where he’s posted the next segment as a “video response”. The succeeding segments are down there in the comments, not over in the side bar as usual.

        *Loved* the last question they took from the audience. Good answers from both, too. I did think that the adjudicator wasn’t paying very close attention to how Mr. Hitchens was feeling when he asked Hitch to get up and give his closing remarks immediately after giving a lengthy answer to a question. Given the state of his health, though, it’s amazing to watch him debate–fire coming out of his eyes, smoke coming out his nose… ;-))

  2. Well, duh, Blair performed much better than Dembski. Think of the years of training Blair went through during Prime Minister’s Question Hour. He had to learn to think on his feet and speak clearly.

    I was not swayed by Blair’s arguments and, clearly, Hitchens had the upper hand intellectually. I suspect a great part of Blair’s “conversion” was at the hand, so to speak, of his nutball, new age,Catholic wife, Cherie.

    1. Yeah, he didn’t sound like he was really convinced that it was true, only that it was an effective vehicle for getting stuff done.

  3. I like Blair. If all religious apologists were like him, this whole thing would be much better.

    But he did seem quite stuck on the peculiar notion that critics of religion believe religion to be saying 1) religious people have never done any good whatsoever, and 2)religion is the source of ALL suffering and bigotry and prejudice in the world. He poured quite a lot of energy into rebutting points that no sane critic of religion has ever made.

    1. “He poured quite a lot of energy into rebutting points that no sane critic of religion has ever made.”

      Welcome to religious apologetics. It’s easy stuff – you only need the following argumentative skills:
      1) straw men
      2) argument from authority
      3) argument from exceptions
      4) argument from emotions
      5) “you too!” (which is why Hitler is so popular in discussions of religion, even though religion was one of his greatest allies)
      6) proof by verbosity

      Oh gee, the list goes on and on. From that short list, Blair had used all but the argument from authority. (Or at least I don’t recall him using an argument from authority.) Now keep in mind that Blair’s unsubstantive and puerile method of argumentation is the most common form of argumentation in parliaments around the world. We apes have put idiots in charge of the world.

  4. I do wish debate organizers would choose a religious expert, someone well versed in religion in toto, not some celebrity like Tony Blair, Karen Armstrong or Deepak Chopra.
    Dianae Eck, head of The Pluralism Project at Harvard. See at http://www./pluralism.org which provides links and references to a wide range of religious traditions including atheism/humanism.

    Transcripts of her 2009 Gifford Lectures are also available at http://pluralism.org/pages/events/archives/2009/spring/gifford

    1. I would love to hear Diana Eck in a “conversation” with Hitchens. I respect her greatly and think that such a discussion would really be thoughtful and insightful. I guess I don’t expect Hitchens to de-convert her, but I really want to hear from someone who has clearly thought about religion, especially in a pluralistic way.

      1. Your point about “de-conversion” is a critical issue. For me, religion, while often (usually?) based on a formal teaching, in its better form is only a foundation informing personal behavior. To encourage Hitchens to change his religious view is to invite philosophical enslavement. Pluralism is about respect for honest views, not conversion.

        1. And we have seen throughout history that pluralism at best only works for a short time – then the killing starts again. Even in the USA religion has been trying to subvert the laws of the land since the Declaration of Independence. Even the second president of the USA (J. Adams) pushed religious laws which were subsequently (and very quickly) revoked by Thomas Jefferson when he became president.

          1. Thanks for your thoughts. If what I have been reading is correct, violence world wide is on the decline and has been for some time. With today’s media coverage into formerly unreported areas, this is an interesting phenomenon.

            I guess my question would be (And I’m serious, not a smartass): Is it possible to have a peaceful world without pluralism which is primarily a peaceful coexistence of different cultures, of which religion may or may not be a part?

            Pluralism is another slippery word. My usage of it comes straight from the Pluralism Project website which is too much to post here. It is at http://pluralism.org/pages/pluralism/what_is_pluralism

  5. Once again the religious apologist was reduced to the old ‘religious people are no worse than other people’ when of course they are meant to be so much better. If religious people are no better than the rest of us then what the hell is the point? Piss weak.

  6. This was wonderful. I hope Christopher Hitchens gets better. He is simply brilliant. Thanks for the heads up about the video.

    1. Unfortunately Hitchens will most likely not get better, and this is one reason why he’s pushing himself to go to all these events even though he’s very sick.

  7. In the last debate with Dembski, Hitch did get burned a bit when Dembski answered his “born sick, ordered to get well” point with “the cure is there.” I was glad to see Hitch address that in his intro so he won’t get burned again. Interesting to see how Hitch does with a friendlier crowd.

    1. Sadly still PRO 32, Con 68 meaning they split the undecided almost evenly. At least reason got the bigger share over all.

  8. The problem I have with these “Has religion been a force for good in the world?” debates is that the religious side often tends to sidestep the issue.

    “Sure,” they say, “there were religious motivations at play in Rwanda, Northern Ireland, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and so on, and sure, religion has been used to divide and ostracize countless times, but that’s not what religion is ‘supposed’ to be about”.

    Well that’s great, but the question at hand is “Has religion been a force for good in the world?” not “Would your personal, idealized form of religion be a force for good in the world?”

    In other words, they need to remember their personal ideas on religion are irrelevant, what matters is how religion, as it has been practiced, has impacted the world.

  9. Of course, the question itself is just an extended fallacy of the excluded middle.

    Has religion “ever” been a force for good? Sure.

    Has religion “ever” been used to subjugate, coerce, maim, kill indiscriminately? Absolutely.

    So, what’s the point in even asking the question. Except if you really mean to ask a different question entirely.

    Mine would be: In modern society, is organized religion a dangerous anachronism that feeds smug, self-indulgent, arrogant ignorance?

  10. I thought Blair did as good a job as could be done, defending what is only marginally defensible. I found him engagingly open and honest.

    But Hitchens put in the best performance that I’ve ever seen from him. Although he’s always witty, this is the first time that I’ve seem him be cheerful.

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