Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hitchens Brothers Debate If Civilization Can Survive Without God (Clip)

October 12, 2010 at the Pew Research Center
From CNN Belief Blog:
Brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens squared off Tuesday in a debate over whether civilization can survive without God. Christopher, the older of the two, is a renowned atheist thinker and author. Peter, the lesser known of the two, is a practicing Christian and also a well-regarded author.

Christopher Hitchens is going through a very public battle with cancer, a subject that came up often during the debate. Michael Cromartie from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, moderated the debate and mentioned Christopher, who lives in the District of Columbia, was attending in between doctor appointments. Peter Hitchens had flown in from England specifically for the lunchtime debate.

Christopher Hitchens arrived with a white straw Panama hat. Beneath the hat he has no hair, lost from cancer treatments. Though noticeably thinner, Hitchens did not seem to suffer any intellectual consequences from his treatment.
Read more
(via Daily Hitchens)


  1. The compass analogy fails; magnetic north does, in fact, change over time. The poles will even periodically flip.


  2. i think peter shot himself in the foot when he tried to make the point of absolutely needing god to be moral, by stating "morality is what you do when you think no one is looking".  if you believe in god than oyu always think someone is looking, namely god.  nice try peter, christopher wins, again! :)

  3. <span>i think peter figuratively shot himself in the foot when he tried to make the point of absolutely needing god to be moral, by stating "morality is what you do when you think no one is looking".  if you believe in god then you always think someone is looking, namely god.  nice try peter, christopher wins, again! </span>
    <span> :) </span>

  4. Ugh, Babs Hag from NPR? Please. She's a disgrace. They might as well put a catholic deacon on the ridiculous job of "religion correspondent".

  5. R€LIGION Stinks of moneyOctober 13, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Peter is a poor reproduction and is no match for his older brother.

    I don´t find Peter´s last sentence amusing at all. I have heard this kind of thing before, without God or religion they wouldn´t be able to put a lid on whatever anti-social behaviour that is lurking beneath the surface.
    I find it disturbing and it is one of the reasons why I wouldn´t trust my house plants with these kind of people.

  6. I wasn't expecting his statement in the video to be such a SPECTACULAR fail, but it certainly was just that. His stupid analogy not only fails to prove his point, it directly proves him wrong!

  7. "There are a lot of things I would do if I didn't believe in God".


    I give up

    Maybe we really do need religion


  8. Peter says at the end Yes, "you need religion to have morality". His brother doesn't have religion. Therefore he 'has' to believe his brother doesn't have 'immoral'.
    It seems nigh-impossible he would say that though. Too bad it cuts off right there, but I would like to hear if he thinks his brother has morals or not. I suppose he'll just claim Christopher gets 'em from religion (the Christian brand of course) and then just pretends he doesn't get them from that source at all.
    Cheap and dim.

  9. Oh... and about Peter's idea that if morality evolves then it's not morality... I don't know where that idea came up before the clip, but humans evolve and it doesn't make the concept of 'humans' a pointless one.
    If I stab someone they feel great pain, bleed lifeblood and probably die without medical care. So that's HIGHLY immoral to stab someone for several reasons.
    But if in the future we are genetically altered so we heal up quickly, can cut off deep pain signals while healing so we feel fine, and have personal medical care on our person so we easility repair ourselves.... then stabbing someone, while still immoral, becomes far less immoral than it is today.
    Just like slapping someone in the face is less immoral than stabbing someone now.
    See that would be morality changing over time as it would to match reality and rationality.
    Like how it's ok to kill lots of people in videogames, and horrible to kill a real person. This would directly address Peter's claims about evolution and morals.

  10. He also seems to play fast and loose with what it is that is evolving. He says it's hard to come up with an atheistic explanation for conscience.

    I take that to mean "why do humans experience the sensation of moral conviction about their own actions and the actions of others?" That's very easily explained by biological evolution.

    Then he goes on to talk about lament that the same actions are not judged by different people in different times in the same way. This fact also very easy to explain with biological evolution. Human minds aren't clones of each other--they are shaped very profoundly by the external environment.

    I simply don't see anything that requires an explanation.

    He jumps to the problem of determining which moral rules are "correct" in the sense that they are self-consistent. This is easily solved if one is willing to accept a list of rules enumerated by a designated authority. Provided of course, that you ignore the fact that the selection of the authority is totally arbitrary.

  11. And one could point out that a christian of today doesn't hold the same beliefs on MANY issues as a christian of say 500 years ago.

    Even with the same book they change many of their opinions.

  12. Hello.... the magnetic pole does shift its location (look at any map) and every so often reverses poles.