Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Great Hitchens Comment

I’m not a huge fan of Christopher Hitchens. I merely like him. He certainly says a lot of things that I think are 100% true. He does so with sly, sophisticated humor.

I was watching a recent video of him from the Daniel Dennett award ceremony that I recently posted about and he made this comment as an explanation for the advent of religion among Homo sapiens:

“We are pattern seeking primates. That is a good thing, since it gives us the itch of curiosity and innovation. But because of it we will often prefer a conspiracy theory or a junk theory to nothing at all”.

Well said.


PhillyChief said...

How long ago was this? Lately he seems to be off his game lately. I just commented on this in response to his performance last week debating D'Souza.

I hear it's because he's trying to quit smoking. In your clip, he must have just had a puff.

John Evo-Mid said...

I BELIEVE it was Sunday, Oct. 14 - so about 2 weeks ago.

Kelly Gorski said...

Our brains are wired to recognize the cause-and-effect relationships inherent in our environment. It feeds our endless human curiosity. It just makes sense. But when a relationship isn't so easily deciphered, we attribute our ignorance to some being called "God." How dishonest.

The Exterminator said...

I'm not convinced that Hitchens is "off his game," as Philly says. Perhaps he's just not as good a speaker as we'd like him to be. The guy's a journalist/writer, not an entertainer, and I think it may be starting to show.

I do think he's a far better writer, however, than any of the other hot atheist authors. He's actually fun to read, and reminds me a little bit of Mencken (who's better than anyone, living or dead, at poking fun at fundies).

John Evo-Mid said...

Exterminator said: "I do think he's a far better writer, however, than any of the other hot atheist authors."

On this particular subject, you may well be correct. I really can't judge, since I've only read articles by Hitchens while I've read books by Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Pinker, Wilson, etc.

I have to say that as a SCIENCE writer, I think Dawkins is unequaled. Not that I've read all the great science books out there, but I have read a lot of evolution related material and Dawkins, IMO, is the best since Darwin himself.

He probably isn't in his element the way Hitch is when the big guy in sky is being tackled.

PhillyChief said...

The Exterminator may be right about how Hitchens might not be suited for dealing with someone polite and soft spoken. He's used to dealing with wingnuts like Donahue from the Catholic something or other or Sharpton or those clowns on Fox.

Having known friends who've quit smoking lots of times, the withdrawal does mess you up.

The Exterminator said...

Dawkins is a wonderful writer on science. The Selfish Gene, in my opinion, is one of the great books of the 20th century.

However, as I've said in numerous posts and comments, I think too often atheists present their viewpoint as a purely scientific one. Hitchens, not being a scientist, comes at nonbelief from a different angle. Perhaps that's why I find him so appealing: he knows sufficient science to say something intelligent about it, but he's interested in literature, history, sociology, geopolitics, and many other areas that I find fascinating.

I do get tired of so much atheistic antagonism being focused on creationism, rather than some of the other ills that theists (and not only those who are ID proponents) have inflicted on society.