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Oct 10 2011

Hitchens in Texas

Here are the first videos I’ve seen of Hitchens in action at the Texas Freethought Conference.

These aren’t bad; there was also a pro crew there taping everything, so expect more later.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    Glen Davidson

    Wow, that’s like winning both the Casey Luskin award and the Phillip Johnson award at the same time.

    Well, no, it’s more like winning something worthwhile.

    Glen Davidson

  2. 2
    Random Excess

    You do not have to agree with all of what CH exposes to enjoy his use of language and argument to make a “no holds barred” point.

  3. 3
    Matt Kovach

    the first video is at http://youtu.be/lp2B0t1SqoU

  4. 4
    Daverz

    All I heard was “Jennifer Flowers”, and I clicked it off. I just can’t take Hitchens in his Clinton-derangement mode.

  5. 5
    chigau (違う)

    He doesn’t look too bad, all things considered.

  6. 6
    co

    Daverz, #4:

    All I heard was “Jennifer Flowers”, and I clicked it off. I just can’t take Hitchens in his Clinton-derangement mode.

    Too bad, since it turned out to be an amusing little anecdote, and had nothing to do with Clinton.

  7. 7
    Spanish Inquisitor

    Gennifer with a “G”. hehe

  8. 8
    Alex

    He’s as full of piss and vinegar as ever but, wow, he looks so frail.

    Fuck cancer. :(

  9. 9
    JF Derry

    @Daverz,

    which is why you failed to even learn the correct spelling for Gennifer Flowers.

    Motto: never be closed to knowledge.

    @jfderry

  10. 10
    Lynna, OM

    Enjoyed his comments about mormons in the second video. The charlatan, Joseph Smith, fancying himself to be the American Mohammed. Yes, that could do with a bit more spreading around.

  11. 11
    Pierce R. Butler

    Damnit, that banner in the still picture for the first video gives away the whole Secret Evil Atheist Conspiracy Agenda!

  12. 12
    williambateson

    Was atheism even an issue for Hitchens before 9-11? It seems like he mainly uses it as a stick to bash Islam. He never criticizes the role of fundamentalism in the U.S. (his chosen country) in fostering militarism,denying women’s reproductive rights and persecuting gays. He only rarely and perfunctorily addresses the Zionist project and its consequences. He doesn’t know enough about science to comment in an informed fashion about its relation to religious ideas.

    Given his role over the last decade in advocating for war and ridiculing its opponents, one can only think that a silver tongue, a quick wit and good looks is all it takes to develop a worshipful fan base in America. (He doesn’t seem to have much of a following elsewhere.)

  13. 13
    Lynna, OM

    Here’s a partial transcript of his comments about mormonism, which are given in the second video, after Hitchens was seated and taking questions.

    As for mormonism, there’s so little left to say, but one might as well. I mean look, the salamanders, the underwear, the whole [shebang?].

    The real question it raises in my mind is that we don’t have many controlled experiments where we can see a religion actually being nailed together. And it’s in the classified small ads of the newspapers of upstate New York where you can see the work of a well-known local fraud, convicted felon and conjurer actually doing it. And it’s now the fastest growing faith of its kind in the world. This gives us every license to think that the origins of all other religions were equally bemired and bemerded with simple charlatanry and fanaticism. And, I might add, a kind of fanaticism too in that it’s probably true to say that it’s not a Christian organization. In the straightest and litteral sense intended by your pastor Jeffers (sp?). Simply this: almost no one ever points this out except me, Joseph Smith said that he didn’t want to be Jesus, but Mohammed. He wanted to be the Mohammed of North America. His slogan was, for the conquest of Utah and elsewhere, “Our Koran or the Sword.” I think this would bear looking up and spreading around a bit, don’t you?

  14. 14
    raven

    The real question it raises in my mind is that we don’t have many controlled experiments where we can see a religion actually being nailed together.

    Sure we do.

    1. Scientology. Made up by a science fiction writer who wanted some quick easy money and said so. Scientology promises you can become a god, creating whole universes. Except it never happens.

    2. The Moonies. Who would have though jesus christ the second would be a divorced, Korean ex-con.

    It’s easy to start a religion. And it doesn’t matter how obviously fake it is.

  15. 15
    williambateson

    Is comment 13 supposed to be a response to the assertion in comment 12 that Hitchens “never criticizes the role of fundamentalism in the U.S. (his chosen country) in fostering militarism, denying women’s reproductive rights and persecuting gays.” It’s not really.

  16. 16
    raven

    Related to #14.

    A sort of distant relative is very smart. He made it halfway through med school. Which is notable because he is also very schizophrenic.

    Instead he started an Eastern themed cult of some sort. Which collected quite a few followers, oddly enough. After a few decades he gave it up.

    Why? “I realized that my followers were crazier than I was.” Which is saying a lot, because he is crazy even for a schizophrenic.

  17. 17
    Kelvin Pauli

    williambateson,

    Hitch was an atheist before 9/11. He has discussed in many previous videos why that event triggered a strong reaction in him and from him.

    As for islam, it deserves to be bashed with a stick, like all other superstitious nonsense. I also strongly disagree that Hitch “never criticizes the role of fundamentalism in the U.S.” Go watch his debates on youtube; it’s all he ever does. Regardless, criticizing him for not giving equal time and equal measure for all religions is simple unreasonable.

    Watching Hitch in these videos made me cry. A few years ago I witnessed a family member die from cancer. He withered from a healthy 200+ pounds down to a gaunt, frail shadow. It’s like witnessing that all over again with Hitch.

    Over the years I have watched almost all of his videos on youtube, and I continue to check for new ones all the time. I hope the whole Q&A will eventually be released.

  18. 18
    rbh3

    Having myself recently done a spell of chemotherapy, I am awed by Hitchens’ performance. I could not have done nearly as well from a purely physical viewpoint (there was no time in my life when I could have done as well from a rhetorical and cognitive viewpoint).

  19. 19
    crusadeofrationality

    I suppose its rather safe to call it ironic that Rick Perry’s abuse of state office which allowed him to hold a public day of prayer for rain in the Reliant Center in Houston actually caused rainfall to all but completely cease there; and yet, the rains came seemingly without abandon during the Texas Freethought Atheist Convention. I propose that either God doesn’t exist, he hates Rick Perry, or despises the alliance of church and state as much as we do.

  20. 20
    CS Miller

    He is reading from his book Arguably on BBC Radio 4 this week; the first episode is on waterboarding, where he volunteered to experience it. As its Radio (not TV) it should be available outside the UK on iPlayer.

    The first program expires on 11:02 GMT, 17 October; the rest will expire 1 week after broadcasting.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b015mzkt/Book_of_the_Week_Arguably_Believe_Me_Its_Torture/.

  21. 21
    CS Miller

    My mistake, Roger Allam is reading from the book.

  22. 22
    raven

    A day doesn’t go by without a xian atrocity. Routine.

    They do stuff like this a lot. Never turn your back on a xian death cultist. Cthulhu, the name alone should warn you.

    old post:

    FWIW, fundie xians can and occasionally are violent.

    This vandalism in Florida is just more xian terrorism.

    Below is an old list of their other victims. It is long and getting longer all the time.

    The real story is the persecution of scientists by Fundie Xian Death cultists, who have fired, harassed, beaten up, and killed evolutionary biologists and their supporters whenever they can.
    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=626 [link goes to Blake Stacey's blog which has a must read essay with documentation of the cases below.]

    Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet) Now resigned under pressure.

    1 persecuted unmercifully for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    1 fired Brucke Waltke noted biblical scholar

    Biology Department fired, La Sierra SDA University

    1 attempted persecution Richard Dawkins by the Oklahoma state legislature

    Vandalism Florida Museum of Natural History

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas
    Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Up to 16 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled, the movie have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    These days, fundie xian is synonymous with liar, ignorant, stupid, and sometimes killer.

  23. 23
    raven

    Ooops, wrong thread.

  24. 24
    Daverz

    “Was atheism even an issue for Hitchens before 9-11?”

    Have you forgotten his polemic against Mother Teresa?

    Anyway, as to why Hitch seems to attack Islam more than other religions and — more to the point — why he fell so hard for the whole neo-Conservative program in Ira can be blamed on his enormous ego. He’s always seen himself as a modern George Orwell fighting against the new fascist menace. If the Islamofascist menace had to be plumped up a bit to be a proper analog to European Fascism of the 30s, Hitch was the man with just the talents to do it. I don’t know if he’s ever apologized for the damage that he did as the “progressive” face of that project. And it was not the first time he went over the edge into right-wing lunacy. During the 90s his anti-Clinton derangement was pathological. He became a gleeful participant in the far-right “Arkansas project”.

    Despite that, he’s still a personal hero for his laser-like ability to cut through bullshit. Unfortunately, he just can’t see through his own bullshit.

  25. 25
    sandiseattle

    okay I know this will sound silly but,

    Couscous with cheese? Yes or no?

    (Cath, maybe you could chime in, being a cooking blogger.)

  26. 26
    Marcus Ranum

    Great photos of the event here:
    http://www.brettbuchanan.com/2011/10/hitchens/
    including a lovely shot of our squidly overlord.

  27. 27
    Michael Spencer

    Watching Hitch is like contemplating the loss of Mr. Jobs. It’s heartbreaking. There’s no better word for it.

    In the meanwhile, I soak up whatever he shares of himself, including the fact that even his circumstances he is still able to share; from which I draw enormous inducement to get off my ass and do something worthwhile.

  28. 28
    Ragutis

    WTF? Even the spambots are mourning?

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