Wanting to discuss Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, I posted a comment on the message board for Winnipeg Skeptics:
Meet-up group to find out exactly why science enthusiasts say negative things about these two individuals. I had some interesting comments.
The whole topic was spurred on by a comment made during the question period at a recent trip to the Winnipeg Creation Museum. (Edit: I would love to have a copy of the audio that was recorded by Creation Museum staff during this period and the question period from the group before us, Winnipeg Atheists I believe were involved in that session). I do applaud the Creation museum for allowing several groups in that day who, for all intensive purposes, are hostile to their “evidence for creation”. I hope they would welcome us back for some more discussion and they are welcome to attend any Winnipeg Skeptics event to give a talk. Ideas, no matter how unorthodox should still be discussed, if only for fun, in a safe and welcoming atmosphere.
I digress. The comment which began my train of thought on this topic was “Dawkins is a bit of an ass”. This comment was interjected into the middle of an argument against religion that creationist John Freakes began to state, by Gem Newman, founder of Winnipeg Skeptics (Don’t take offence Gem, I am just painting a picture). The interruption achieved it’s intended target, stopping the argument proposed against evolution by Mr. Freaks, in which he began evoking confrontational nature of Richard Dawkins as a defensive mechanism.
“Dawkins is an ass,” is an interesting statement and it struck a cord with me. As with all skeptical thinkers, I demand proof for definitive statements such as that. Before posting a comment on the WPMG message board I did a little research to see if this is a common feeling among evolutionists and secularist enthusiasts. I found numerous comments around the internet which stated much the same thing. Hence, I posted the comment on the message board to find out why the particular group I belong to felt this way. Although it isn’t a unanimous feeling, generally, the methods used by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to refute religion are more in your face than even secular individuals are comfortable with.
I would like to convince my reader that they should come out of their comfort zone. Starting with Christopher Hitchens, who seems to have a huge impact on religion, I will then move onto Richard Dawkins in this multipart Subspecies blog segment.
I would like to start with the signature “Hitch-slap” that allows Christopher Hitchens, during a debate, to change the minds of those who are undecided and even to convert some of those who entered the room pious and left the room humbled. His bold statements against the dictatorship that is organized religion have, time and again, shocked his viewers into disgust or applause. More often than not, it seems, applause erupts in the audience. Disgust is reserved for those in denial.
In recent times, Christopher Hitchens has softened his approach by cooling down his shock tactics, instead installing small similarities into his statements that regular people can understand and associate with. An example of which are his quiet statements made when probed at a panel while debating his brother:
Hitchens Vs. Hitchens
Another example of his relaxed tone appeared in a recent article for Slate:
Hitchens @ Slate
-on how to make a decent cup of tea. I enjoyed the quips against religion but I also enjoyed the cup of tea I made after reading this article. Seriously, this is how my Nana used to make tea and I have not had a good cup of tea since she died. I could never recreate her old English style of brewing tea simply because I did not pay attention during the process.
Christopher has repeatedly and loudly brought the atrocities committed by all religions (Yes even Buddhists) to the surface for all to examine rather than letting the dictators of theology sweep crimes under a rug. One needn’t go further than last week to find criminal acts committed by proprietors of organized religion. I will list a few stories:
These acts of criminality are glazed over by secular law, preachers of religion, and the average person. How many of us thumb over these stories from around the world and at our back door for the sports page or comics? How many people actually read these stories and not feel immediately sick for humanity? I will answer the second question first (an interesting method of answering questions used by Hitchens): Number of people is so close to zero, it’s negligible. But, this is not humanities fault. Globalization is a rather new concept and we as a civilization are still getting acquainted with the appearance of cultural differences in our living rooms. The human animal is strongly opposed and afraid of change.
The answer to the first question (drum roll): far too many people. If it is not happening in the back yard of the observer the problem is brushed off as irrelevant. It could be a factor of desensitization or ignorance. It could be a myriad of other reasons to which I am not qualified to speak on, nor do I have the data to back my point of views up. What I do observe, on countless occasions, is the power of the spoken word to break the walls in the mind of humanity. It takes a cunning debater like Christopher Hitchens to remind me that the driving force behind nearly everything that is bad in this world is religion. Second only to religion is money and/or greed. Money and/or greed are is second only to religion, you ask? It is this way because religion tends to have and covet these two concepts on top of practice of faith, while discouraging the flock to avoid these feelings and actions on pain of everlasting damnation, torture and pain. Religious proprietors, like the personification of all they deem evil, are greedy for souls to fill their bastions and coffers. While some use the space and money for noble causes, the tariffs paid to greater powers tend to be used to cause the very thing religion is said to protect against.
What Mr. Hitchens does in his debates is unearths the hidden truths that embarrass and outrage the faithful and shoved them in their face in a similar manner to a mother washing her child’s mouth out with soap after a profanity is uttered. The taste does not sit well with people who know there is something wrong but decide not to confront it. Those who are oblivious tend to be surprised, and perhaps, disgusted by the revelation that Christopher Hitchens provides for them. Those people who share his observations tend to be less interested in what he is saying and more interested in how he is saying it.
Frankly, I don’t think we (atheists, secularists, humanists, etc.) should be bringing this man down in the eyes of those who oppose his statements against religion. Christopher has nothing to do with the wicked acts committed by religious organizations. We are – forgive the cliche – shooting one of our best messengers.
I will miss Christopher if cancer takes him before his time. I hope he lives long enough to awaken the world to the unbelievable evil that is religion. I know, this may be impossible in the time he has left (whether it is one yeah or 20 more years).
On a side note, the issues in Egypt have me engaged. I feel fortunate to be around and alive when a group of people rise up, in protest, to change the way their country is governed.
Edit: I am working on embedding these videos into my blog post but it seems the feature is not working or I am doing it incorrectly. Not to mention the frustration of typing in this format where the document keeps returning to the top and I continuously have to scroll down to where I left off.