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The Blair Hitch Project

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Nick
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The Blair Hitch Project

#1 Post by Nick » October 16th, 2010, 5:56 pm

Tony Blair is debating Christopher Hitchens in Toronto on Friday November 26th. The motion is:

"Religion is a force for good in the world"

All tickets are sold out, but PPV is available. Though it will be the middle of the night over here in the UK. :sad: Let's hope it will be on You Tube in due course.

I wonder if Blair has read Dawkins' comment about his fellow Horseman, cited on the cover of the paperback edition of God is Not Great? "If you are a religious apoligist invited to debate with Christopher Hitchens, decline."

I hope Hitch's health stands up to it.

Full details here.

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Alan C.
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#2 Post by Alan C. » October 16th, 2010, 9:14 pm

Chris Hitch will slay him and I've no doubt it will be posted on http://richarddawkins.net/ the day after the event.

It shows Blair' total ignorance that he would even take on somebody like Hitchens,
The man' arrogance knows no bounds.

I look forward to Blair being totally humiliated, which he surely will be.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#3 Post by Alan H » October 16th, 2010, 11:51 pm

What Alan C. said. David v Goliath.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Marian
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#4 Post by Marian » October 17th, 2010, 3:13 am

I went on the website for Royal Thomson Hall where you get tickets for this event within 1 hour of the box office opening on-line and they were completely sold out!! I was not happy as I really wanted to see these two. My only other option is to head down there on the night and buy a ticket through the scalpers. They're not called scalpers for nothing though. I might do the livestream.
Transformative fire...

tea_ismynewjesus
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#5 Post by tea_ismynewjesus » November 6th, 2010, 3:15 pm

Thanks for posting this Nick. I'd say I'm looking forward to it, but can't we expect the same old questions being put to Hitch?

Nick
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#6 Post by Nick » November 27th, 2010, 9:08 am

The debate was reported on Radio 4's Today Programme this morning, and a report will appear on the BBC's web-site later. The clips they played showed the logic of Hitchens, but the ability of Blair to cope with a hostile crowd. At least, in contrast to Bush, he said he did not ask God whether he should attack Saddam.

The good news is that the motion was defeated by 2 to 1. :thumbsup:

Question for Marian: How religious is Canada? How startling, or otherwise, do you think this result might be? I suspect that the audience was biased towards The Hitch because they'd be more anxious to attend. But it's still an excellent result. What a pity it wasn't reflected in Parliament when he was PM and promoting faith schools....

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Dave B
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#7 Post by Dave B » November 27th, 2010, 11:38 am

Nick wrote: What a pity it wasn't reflected in Parliament when he was PM and promoting faith schools....
For a second I thought this referred to The Hitch!

From the audience reactions I think you are right to say that the audience was more Hitch's fans than Blair's. If it had been a high ranking church type rather than Blair perhaps the audience might have been more balanced.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Marian
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#8 Post by Marian » November 27th, 2010, 12:01 pm

Nick wrote:The debate was reported on Radio 4's Today Programme this morning, and a report will appear on the BBC's web-site later. The clips they played showed the logic of Hitchens, but the ability of Blair to cope with a hostile crowd. At least, in contrast to Bush, he said he did not ask God whether he should attack Saddam.

The good news is that the motion was defeated by 2 to 1. :thumbsup:

Question for Marian: How religious is Canada? How startling, or otherwise, do you think this result might be? I suspect that the audience was biased towards The Hitch because they'd be more anxious to attend. But it's still an excellent result. What a pity it wasn't reflected in Parliament when he was PM and promoting faith schools....
I have to say that Canada is fairly religious but no-where near what the US is. Here people tend to practice quietly and let others do the same wherever they are. We are a pretty-laid back group over-all. Occasionally, you'll hear of an attack, mostly anti-Semitic. Toronto, OTOH, tends to be more atheist leaning regardless of the number of churches you'll find here. A minister once told me that the numbers of people attending church is dwindling in the city.

I haven't seen Blair before but I found that he wasn't as engaging as Hitchens. Even with his late stage cancer, he was a force to be reckoned with. Very funny/witty. Captured the audience's attention. Blair just reminded me of...well...a politician. He appeared to be saying something when in fact he was just diverting attention away from the fact that he didn't have answer. Now to be fair, Blair is involved in the Middle East peace process so maybe he had to tone it down a bit.

Still, I didn't find Blair's arguments to be convincing but rather reactionary or defensive. Like when he responded to Hitchen's comment that religion has much blood on its hands. Blair's response was to say, well, bad stuff happens outside of religion too. Lame, imo.
Transformative fire...

Nick
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#9 Post by Nick » November 27th, 2010, 12:59 pm

Thanks Marian :D Nice to know that religion is in decline in Canada too. It occurs to me: what is the dominant Protestant religion in Canada? Being a dominion, is there some sort of Anglican Church of Canada? Sorry for my ignorance.




BTW, There is a transmission of an interview with Hitch by Jeremy Paxman on Monday, on BBC2 at 19.30

Marian
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#10 Post by Marian » November 27th, 2010, 2:20 pm

The United Church is the largest Protestant population followed pretty closely by Anglican. Then Baptist. Lutheran after that. Biggest denomination is Catholic at 12 million or so but Canada is more secular than anything with religion being on the periphery. I like it that way.

Thanks for the heads up about the interview. I am really going to miss Hitchens if he succumbs to this cancer. :( Hopefully, he will keep on fighting.!
Transformative fire...

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Lifelinking
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#11 Post by Lifelinking » November 27th, 2010, 3:28 pm

An alternative viewpoint on the whole thing, some bits of which I found quite annoying, and some that I wholeheartedly agreed with:

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the Independent on 22 November: Blair-Hitchens head-to-head is just another reality show
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
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Alan C.
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#12 Post by Alan C. » November 27th, 2010, 4:58 pm

I only read the fist page of comments, boy does she get taken apart.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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animist
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#13 Post by animist » November 27th, 2010, 5:01 pm

Marian wrote:Thanks for the heads up about the interview. I am really going to miss Hitchens if he succumbs to this cancer. :( Hopefully, he will keep on fighting.!
re Hitch, I could not help but notice, in the Dembski debate video, that he kept going to sweep back his formerly luxuriant hair, which was no longer there :sad2:

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animist
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#14 Post by animist » November 27th, 2010, 5:11 pm

Lifelinking wrote:An alternative viewpoint on the whole thing, some bits of which I found quite annoying, and some that I wholeheartedly agreed with:

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the Independent on 22 November: Blair-Hitchens head-to-head is just another reality show
Y A-B is after all a hack who has to fill column space; I read her regularly as part of my work. She is probably somewhat biased against Hitch over Iraq, and here I agree with her. Hitch also, IMO, stresses too much the uniquely harmful effects of religion, which has allowed A-B to get into the crimes of secular regimes. It is the arrogance of ignorance among those who rule which is harmful, whether they are avowed marxists, Xians or whatever, and humanism should point out the limitations of human reason as well as its value vis-a-vis blind faith.

Nick
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#15 Post by Nick » November 27th, 2010, 10:22 pm

Blair Hitch: now on You Tube.

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getreal
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#16 Post by getreal » November 27th, 2010, 10:37 pm

Any chance of a link, Nick? I don't seem to be able to locate it :D
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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bindeweede
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#17 Post by bindeweede » November 27th, 2010, 10:49 pm

I've just managed to find part one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpMPFu3mMPA

Part 2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoKlXqDIR_A

And in case they disappear, the transcript is here.

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-s ... tony-blair

Nick
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#18 Post by Nick » November 28th, 2010, 1:12 am

Thanks Bindeweede :D I'm watching it right now. Hitch is on sparkling form.

I just had to stop to highlight a phrase of Tony Blair's on No. 4, @ 6.30 to 6.52 minutes, where he says that, in Africa, "religious people are not doing what they are doing [charitable work, etc.] because of belief in heaven and hell, they are doing it for love of their fellow human beings." Bingo!! Now can we stop all this faith crap? It may be a catalyst, but if it were not there, would there be no other?

Back to You Tube.....

Nick
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#19 Post by Nick » November 28th, 2010, 1:48 am

Another gem from Blair: No 5 @ 12.46 to 12.55

"What most people want to see is a situation where peopel of faith are able to speak in the public sphere, but are not able to dictate.." :laughter:

Or to put it another way, so as long as we can make sure those religious wingnuts don't get their way, we should be OK....


He then goes on to talk about democracy. But don't you see, Tony, that those people of faith would impose their own morality on democracy if they could? As Hitchens has said in other places, it is not sufficient that we believe it,we won't be satisfied till you believe it too!

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Dave B
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Re: The Blair Hitch Project

#20 Post by Dave B » November 28th, 2010, 12:49 pm

Re: "reality" and REALITY . . .

I do rather think that these set piece type confrontations, including the head-to-heads for the politicians, are often promoted for their entertainment value as much as to present ideas for the audience to compare and contrast - and come to their own decision.

Trouble is, as with political meetings etc., there is always an element of preaching to the converted. Nothing is really changed or advanced unless people become aware that there are rational alternatives, preferably through the strength of the argument rather than the witty repartee. (I am assuming they are going to realise that religion is just a lot of woo-woo of course!)

Those who are influenced by the humour might be more suited as an audience for some of the other available TV shows. Humour certainly has its place but as an occasional aside rather than a "tool" of discussion, an attempt to swing the audience.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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