Enter your email address here to receive updates from the team.
A tribute to a brilliant essayist, orator and wit.
Tags: Christopher Hitchens
"There are a significant proportion of atheists in the population and I don’t see droves of us committing murder, rape, incest, slavery or genocide. Our stance is to prevent these very acts ever occurring but the religious fanatics make it a difficult job."
just to pick this bit out, because this is where we drift apart. when we honestly analyse human history we can make the following statement, but nothing more;
good humans can be made to do terrible things, despite being religious.
good humans can be made to do terrible things, despite not being religious.
i am of the opinion that religion is ultimately neutral, only because the available evidence leads to that conclusion.
"As Stalin once grimly phrased it, "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."
Err.. That was Lenin.
"My, my what a fantastic discussion.
Many of you have nailed your colours to the mast and I question my wisdom in even attempting to explain my point of view, but here goes:"
wow, that is the most pompous, passive-defensive start to a post for quite some time. well done you!
"Epigenetics undermines Darwin's Theory of Evolution."
sorry, but that is essentially bollocks. the unstable effects on DNA make it unlikely to be heritable, and become part of the population. and you still can't avoid Natural Selection. so though fascinating, which it is, it isn't a game changer.
" I imagine many of you expect 'On the Origin of Species' to remain sacrosanct for time immemorial?"
only someone who's never read it, or analysis of it, would say something that stupid. there are several errors, not Darwin's fault, he just didn't know as much as we know today (the entire field of genetics for a start!).
however the genius of his Theory remains intact. so what should be 'sacrosanct' is the life of a man dedicated to methodological naturalism, operating in a world where a supernatural ontology reigned supreme. the man had some set of balls on him.
i do think you should think a bit more before you claim you've sunk a Theory as strongly evidenced by so many different disciplines as MES. it just makes you look sloppy.
Hitchens has made his mark and a wealth of books, articles and even youtube vids which will give people of reason a solid anchor for their views for years to come. Incisive and funny he based his words on facts which is why the religious idiots commenting on here are sticking the knife in now. Facts and humour are the enemy of ALL RELIGIONS! A sad loss to the world of journalism and debate!
Bald denial and pejorative, ad hominem abuse is no substitute for polite interlocution and is the more obnoxious when made with the courage of anonymity.
Whether a child (or an adult) is killed violently (by bombs, bullets, bashing or gassing) or dies from imposed deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease the finality of death is the same and the culpability the same.
There have been 12 million war-related deaths in the US War on Muslims since 1990, the breakdown being 4.6 million (Iraq, 1990-2011), 5.0 million (Afghanistan, 2001-2011), 2.2 million (Somalia, 1992-2011) and 50,000 (Libya, 2011) (for details and documentation see: "Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/ ).
The above estimates are consonant with UN Population Division data-derived estimates of under-5 infant deaths totaling 2.0 million (Iraq, 1990-2011), 2.9 million (Afghanistan, 2001-2011), and 1.3 million (Somalia, 1992-2011), 90% avoidable and due to gross violation of the Geneva Convention by the US Alliance Occupiers (see: http://esa.un.org/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm ) . The 0.9 x 6.2 million = 5.6 million under-5 infants passively killed by the US Alliance in the Muslim World since 1990 demands comparison with the 5-6 million Jews and 1.5 million Jewish children killed by the Nazis.
For another way if seeing this US-UK-Zionist-imposed carnage, see also UNICEF (see: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ ) which reports that ANNUAL under-5 infant deaths total 41,000 (Iraq; probably twice that number in actuality; Iraqi Holocaust denier US Puppet Maliki has been outrageously fudging the data ), 237,000 (Afghanistan) and 69,000 (Somalia), noting that total avoidable deaths from deprivation in such ravaged, impoverished countries is 1.4 times the under-5 infant deaths.
Hitchens largely missed by my radar much to my detriment it would seem. Love his motives in tackling religion, but he, Dawkins and many NS readers it would seem should brush up on contemporary molecular biology before they dismiss God. Not the guy on the cloud with the white beard, the infinity into which we are expanding.
Love to Blue and the family XXX
Hitchens wrote a few decent pieces of journalism, was friends with Salman and Martin and the other mutual backscratchers, and, er that's it: doesn't make him Hazlitt or Dr Johnson: judging by some of the obits, one might have thought that a combination of Homer, Shakespeare and Tolstoy had just fallen off the perch. I am not speaking ill of the dead, just pointing out that his was a very minor talent, but he went to public school, and Oxbridge, so they gave him lots of outlets for his hackery which you or I don't have: same with Polly Toynbee, Amis, Rushdie, that silly child Laurie Penny etc etc. Half the people I know from the pub could do better than Hitchens.
A far greater man, and greater talent, Vaclev Havel, died today.
Incidentally is anyone taking up a whipround to fly to Oz and burn Polya out of his nice house SO THAT THEY CAN GIVE IT BACK TO THE ABOS.
Jerry Frey, kindly fuck off.
Polya: as someone above says, anyone who quotes David Irving as a reliable source sahould not really be in a teaching role. You clearly have ishoos, man.
" Half the people I know from the pub could do better than Hitchens."
and i can tell from your post that you are probably the smartest of the lot in that pub.
my question to you would have to be, since i am not very familiar with the work of Havel, what he wrote about Mother Teresa, Kissinger, Agent Orange, circumcision, North Korea, Blair, Bush, Jihadism, to name just a few topics? you make it sound like Hitchens and Havel occupied identical literary and political positions. or are you just making mischief?
I agreed with his writing & thoughts more often than not, but when I disagreed I did so passionately. But regardless of whether I agreed with him or not I very much admired the way in which he expressed himself - like a talented artist makes drawings, his words came effortlessly, convincingly, powerfully, and beautifully if occasionally with a touch of deserved arrogance.
The most enlightening and thought provoking writer of our age, he'll be greatly missed,R.I.P.
"and i can tell from your post that you are probably the smartest of the lot in that pub."
Too bloody right. Mind you that's rather like claiming to be the best ballet dancer in Hartlepool.
fair enough john.
glad that's sorted out then.
"Bald denial and pejorative, ad hominem abuse is no substitute for polite interlocution and is the more obnoxious when made with the courage of anonymity."
so you bravely keep saying. and i note that you have failed again to take specific posters to task. so you are complaining about obnoxious anonymous posters without mentioning names...
More ignorant, false, offensive, ad hominem abuse above - it is no substitute for polite, accurate interlocution.
I was simply making the point that the much maligned David Irving's estimate of the number of Jews killed by the Nazis (his estimates: over 2.5 million violently plus 3 million through imposed deprivation and disease) is similar to that of pro-Zionist Professor Sir Martin Gilbert (5-6 million killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation).
In contrast, Gilbert's estimate of the number of Indians deliberately killed by the British in the 1942-1945 Bengali Holocaust (1.5 million) falls far short of the 6-7 million actuality (see "Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History": http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2005/07/jane-austen-and-bla... ) and the Australian ABC's estimate of "tens of thousands" of Iraqis killed in the Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist (NAZI)-backed, Christopher Hitchens-ignored, Christopher Hitchens-denied, and Christopher Hitchens-backed Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide is about 100 times lower than the horrendous reality of 4.6 million war-related deaths, 1990-2011 (see "Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/iraqiholocaustiraqigenocide/ ).
The charges of holocaust denial and genocide denial fit extremely well with the Hitchens and Australian ABC denial of the 4.6 million victim Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide - egregious holocaust denial that is of course also exhibited by the racist, genocidal, anti-Arab anti-Semitic and Islamophobic Mainstream media of the Western Murdochracies and Lobbyocracies.
I have not read alot of Christerphor's
works and hope somewhere he wrote
" countries with religious indoctrination
of children are not free"
"There have been 12 million war-related deaths in the US War on Muslims since 1990"
12 million down, one billion to go.
Huge apologies for the terrible English in my last post. The irony is not lost on me.
As a recently reformed smoker and drinker and thinker....I'm definitely reconsidering.....Up the controversialists...!....(Although I do sniff a whiff of hypocrisy amongst the supporters who dislike the vitriol from believers expressed here...what's sauce for the goose etc...surely?
More false, pejorative, ad hominem abuse above plus obfuscatory falsehood that is the more obnoxious for being made with the courage of anonymity.
Gandhi was imprisoned by the British during WW2; the Japanese imperialists and the INA offered 100,000 tonnes of rice to starving Bengal and the Canadians offered 10,000 tonnes - both offers were rejected by Churchill. The racist Australians sat on a mountain of grain under instructions from Churchill while Bengal and the adjoining provinces of Assam, Bihar and Orissa starved (indeed the Australians had so much grain in WW2 they had to build huge improvised emergency grain stores across the country (see "Bengali Holocaust: how Australia helped Britain kill 6-7 million Indians in WW2", Bellaciao: http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article21228 ).
Back in 2006 Christopher Hitchens BA attacked The Lancet (one of the top medical journals) and top US medical epidemiologists from 36 Nobel Laureate Johns Hopkins University and 96 Nobel Laureate Columbia University who had published in The Lancet expertly obtained evidence that about 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the invasion, 90% violently. This is part of what non-medico, non-scientist, non-PhD, non-researcher Hitchens had to say in an article entitled "The Lancet's slant. Epidemiology meets moral idiocy" : "If the cause of all this death is "the war," does that mean that the coalition has killed nearly 700,000 Iraqis? Of course it means nothing of the sort" (see: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2006/10/t... ).
Writer Hitchens was not merely complicit in the Iraq War, the Iraqi Holocaust and the Iraqi Genocide (4.6 million war-related deaths, 1990-2011, 1.7 million violent; 2.7 million war-related deaths, 2003-2011, 1.5 million violent; see "Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/iraqiholocaustiraqigenocide/) he was also, as revealed by the above quote, a morally deficient, anti-science holocaust denier.
From his no doubt well-padded armchair Hitchens BA also savaged both Gandhi and Mother Theresa for their approaches to grinding Indian poverty. However Hitchens was NOT - unlike most British writers, politicians and academics - a holocaust denier in relation to the WW2 Bengali Holocaust (6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death by the British, 1942-1945; see the 2008 BBC broadcast involving myself, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and other scholars: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-h... ). Thus Hitchens on the 1942-1945 Bengal Famine: "The Bengal famine of 1943 was not the result of too many people or too little food. The granaries were full; there was rice enough for everybody. But bureaucratic maladministration, and an artificial rise in food prices, meant that many, many people starved to death within reach of plentiful nourishment. (Winston Churchill, then prime minister, snorted that the starvation in his favorite colony was the outcome of Indians breeding “like rabbits”: a harsh judgment on herbivores—even if Bengalis were eating grass at the time—which matched his view that Indians were “the beastliest people in the world, next to the Germans.”)" (see: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2000/07/hitchens-china-200007 ).
I read God is not great when I was 15, I am now 18. It was a brilliant read and led me to read other books by him and watch his debates avidly. He will be missed even by those that didn't know him, but he will not be forgotten. Atheism and reason have lost a great ally and a great leader, he shall never be replaced. I would say R.I.P but i doubt chris would approve :)
He helped me develop my mind and for that I shall be forever grateful and so will thousands of others.
A truly great loss to us Atheists and a great writer too. I wish I had a quarter of his ability.
I posted my tribute. Then I read the crap you all post 'in respect of' or 'detracting of' Mr Hitchens. I am sure he would have loved it but in truth, he is worms meat, like we all will be one day.
Long live his sense of freedom. Long live his standards.
As someone who experienced Christopher I am to tell the tale of the 'Old King Lud' incident.
In those days before the closure of Fleet Street, I used to meet some friends in the Old King Lud. On seeing a wasp close to my beer Chris, suddenly moved and killed it, but in doing so he spilt my pint. I still remember his indiference,to my request to replace it....
That said his Kleos will live long....
"12 million down, one billion to go."
wow. that's some shitty shallow-enders pub you hang out in John.
Hitch will be sorely missed.
It is a shame that some people out there distastefully choose now as a time to spew hateful comments about the great man. For an example see what Saifedean Ammous is babbling about on twiter
I too am a molecular biologist.
What do you know of epigenetics?
Great job George E. The NS owes him such a debt, as we all do.
Heck, Poyla, cant you post just once without self promoting your own rubbish polemics.
No recognised historian would use Irving as a source. Your Iraq figures do not seem to even remotely coincide with anybody else's, from the Lancet to the Iraq's Health ministry's own figures.
It is good that you show the almost certain cause of his cancer - smoking and cigarettes. It's a warning to all of us.
hmmm, Kieren the molecular biologist or hartymcfly the molecular biologist. who's better....?
oh dear, no doubt Gideon will read your post and decide again some-one is being rude, not trying to deal with his claims, and generally being in denial about truthiness.
and all because you used words like "heck" and "rubbish"......;o)
ok, joking aside, would love to hear Gideon actually confront your reservations, which appear to be based on facts.
LOL......there was a report last week of a wife who killed her husband during an argument over watching Harry Hill or the football!
Couldn't make it up....
George Eaton (@georgeeaton) is editor of The Staggers blog