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The Rest => General Discussions => Topic started by: Hathen on December 16, 2011, 04:30:04 AM

Title: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hathen on December 16, 2011, 04:30:04 AM
Pretty much anybody with some interest in religious philosophy would have known this guy.

Didn't always agree with him, but I always found him to be a well-spoken and intelligent guy. I also liked him a lot more than Dawkins since I felt the latter has a real holier-than-thou attitude a lot of the time.

Shitsux.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Sagacious-T on December 16, 2011, 05:56:13 AM
Didn't he support the Iraq war?
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hathen on December 16, 2011, 06:15:00 AM
Yeah, he did. Like I said, don't agree with everything he says. =P

That one is pretty funny consdering how pissed he was off about the Vietnam War.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Ramza on December 16, 2011, 06:19:31 AM
I learned a lot from the guy. He was a very interesting public figure. He will be missed.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Lard on December 16, 2011, 06:58:24 AM
It's too bad. :/
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: GrimReality on December 16, 2011, 10:06:12 AM
Yeah, I'm pretty bummed about this. He was such a well-spoken voice of reason. He will be sorely missed.
I have zero interest in any religious discussion right now, but I'll add a few great quotes from him here.

"Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”

“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”

It is truly a sad day.
: - (


Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Alhizzy on December 16, 2011, 06:20:15 PM
Damn... that really sucks.  I really liked his differing points of view and courage to stand up to anybody, no matter how controversial the situation was.  I especially liked it when he was on Hannity & Colmes back in 2007 after Jerry Falwell died, dang was that awesome!

We already lost George Carlin who was a great mind, and now we've lost Hitchens...I shudder to think who's next...
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hidoshi on December 17, 2011, 02:22:41 AM
I prefer Dawkins much of the time. I found Hitchins to be an arrogant waste of a mind, most of what I read or heard from him. That may be an unpopular position, but I stand by it. Far, far more intelligent and even-minded men have contributed more deeply and effectively to the body of human philosophy, and in much the same field he did.

My problem with Hitchins is not that he's an atheist, nor an anti-theological zealot, but that he was altogether a hypocrite and a religious bible-beater of a particular brand. I have no patience, nor liking for those kinds of people. At least his bond companion could admit not only when he was wrong, but that he could be wrong. For me, Hitchins was little more than the model person he most hatred: Seductive, irrational, and selfish.

No voice of reason there, merely a voice of hatred and malice. Whatever good he may have said or written was far outweighed by his own ineptitude. Rest in peace, Chris, and if there is life again, I hope you come back with a bit of humanity in you.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: MeshGearFox on December 17, 2011, 11:42:37 AM
I remember seeing him on NBC a few times and thinking he was kind of a d-bag. Any death is sad and tragic (unless we're talking people like Stalin), but still. Thought he was kind of a d-bag.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Ashton on December 17, 2011, 11:52:23 AM
Damn shame. He'll be sorely missed.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: SonicDeathMonkey on December 17, 2011, 09:05:51 PM
I didn't really know much about this guy until he died, but I watched a bunch of youtube clips last night and came to the conclusion that this guy was totally rad.
I was so atheist last night, not even funny.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: MeshGearFox on December 18, 2011, 06:23:04 PM
I was so atheist last night, not even funny.

I was an atheist before it was even cool also I totally was not believing in god with your mom last night. In bed.

The bed also didn't believe in god. It did at first but then I engaged it in rigorous debate and convinced it through reasoning and even-tempered rationalism that higher cosmologies were simply impossible.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: SonicDeathMonkey on December 18, 2011, 11:12:38 PM
there are no atheists in bed with meshgear
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hathen on December 20, 2011, 07:27:54 AM
Quote
My problem with Hitchins is not that he's an atheist, nor an anti-theological zealot, but that he was altogether a hypocrite and a religious bible-beater of a particular brand. I have no patience, nor liking for those kinds of people.

I would say that Dawkins really isn't any different in that regard, though Dawkins is certainly a lot more..."polite", I suppose, is the best word. One thing I just don't like too much about Dawkins though, is that whenever he steps outside his area of study, he seems a bit naive.

Like, you had stuff like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ccbVCxWNn8) where Dawkins goes ahead and follows Hitchen's lead on something, but it doesn't seem like he has any basic understanding of what exactly is happening on the legal side of things. It's clear that Dawkins is only in it to demerit priests specifically, but he doesn't bother at least researching a LITTLE bit into the legal side of things, whereas Hitchens, at least, seemed to know the real point of contention was the fact that the Pope was claiming power as a head of state. Some respond to that by saying that Dawkins knows he's not an expert on the subject and thus tries not to answer, but I find it silly that he can't answer a very basic question about it if he's been talking to lawyers about it for as long as he's claimed.

Hitchens was definately a huge dick a lot of the time though, I will never deny that.

Quote
For me, Hitchins was little more than the model person he most hatred: Seductive, irrational, and selfish.

I tend to feel that just about any high-profile person involved in these discussions have those qualities. =P
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hidoshi on December 20, 2011, 09:23:36 AM
Then you haven't run into Bishop Desmond Tutu or the Dalai Lama. :P
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: dyeager on December 20, 2011, 09:48:27 AM
I prefer Dawkins much of the time. I found Hitchins to be an arrogant waste of a mind, most of what I read or heard from him. That may be an unpopular position, but I stand by it. Far, far more intelligent and even-minded men have contributed more deeply and effectively to the body of human philosophy, and in much the same field he did.

My problem with Hitchins is not that he's an atheist, nor an anti-theological zealot, but that he was altogether a hypocrite and a religious bible-beater of a particular brand. I have no patience, nor liking for those kinds of people. At least his bond companion could admit not only when he was wrong, but that he could be wrong. For me, Hitchins was little more than the model person he most hatred: Seductive, irrational, and selfish.

No voice of reason there, merely a voice of hatred and malice. Whatever good he may have said or written was far outweighed by his own ineptitude. Rest in peace, Chris, and if there is life again, I hope you come back with a bit of humanity in you.

Wow.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hidoshi on December 20, 2011, 10:05:11 AM
Why do I not think that's a good "Wow"? :P
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: dyeager on December 20, 2011, 10:11:41 AM
I'm still trying to process it. I can't figure out if choosing to make this post was somehow intentional verbal irony, plain old point scoring, or a genuine attempt to instigate some discussion about the possible flaws of Hitchens' worldview/debate style.

I just know I wouldn't want you speaking at the funeral of anybody I know. :-)
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hidoshi on December 20, 2011, 10:22:46 AM
I certainly hope I don't come off as much of a seductive bible-beater, if that's what you mean by irony. :P At the very least, I've tried to be seductive and failed most of the time. Heaven knows how I'm getting married.

I'm pretty much prone to stating my opinion about people like Hitchens. I dislike celebrity worship in general, especially if the personality in question is beloved for what I feel are the wrong reasons. I can hardly wrap my head around people adoring a man who goes out of his way to demonize compassion and frame good-will ambassadors the way he does. To be clear, I am in favour of social critique and personal responsibility. I believe rational, reasonable thinking should pervade. But I see no need to be so negative and chafing about it. In the end, that kind of attitude is no different from the one encountered in religious zealotry. Fanaticism, however "reasonable" sounding, should always be discounted and treated with suspicion. I don't see Hitchens as being particularly bright, only well-spoken and assertive.

As to the last bit there... I'll treat a person with respect if I feel they deserve it, or if I have a reason to. I wouldn't bash Hitchens in front of his family or close friends, but heaven knows there aren't any around these parts (I hope). I just don't have any public respect for him. Being dead doesn't change that.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: dyeager on December 20, 2011, 10:38:49 AM
I was referring to the potential irony in calling a guy who just died "an arrogant waste of a mind" and a "voice of hatred and malice" whose any possible good he did in life was "far outweighed by his own ineptitude". The tone being applied is precisely what you are decrying.

I also just question bringing it up in this particular thread. The person who posted clearly stated they were "bummed" about Hitchens' death. I personally would not choose this thread to bring up my personal opinions about why I thought the guy was an asshole in a thread clearly intended to serve as a place to celebrate whatever perceived good he was able to accomplish. You absolutely have the right to do so, I just question the taste involved.

Basically the "Wow" came solely from my surprise at the post's tone and content and had absolutely zero to do with Hitchens at all.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hidoshi on December 20, 2011, 10:57:55 AM
Ah, my bad. I do suppose that came off with a bit more vitriol than was necessary -- and certainly embarrassing on my end, considering. I do stand by what I said, even if I exhibit the same flaws -- I certainly don't like them in myself. It's a bad, old habit of mine, being a grump and frequently finding myself the devil's advocate. I usually try not to be too aggressive, but I can see here that I've been quite insensitive. My apologies to anyone who did find it a bit of a shove in the ribs.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: dyeager on December 20, 2011, 11:03:04 AM
Ah, my bad. I do suppose that came off with a bit more vitriol than was necessary -- and certainly embarrassing on my end, considering. I do stand by what I said, even if I exhibit the same flaws -- I certainly don't like them in myself. It's a bad, old habit of mine, being a grump and frequently finding myself the devil's advocate. I usually try not to be too aggressive, but I can see here that I've been quite insensitive. My apologies to anyone who did find it a bit of a shove in the ribs.

Bah, no worries. Hitchens always was a fellow who could get the blood boiling. In fact, if I step back, maybe this is one of the truest reflections of his legacy. :-)
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: SonicDeathMonkey on December 20, 2011, 12:06:52 PM
In a way, I think it was good for someone to be a dick about it all the time in the public realm like him.
The existence of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson more than calls for the existence of people like Christopher Hitchens. Kinda balances things.
It is, after all, quite frustrating for an intellectual when so much of the world steadfastly believes in, and public policy is too often guided by, what we know to be bollocks.
And if you're offended? Well, sounds like you are a soft person who didn't have much faith to begin with.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: Hidoshi on December 20, 2011, 12:13:07 PM
I dunno, I stand on the side where being as dickish and outrageous as the people you detest is two wrongs making a bigger wrong.
Title: Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Post by: dyeager on December 20, 2011, 01:13:59 PM
This is a separate argument and I didn't want to threadjack (but I'm probably doing it anyway) - but I do think there is at least some merit worth investigating to the POV that peaceful resistance by itself can't always work. You mentioned Desmond Tutu for example - a good example of a peaceful protestor but he becomes even more appealing in the face of the violence that he was contrasting at the same time as his own rise to authority/prominence (the Soweto riots for example). Was it just Tutu's peaceful protests that helped end apartheid, or did the violence play a role? Was it only Martin Luther King that provided a catalyst for change, or was it his own peaceful philosophy combined with more forceful leaders like the early Malcolm X?

I don't actually know the answer. I'm not sure anybody does. But I at least suspect that these things are complicated enough that all kinds can play a role in change to the same end. You may not like Hitchens' style and hey, honestly I didn't really either, but I do think it is a mistake to throw everything a man has to say out with the man himself. That's not rational thinking, and in the end what Hitchens demanded from himself and others was rational thinking. I think you could argue that he often failed to deliver that due to his abrasive style, and he was sometimes too willing to let his message get lost in the shouting. But I also think it is a mistake to qualify it as a categorical "wrong".