To the Hitch

In honor of the good man Christopher Hitchens, a friend and I spent more money than we anticipated ($9 each) on shots of Johnnie Walker Black. Neither of us is big into hard alcohol by any means, but a YouTube video revealed that this particular brand and type was Hitchens’ favorite. We just had to have a toast.

Of course, we couldn’t have a toast without a proper discussion of the man. We mostly meandered about his intellectual prowess and stunning vocabulary, stepping into his views on women and freedom and religion, but for due respect we brought with us each a quote. First, by my good friend:

That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

A spin on Sagan, which was a spin on Laplace, which may have been a spin on Hume, for sure, but nonetheless potent. And mine:

It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one’s everyday life as if this were so.

This seems to be a rather pragmatic defeat of all theist attacks on atheism, but I’m still chewing on it.

More lies and plagiarism? You don’t say.

I stopped reading Jack Hudson’s shitty blog some time ago for the most part. He’s just a bag of dishonest rubbish that churns out annoying pieces of repetitive rhetoric over and over. Really, it’s just the same thing every time: “Christians are great, atheists suck, lol. Christians invented everything good and science is premised on the Bible. lol. Also, I start every single one of my responses with ‘Well’ because I think that’s good writing. lol.”

Yet despite my aversion to bad logic (and probably more so, his horrible writing), I hopped over to his site to see what filth he had to say about Christopher Hitchens. It was about what I expected – Christianity leads to great things, atheism doesn’t, lol, well, lol, etc. Here I tear apart (for the nth time) the shitball logic of Fatty Hudson:

Upon learning that he was sick and in all likelihood dying, many skeptics expected the caustic atheist would be reviled by Christians, when in fact the opposite happened.

I have to give chubs credit here. He actually managed to hold off on the lying until his second paragraph. Rather unusual, indeed. But a lie is a lie; nobody expected Christians would shit all over Hitchens in death. We expected they would concoct phony stories of a deathbed conversion like they always do. Fortunately, Hitchens put forth a great effort to ensure that there could be no reasonable doubt that he remained an atheist and anti-theist until the very end. When Richard Dawkins’ time comes, he will do just the same for the exact same reason.

In part this might be explained by the fact that Christians are commanded to ‘love their enemies’…

Nope. False. Hitchens was a respectable man who had something special about him. His intelligence was never approached in debate (especially by Christians and Muslims), and he was the exact opposite of an intellectual coward – something I can’t say for Chunky Hudson.

Besides, let’s just apply a bit of logic here: Atheists routinely show respect when Christians of note die, provided those Christians did something worthwhile while living. And we do it for good reasons, not because we were commanded by a Sky Daddy to do it. (Indeed, how genuine can a show of respect be if it is forced from up high?)

He wasn’t petty like Dawkins, or prissy like Sam Harris…

This line, along with a second post to which I will get, is what motivated me to write. What happened to that command to ‘love thy enemy’, Jack? I guess I’m not surprised a Christian would apply parts of the Bible selectively, but I thought the normal course of action was to pick and choose several different pieces to apply selectively – not pick one piece and apply it in exactly opposing ways. (See this post on Jack Kevorkian for an example of Hudson ‘loving his enemy’.)

The affection many believers had for Hitchens undermines the New Atheist caricature of Christians.

Don’t worry, the disdain you’ve shown for two atheist friends of Hitchens has already reinforced the view.

In the modern atheist mythos, Christians are invariably dumb, deluded and dangerous.

I think I know who’s creating the caricature here.

And yet Hitchens, who himself often spoke this way about believers was often warmly received on by them.

Huh. Jack is able to write (poorly) so he must be able to read. Strange then that he apparently has never read what believers had to say of Hitchens.

Unlike atheists, Christians merely see their opponents as wrong, not fundamentally stupid or insane.

If I say I see that as a wrong, stupid, and insane generalization, does that mean all atheists see it that way?

We understand that despite his best efforts, Hitchens was no more a sinner than anyone else and no less deserving of the grace than any believer.

What condescending assholery.

If Hitchens was right about the universe, then he has passed into nothingness and will be soon forgotten – atheists have little love for history except where it serves their purposes…

Says the guy who thinks Christianity has always been the driving force behind science.

If a face and voice isn’t ever-present on the screen it soon fades from public memory. So the increasingly secular world quickly forgets its ownchampions (sic); everyone is equally unimportant and inevitably lost in a dying universe.

I like the quick change between “atheists” and “the secular world”. Clever. But no matter, it’s all premised on the continued lies of Chunk-face Hudson. Some of the greatest figures remembered now are the ones which, atheists or not, contributed to the views of many of today’s atheists: scientists. (Fatty Jack, having zero interest or educational background in science beyond a Bio 101 course 30 years ago, is unlikely to be aware of most of this.)

The ultimate irony of his life is that believers, who saw in him the Godly virtues of courage and honesty and perseverance, may have valued his life more than he did himself.

I don’t see how people who place value on magical, evidence-free thinking – thinking which culminates in the belief that there is a realm that somehow matters more than now, more than today – can even begin to understand how to value life. Their entire belief structure is premised on the devaluing of actual life in favor of pretend future life. Just take Jack. My jabs about his struggle with all the excessive weight he carries do point to something more than just my own desire to insult an obvious feature of an obvious idiot: If he really valued life, he would do something to live it. As it stands, he is more willing to stuff his face than exercise; he is willing to risk sacrificing years of life for petty pleasures. The likely result? He will die, joining Hitchens in nothingness, never having seen his children reach important milestones like graduations, marriages, or having their own children. And even if he is fortunate enough to see these important marks, he will still miss years and years of time with family and friends, not to mention the simple joys of life otherwise had. This certainly is not a problem exclusive to the religious, but it is extremely convivial to religious valuing of a pretend afterlife over real life.

This post has become longer than I intended, so I will make this last bit quick. Jack has a history of stealing material from me. He has stolen it from both here as well as the FTSOS Facebook page. Here he does it again:

Though [New Atheists] purport to derive their atheism as a result of scientific knowledge which they consider to be the ‘best way of knowing’, in practice…

The fact that their main use of what they consider the “best way of knowing” is to…

Emphasis mine.

Take a look at my About tab. “Best way of knowing” is a phrase I have used time and time again. I have used it in posts, on Facebook (where available to Jack), and even on Jack’s own blog. He has been called out on his plagiarism in the past, including his theft of this exact phrase. I would link to where that has happened, but it was on his blog and he, of course, deleted the post. In fact, the post demonstrated more than a stray phrase. At the time, I matched no fewer than 5 posts I made here with posts he made the following day or so. He used my phrasing, my ideas, and/or my arguments as premises each time. And I had only looked back at six weeks worth of material. He is a wildly dishonest thief and I would expect an apology from a better man.

Christopher Hitchens has died

A sad day indeed:

Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

No report yet of any deathbed conversions. I don’t expect any, either.

Hitchens on losing his voice

Not his metaphorical voice, of course. ‘Just’ the other one:

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

—T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

Like so many of life’s varieties of experience, the novelty of a diagnosis of malignant cancer has a tendency to wear off. The thing begins to pall, even to become banal. One can become quite used to the specter of the eternal Footman, like some lethal old bore lurking in the hallway at the end of the evening, hoping for the chance to have a word. And I don’t so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it’s time to be on my way. No, it’s the snickering that gets me down.

I don’t think there has been a better writer for or against Christianity in some time.

Thought of the day

Any serious reader ought to be pleased with Christopher Hitchens. His logic, his intelligence, his persuasion – it’s all superior to the average person, and certainly to the vast majority of believers – but those things are not my point. My point is that his literary style is almost overwhelming excellent. He knows how to write well and he isn’t afraid to show us.

Wish Christopher Hitchens well

I told him that I admire him. And I do.

Now it’s your turn to wish Christopher Hitchens well.

Two worthwhile videos

The first is hilarious.

I love Ricky Gervais.

The second is surprising for the level of caricature to which the theists rises. “You believe in reason and things that work! You have faith, you have faith, you have faith!” Good job. You totally got us, what with your use of reason against reason. Good job.

Hitchens-Blair debate

There is a YouTube channel devoted specifically to the recent debate between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair. I’ve yet to watch it, but I find both men to be quite intelligent. (Update: I have watched it.) Hitchens’ intelligence is crashingly obvious; I’ve never seen him lose a debate point. And I absolutely love how he will routinely bend over backwards to grant as much as possible to his opponent just so he can point out that he still has the point won. Anyone who saw that awful creationist movie with Ben Stein should be familiar with this tactic: In the Richard Dawkins interview, Dawkins granted that it’s possible that we could have been designed by aliens, but even if that were so, we would still need to appeal to evolution in order to explain their existence. Stein, unsurprisingly, takes the dishonest route of claiming that Richard Dawkins is only against intelligent design when it involves a god. This was rather expected since the creators of the movie lied to every biologist involved, not to mention the fundamental dishonesty behind creationism intelligent design. But I digress. Blair’s intelligence is clear enough, but I think perhaps some of my perception of it comes from the contrast of it with Dubya’s lack of smarts.

Anyway. Watch the debate. (Skip the first video if you just want to get to the meat of the debate.)

Re: Dembski-Hitchens debate

I’m currently watching the Dembski-Hitchens debate now that it’s back up. I’m embarrassed. And in two ways. First, you know that feeling you get when you watch someone doing something incredibly awkward and you actually feel embarrassed for that person? That’s how I feel about Dembski right now. He keeps repeating the same creationist canards. They have all been addressed. He needs to find something new (and maybe something factually true? I’m not sure if that touches on any of his personal interests, though). And second, I’m embarrassed that I had some initial surprise when he started going over all this garbage. I should have known better.

Update: Holy crap. I can’t believe he just implied that for something to be vestigial that it must be useless.

Update: Most of Dembski’s end is just a series of personal attacks on Hitchens.

Dembski-Hitchens debate

I have yet to watch this, but I thought I’d throw out a link to the Dembski-Hitchens debate anyway.

via Why Evolution Is True