Agatan Foundation’s Tribute to Hitch

Another moving tribute…

This from the Agatan Foundation.


‘The Hitch’- Christopher Hitchens documentary

A second post on Christopher Hitchens Day: this is a wonderful indie documentary by Kristoffer Hellesmark. It features footage from a variety of sources with commentary in Hitchens own words from talks, speeches and interviews.

Kristoffer has produced a really excellent film.

‘The Hitch’- Christopher Hitchens documentary

Christopher Hitchens: happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom

A previous Hitchens post on the anniversary of his birth.

The last words of Christopher Hitchens

I continue to read Hitchens for inspiration, and brush off those detractors who devalue his entire life simply because he was in favor of the Iraq war. The man spent his life battling totalitarianism and irrationality, and of course he was sometimes wrong. Who among us hasn’t been? But mark a few errors against the very full column of his brilliance, his fight for what he saw as true, his copious writings on so many topics, and the eloquence that inspired us all. It’s a bromide to say of someone who’s died that “they can’t be replaced,” but in the case of Hitchens it’s undeniably true.

via The last words of Christopher Hitchens « Why Evolution Is True.

A moving tribute from Professor Ceiling Cat.

Christopher Hitchens on Free Speech

Moving and thought-provoking, and worth revisiting in the light of recent events.


Bring me data

FIRE!!! Fire… fire… fire! Now you’ve heard it. Not shouted in a crowded theatre, admittedly, as I realise I seem now to have shouted it in the Hogwarts dining room. But the point is made. Everyone knows the fatuous verdict of the greatly over-praised Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who, asked for an actual example of when it would be proper to limit speech or define it as a [criminal] action, gave that of shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. It’s very often forgotten what he was doing in that case was sending to prison a group of Yiddish-speaking socialists, whose literature was printed in a language most Americans couldn’t read, opposing President Wilson’s participation in the First World War and the dragging of the United States into this sanguinary conflict, which the Yiddish-speaking socialists had fled from Russia to escape. In fact it could be just as plausibly argued that…

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Talking to Trolls and Idiots

I watched Best of Christopher Hitchens Arguments And Clever Comebacks Part Five on YouTube a few days ago. Hitchens was a fine speaker with a sharp mind and a ready wit that he would unleash to hitch-slap a debating oppponent or heckler. There are any number of videos on YouTube featuring Hitchens on atheism and the existence of God, why religion is bad, and so on. One thing that often strikes me is the ludicrous nature of the comments that viewers leave. Occasionally, there some semblance of a civilised argument, but by and large, the exchanges quickly degenerate into abuse and name-calling. Typically, the same thing happens for videos about evolution and creationism/intelligent design. The pattern is: Person A, a Christian/Young Earther/Creationist, will make some remark about the video. Person B will initially respond with some relevant scientific argument, which A will either completely ignore, deny or counter with some fake science. A will resist all attempts at rationality, and B (and others), at some point, exasperated will simply start name-calling. A (and others) will reciprocate in kind—indeed often they will have started the insults.

This video is no exception. The most recent comment, as I write this, is from some idiot, called Walter White, who wrote:

I wish he was still alive, so I could punch him in the face repeatedly until he begged God to stop me.

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Think for yourself

I want to live my life taking the risk, all the time, that I don’t know anything like enough yet. That I haven’t understood enough. That I can’t know enough. That I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’d urge you to look at […] those people who tell you, at your age, that you’re dead until you believe as they do. What a terrible thing to be telling to children. And that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don’t think of that as a gift, think of it as a poisoned chalice. Push it aside however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way.

— Christopher Hitchens, 2010

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I’ve just started reading Hitch 22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens. I was very taken by the sentiment in this paragraph.

If there is anybody known to you who might benefit from a letter or a visit, do not on any account postpone the writing or the making of it. The difference made will almost certainly be more than you have calculated.

Christopher Hitchens: Religion Poisons Everything

Here’s a very good video of the late Christopher Hitchens’ talk and subsequent on-stage interview at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, 2009. It’s called Religions Poisons Everything and deals with the same topic as Hitchens’ book God Is Not Great that had been published a year or so earlier. It is a long video, but worthwhile viewing.

There’s a lovely “encore” right at the end (101:02) when Christopher sings the Pythons’ Bruces’ Philosophers Song.

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