February 8, 2008

The complete Hitchens-Boteach massacre

Last week I weighed in on a lopsided debate between Christopher Hitchens and TV rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the topic, "Does God Exist?". To my delight, the 92nd Street Y has now put the entire 90-minute debate online. It's Hitchens at his finest and an intellectual hoot from start to finish. C'mon, it's not like you're getting any work done anyway. At least watch Hitch's opening statement.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Christopher Hitchens is GOD! I burn incense at the feet of a small polychromed resin statuette of Hitch at my bedside, and leave little thimbles full of scotch as an offering each night, and in THE MORNING THEY ARE ALWAYS EMPTY! Get him his own 24/7 reality show! This man is DIVINE!

I guess this means all jews will have to give up and disband.

Because I'm curious enough to ask, but not curious enough to try to find the answer myself - anyone know who's right in the whole "high rabbinical court ruling" thing they were screeching at each other about?

Frank: Actually, Boteach wins that round. Hitch is generally on weaker ground with the "all religious people are evil" material, and here he apparently allowed himself to believe a dubious source.

Details here and here

This reminded me of U.S. Olympic basketball team playing Angola. (Hitch is the Michael Jordon of rational thought.)

And the Angolans are the black africans of rational thought.

"After a Frenchman has huffed and puffed and gone through all kinds of bodily contortions to deliver himself of long speeches, a Turk takes his pipe from his mouth for a moment, quietly says two words, and crushes him with a single pithy saying."

- Rousseau, "On the Origin of Language"

Regarding the "high rabbinical court ruling," I got the impression that they were shouting right past each other. Hitchens seemed to be referring to rulings confirming that observant Jews have the right to refuse to do certain things on the Sabbath, while Boteach was citing rulings that they are not forbidden to do those things on the Sabbath. If I was following the arguments correctly, they're not actually contradicting one another.

Watching this one can almost forgive Hitch his incessant propagandizing for George and Dick's Big Iraq adventure. Almost.

Biotech equals bad debater. He doesn't seem to know what a burden of proof is or, aw-shucksism aside, he's too arrogant to comprehend what the zero value position is in this argument (endemic problem really). Veddy JV. I like seeing people do what they do best and it's nice when Hitchens is on my side but this doesn't meet my Chicago Bears/Eddie Deezen requirement for when lopsidedness moves from sad to amusing. Who knew someone associated with the Oprah Winfrey radio network would be so grievously unskilled in basic forensics? I hope O puts him on notice.

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