20090127

D'Souza v. Hitchens

Last night I went to this debate. I tried to get tickets about a week and a half ago, but they were already sold out. BUT, a guy in the overflow room had a ticket that he wasn't using because none of his friends had tickets so he gave it to me!

The debate was everything I expected it to be. Hitchens was a big jerk and and D'Souza was much more respectful.

Dinesh D'Souza describes himself as Roman Catholic and Christopher Hitchens describes himself as Secular Humanist. It seems to me that D'Souza somehow had more bargaining power prior to the debate as the name of the debate was a play on the titles of his latest books. Also, D'Souza started the debate and had the final remarks as well. I took furious notes for the first half of the debate, but then realized that I wasn't really enjoying it or paying attention. The audience was surprisingly balanced (there might have even been more Christians then non-Christians--I'm guessing 60/40) At one point, early on in the debate, in the debate I clapped for a particularly good point that Hitchens made. I stopped right away because I realized that I was surrounded by Christians in the Mezzanine. It made for an interesting rest of the night because each time a good point arose I had to decide whether it was a good enough point to clap and endure the glares or if Hitchens was just being an ass again.

My favorite part of the debate was when Hitchens jokingly said that for the first 98,000 years of the existence of Homo sapiens, heaven watched with indifference and only decided to start caring 2,000 years ago. And when "the heavens" decided to start caring they only choose one species of thousands for salvation off of only one planet of billions. D'Souza's response was that for 98,000 years we wandered around making no progress until 2,000 years ago when God breathed life into humanity.

If you are interested in hearing another eval of the debate, you may check out Susie's blog, third paragraph.

And a few of my final thoughts/questions:

  • I wish that the moderator (or someone) would have pre-screened the questions. Have the audience write questions at the beginning of the debate and then have someone pick the most popular and most interesting questions for the Q/A part of the debate.
  • What is the difference between morality and ethics?
  • Did Socrates really exist? (Actually, prior to this debate, I had no idea that anyone questioned the existence of Socrates)
  • I want to read Stephen Hawking's, A Brief History of Time. Good thing I now own it--thanks to Matt.
  • I was surprised about the number of times slavery came up as an example for and against the existence of god.
  • I wish that I could take a comparative religions class at some point.


As soon as someone puts the video online, I'll post a link to it here.

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