Videos of Blair/Hitchens Religion debate (Ailing Atheist Vs Crucified Christian)

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    1st December 2010

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    Image by lars_o_matic via Flickr

    Yes I know I said I’d be writing more on my analysis of the speakers and their arguments, but you should see the videos first, or at least one of them, for the flavour. The debaters spoke for 90 minutes, and there are eight videos featuring their debate.

    Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair – Munk Debates 2 (14:11)

    This is presently viewable at

    From there click the nine videos listed, starting with number two, since the first one is only an introduction to the event. As a paid-up subscriber for the Blair/Hitchens Munk Debate, I can view them all from the Munk Debates website. But their presence free on YouTube will likely be limited and/or intermittent due to copyright violations.  So, apologies if they are no longer viewable if you click through. [Video number 1 is an introduction by the founder of the Munk Debates]

    You can always read the transcripts here.


    Not quite. Though it was near enough to be uncomfortable.

    Not quite Christopher Hitchens, not quite taking out Tony Blair

    Picture above thanks to Tim’s Wine Blog for “Hitchens – mitts off my wine”. Excerpt: Christopher Hitchens (portrayed with eerie accuracy above by excellent actor Ray Winstone) has some interesting things to say in Slate Magazine this week. He avers to a restaurant meal he was hosting where a waiter interrupted a conversation to re-fill wine glasses for the guests.’

    Right from the start of the debate it was clear why the physically but not mentally weakened Christopher Hitchens was likely to win in the end (regardless that he was in a leading position before the start) and why the physically fit Tony Blair was always likely to end up retiring hurt.

    Blair has history, good and to some, bad. Hitch has a following of argument addicts, and few dissenters as to his debating ability. He is arguably one of the best debaters of his generation. Blair is arguably one of the best politicians of his/theirs.

    But writers write, argue and opine. Politicians  – or rather politicians of any value, act. Thus the dissent.

    Hitch is hugely entertaining with an eloquence, turn of phrase and fascinating verbal dexterity which has the rest of us thesaurus scouring. Even the political communicator and wordsmith Mr Blair found it hard to match Mr Hitchens, so imbued was the latter’s spiel with the atheist historian’s assured certainties.

    Fundamentalist certainties, some might suggest.


    ADDENDUM to this: Just spotted this –  “Tony Blair reflects on his debate with Christopher Hitchens”

    It echoes my thought also just published here on “atheist fundamentalism”. Not MY thought only. To be fair Mr Blair did allude to that in the debate.

    Excerpt. Blair says –

    “So in a sense the challenge for both people of all faiths and people of none is to create the circumstances in which those faiths can coexist peacefully in mutual tolerance and respect.

    In achieving this, the last thing secularism needs, is an attack on religion so extreme that it is almost a type of atheist fundamentalism. This, to be fair, Christopher avoided, at least in Toronto on Friday night!”

    The use of the exclamation mark at the end is Mr Blair’s, not mine. In other words, Mr Hitchens may not always be so generous/civilised/balanced/self-critical/thoughtful as to avoid a type of atheist fundamentalism.


    Still, Hitch’s opening remarks (in the actual debate) were nothing less than damning, if politely so, laying down (faithfully) as they did all the reasons why not to have any faith in faith.

    When it comes to today’s all-knowing ‘liberal’ thinker, scepticism rules. OK? And in this sceptical, cynical world it is so much more ‘normal’ to sound all-knowing, especially about the unknowable.

    As I mentioned before this was not an even playing field, and not just because most of the audience were “anti” rather than “pro”.

    It was not an even playing field for several other reasons. More on those in a later post.



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