Update to Hitchens on Free Speech

I have today added the following text to my post of Hitchens’ speech to the University of Toronto in 2006 proposing the motion “freedom of speech includes the freedom to hate”.

UPDATE: 03/08/2013

I am currently drafting an epic post reviewing all of Hitchens’ public debates available to see/hear on the Internet and have finally come across the full version of this debate.

It looks as though Hitch was debating students from the University of Toronto (as opposed to other prominent writers and public commentators) and was given twice as much speaking time as his opponents (!).


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14 Responses to “Update to Hitchens on Free Speech”

  1. Joe Says:

    Oh man, I cannot wait for the Hitch post. I started doing a mega post reviewing all of Hitch’s appearances on the news as a talking head, it got pretty long and I realized I should probably organize it more!

    I’m glad you’re back to blogging!

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      Thanks, Joe

      I am ploughing my way through the final stages of the post, but am somewhat hampered by discovering more and debates as I go!

      When it’s published, you’ll be the first to know… 😉


  2. Joe Says:

    Good luck man, he’s debated a lot of people, Todd Friel, Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, Ben Stein, Bill Donahue, Bill Buckley Jr, Tom Metzger and his racist son are some of the more random debates he’s done. He though Newt Gingrich was pretty sharp too, which I was surprised by!

    He’s been appearing on C-SPAN since the early 80s so there’s so much available!

    Him and I even “debated” the same 911 Truther:

    He didn’t talk with him nearly as long as I did, though, haha:

  3. Joe Says:

    Sorry for the long post and then ANOTHER post but,

    The video where I talk to the same guy is the second video in the play list.

    Also, I never officially asked you, what are your top ten favorite debates? I’m making a mega post for my blog of both non-theist/theists’ favorite debates.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      My dear Joseph,

      You can post as much as you like as often on this blog, old chap. 😀

      Have we ever conversed before you asked after me a few weeks ago? I cannot remember that we have; however, I am flattered and heartened that you have been following my blog for so long and took it upon yourself to ask after my well-being.

      The Richey Edwards interview post marked the beginning of a difficult period in my personal life which I am still experiencing. I have taken a career break from my day job before working for The Man drives me six feet under.

      Blogging may well have been an off-shoot of my melt down three years ago, but I am hopeful that it may yet help to get me out of my current rut.


      • Joe Says:

        Nah, not really. In making my blog I started looking through all the comments on CSA and found that I agreed with yours the most.

        I then checked out your site and liked that you weren’t so blown away by Craig as Luke but still understood that he was a tough opponent. I also enjoyed the way you were able to handle Robertson in this debate:

        So I usually went through your reviews of debates and then I finally saw that your last post was in 2011 and was bummed! Gushing over these debates and over beating Craig sort of died when CSA stopped being an interesting blog (I’m not at all interested in singularity stuff) so I was annoyed to see that your blog stopped (for different reasons) around the same time. Seriously, Craig is a formidable opponent but he isn’t THAT formidable. I think his arguments still impress atheists who grew up with a more serious Christian background (Luke) than it does others who grew up in a more irreligious background (myself) but I haven’t really fleshed that assertion out.

        I made my own Craig mini-review post. It follows the format that Luke follows but I’m not nearly as impressed by Craig as Luke is, though I did grade harsher than normal because he’s done soooo many debates!

        Again, I hope everything gets back in order for you and I am VERY jealous that you were at the Hitch/Fry Catholic debate. His opening speech there was probably his best I have ever heard from him in all of his debates!

      • manicstreetpreacher Says:

        Ah yes, I remember the Premier debate very well! I’m glad you and your commenter thought that I did well against Robertson. It’s funny doing debates: very often you get as much, if not more, criticism from your own side than your opponents! The debate was posted on RichardDawkins.net and the man himself said I was “most certainly not boring”, but I had plenty detractors posting.

        Robertson’s book isn’t very long, but I had read LOADS of other books which he references, such as Ian Kershaw’s double-volume biography of Hitler and Niall Ferguson’s thousand-page tome on 20th century conflict, to prepare fully for the encounter.

        I must say that I read many of his sources somewhat differently and in the post-debate exchanges on Premier’s debate forum (RIP!), it transpired that he had been mining his sources more than I had been able to discover.

        Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge states that Hitler was no a Christian and that he believed that men descended from apes, only to admit on the very next page that she does not remember at all well what he said.

        Similarly, Simon Sebag Montefiore states that Stalin read Darwin’s Origins as a young boy and from that believed that men no longer owed any duty to each other, although Montefiore is somewhat more equivocal than Robertson lets on. I later discovered that Stalin expressly rejected Darwinism in favour of Lamarckism!

        Common Sense Atheism was a terrific blog before Lukeprog devoted all of his time Yudkowsky, save for his unbridled respect for Craig’s debating skills when he accepted that Craig used bad arguments and engaged in dirty tactics.

        I posted more than once (both on his blog and mine) that he was the web’s most fawning Craigophile atheist and his position was akin to worshipping an Olympic athlete for roundly beating all of his opponents yet knowing full well that he was a doper!


    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      So far, I have tracked down 64 Hitchens debates in total and am still to watch/listen to six!

      I am partway through the Bill Donohue clash.

      I wasn’t aware of the others you suggest.

      Ben Stein – is that the same one as Jay Richards and ID in 2008? That debate is in the post.

      Bill Buckley looks like it’ll be seven to watch!

      Pat Buchanan: eight.

      I found a 26 minute TV discussion with Newt Gingrich from 2002 hosted by the Hoover Institution on what kind of war are we fighting against terror. I’m not sure whether that’s as proper debate, as opposed to a brief TV discussion, to be included in my post.

      Todd Friel; looks like a short radio debate. Is he the one that Hitch slammed the phone down on after he said that he wanted to be a slave to Jesus Christ?! If so, I have heard that one but considered it too brief and more of an interview to include.

      John and Tom Metzger; now it’s nine to watch!

      The post is inspired by Lukeprog’s reviews of William Lane Craig’s debates over at Common Sense Atheism. They are brief summaries and I have divided them into three sections “The Great”, “The Good” and “The Not So Good”.

      However, due to sheer length, I will divide them up into three separate posts.


      • Joe Says:

        The Ben Stein one is another C-SPAN news review. Ben Stein flips out at Hitch for referring to Nixon and his cabinet/cronies as a gang at one point. Other than that it is pretty cordial, it reminds me that I used to like Stein until he got all stupid with Expelled!


        The guy on youtube is slowly putting all of Hitch’s appearances on yt but there are still some he’s missed!

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      Off the top of my head, my favourite religious debates in roughly descending order are:

      1. Stenger –v- Craig Hawaii 2003 – I have learned more from Vic’s speeches than I have done from most books, which is why I took the time to transcribe them!

      2. Hitchens/Fry –v- Catholic Church IQ2 London 2009 – I was there and it was an onanatastic joy to see Hitch tear the Vatican limb from limb. Fry was a welcome surprise; he had never really registered with me despite seeing him on TV and in films for many years, but he argued a passionate and convincing case with superb wit.

      3. Ehrman –v- Craig on the resurrection, 2005 – Bart jointly holds the crown for the opponent who has made Craig look most stupid in public along with Stenger.

      4. Harris –v- Craig, on morals 2011 – Sam didn’t make Craig look like the complete fool that Stenger and Ehrman did, but in his own calm and considered way, he tore Craig in half. He did exactly the right thing by refusing to let Craig This is the last of Craig’s debates that I have seen. After he so clearly misrepresented Harris’ work, I have been avoiding him as all he spouts are lies and distortions and I no longer want to waste my time even seeing how atheists reply to him.

      5. Hitchens/Dawkins/Grayling, “We’d all be better off without religion” – One of Hitch’s best opening speeches.

      6. Dawkins/Grayling –v- Harries/Moore, “Atheism is the new fundamentalism” – I was there and asked a question to the god squad!

      7. Harris –v- Hedges (and de facto Scheer, who was supposed to be the debate moderator!), 2007, “Religion and reason in the modern world” – Harris just about managed to keep his cool with a pair of wet-lettuce liberals who bent over backwards in not blaming religion for its crimes and epitomised the kind of religious moderation that Harris has warned against. His put-down about sending NYT journalists to wander around the Muslim world for a while, make friends and get a vibe is a classic!

      8. Hitchens –v- Boteach, 2004 – another classic opening salvo and first rebuttal from Hitch that I have watched repeatedly.

      9. Hitchens –v- D’Souza, Freedom Fest, July 2008 – After a disappointing showing against D’Souza at their first encounter on religion at The Kings College in October 2007, Hitch well and truly had his revenge. I don’t care how the audience voted at the end.

      10. Hitchens –v- McGrath, Georgetown University, 2007 – After McGrath published a disgraceful ad hominem attack against the New Atheism in general and Richard Dawkins in particular with The Dawkins Delusion?, Hitchens ripped the lily-livered, “sophisticated” theologian limb from limb.


      • Joe Says:

        Craig hasn’t been in any good debates in awhile sans the Law v Craig debate that happened after the Harris one. Harris disappointed me in that one, he didn’t conform to Craig’s strict debate requirements but he shoulda said so in the debate to get Craig squirming in front of an audience.

        You’d like the Law debate because he did the same thing but not trying to be Craig at his own game and sticking with his own style, it was nuanced enough that Craig kind of flew apart and it really divided the interbuttz afterwards as to who won. Ultimately, Law did, and in a very slick fashion that I would follow if I were to ever debate just on god’s existence.

      • manicstreetpreacher Says:

        Sounds like the first Stein encounter is the kind of TV discussion that I have been leaving out of the post.

        I realised straightaway from Harris’ first rebuttal (“Well, that was all very… interesting…”) that he wasn’t going to waste time playing by Craig’s rules trying to put out every small fire that he lit, although Harris only affirmed his strategy after the debate but I think he did our side proud.

        I want to do a blog post on the debate after I have checked Craig’s quoting-mining of The Moral Landscape in full!

        I have seen snippets of the Law debate and know the general consensus was that he won. Certainly Craig upped the (Southern nasally drawl) volume aplenty when Law refused to reply to his Kalam argument and he said that Law clearly accepted it, only to admit later in the Q & A that he didn’t really believe that was Law’s position, but he was only trying to goad Law in replying (!?!).

        I have also noted from Law’s blog that Craig has been going after him ever since the debate, which in itself strongly implies that Craig knows he had his ass handed to him on that occasion.

        However, I can’t bring myself to witness any more of Craig’s lies… just yet.

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