Let me start this post by saying you must listen to this audio. Bill Heine from BBC Radio Oxford interviews Richard Dawkins on October 20th, 2008. The original discourse covers a recent Sony video game fiasco in which Sony has recalled a game for having Qur'anic phrases in the background music. The show then invites a Muslim on to share the beliefs of Muslims with regards to this type of mockery.
Here is a quote towards the end of the call-in:
Politicians is a human. If you think your politician, like Tony Blair or Jesus, [are the same]. That is, you don't understand. You are talking about the people who are in the land just like you and me. Our prophet and Allah, they are completely different. Our holy book is completely different. God made us come to the world. We should respect Allah. We should respect his holy book. And that is my strong word coming to you. I think your thinking is very narrow. You are thinking politicians like Tony Blair or George Bush, that you can joke about them like you joke about Islam. I think you haven't got knowledge enough. You should go to have some more study and then come back on the telephone to talk to me.
Interviewer: Do you think you are overreacting?
No I am not. I am just telling you what any Muslim will say that. Go have a survey on any Muslim. No one will accept that you make a mickey [sic] about Qur'an and holy prophet and Islam. Nobody, nobody, nobody.
But wait... it gets better. A nut comes on and starts blaming Darwinism for the holocaust and arguing that morality requires religion. This is probably the best interview with Richard Dawkins I've ever heard.
File Size: 12 MB
File Length: 26 min 17 sec
Click here to download the audio (mp3 file)
Here is a clip of a Channel 4 interview with Richard Dawkins after his last lecture beginning his retirement. Richard Dawkins retired from his twelve year post as Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science. He talks about his plan to write a children's book on "how to think about the world, the universe, science, critical thinking, contrasted with mythical thinking." The book will look at mythical and scientific accounts of various phenomenon and allow children to "look for the evidence" and decide for themselves.
Dinesh D’Souza has participated in a number of debates in the past year and he did his best to hold his own while butting heads with Hitchens at The King's College. Hitchens, as usual, puts forth a great argument and really covers a lot of ground.
Here is a sample to whet your appetite:
You are told that by applauding a human sacrifice, a particularly cruel and revolting one, that took place before you were born, to fulfill a prophecy in which you had no say, condemns you either punishment and sin if you don't accept it, or, if you do accept it, offers you a chance that your own sins can be forgiven you.
Well, everything is wrong with this picture. First, as with the original proposition of a deity, it requires of you compulsory love as well as compulsory fear. You have to simultaneously love someone, you are commanded to love them, and be frightened of them at the same time. This is no way to teach morals.
Second, you are told not that you might get a second chance, or that your debts can be paid. I can pay your debts, if I care enough for you, I could serve your time in prison if I wished. But I can't forgive you the sin. I can't absolve you of the responsibility for what you've already done. I can't wash you white as snow. And the desire to be washed in that way and to be free of responsibility is itself an immoral one and should be rejected by anyone with any self respect.
The vicarious redemption by human sacrifice is an immoral preachment with very immoral implications. As is compulsory love coupled with compulsory fear.
Is Religion Good for the World?
A debate between Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe.
Moderated by Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week.
On October 29th, 2008, more than 1,500 people gathered in Temple Emanu-El at 7:30 PM to see Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe debate on the morality of religion. This debate is, in my opinion, one of Hitchens best to date. He really shows his knowledge of the subject and ability to pinpoint the problems with Wolpe's reasoning. In some of his other debates he seemed to simply regurgitate previous points he'd made and make more general statements on the topic of religion rather than focusing on the aspects being debated. Not so when he went up against Rabbi Wolpe. For me, Hitchens was able to get his point across and make sense of all the confusion and terrible metaphors Rabbi Wolpe had to offer (the Rabbi compared a "loving" God knowing our thoughts to that of a mother caring for a crying infant. The infant is not afraid that his mother knows his thoughts but rather this shows "intimacy and love". I'll let you form your own opinions of this argument.)
New York Times article link
Audio download of the debate available:
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