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Peter and Christopher Hitchens
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They're brothers, apparently estranged over the interpretation of a joke at a dinner party. This mediated interview with them is pretty interesting and pretty funny.

A lot of space is spent just talking about the joke and the interpretation, and it honestly sounds pretty stupid. But then they move on to other topics, like evolution and intelligent design.

Peter Hitchens: ....He has the faith I think of Darwinism, which is just like Christianity an unproven and unprovable theory, which you can believe in if you want because you prefer that arrangement of the universe. I happen to think the arrangement of the universe based on the belief in intelligent design is more tolerable both morally and aesthetically, but he prefers another. I dislike only the attitude of the atheist that his is not a faith, cause it is. I have absolutely no disgust or anger at anybody who disagrees with me about that. I'm much more worried by people who are indifferent to the question.

Christopher Hitchens: Ah, well I agree with that.


Peter said one prefers to think Darwin is right. No, one takes the facts and examines them. The fact that one's appearance on earth is a random process conditioned by evolution and will end in extinction isn't a welcome conclusion. It's just an inescapable one, and to be in denial about it is odd. And Darwinism is not the theory of evolution. It is a theory of evolution. The quarrel between say Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, two of the greatest of biologists and palaeontologists, about punctuated evolution shows there is a great deal to argue about and no one disputes that we have evolved. It's in the fossil record.

Peter Hitchens: It actually isn't proven. It is a choice. That's the important thing that you choose to believe it. Your choice may be unwelcome to you and my choice my be equally unwelcome to me, but it's one that you take as a matter of preference.

Oh dear. This argument always churns my stomach. Of course it's a choice. You choose to believe the earth goes round the sun too. The thing is, some things are more sensible to choose to believe. E.g., it's more sensible to believe the earth goes round the sun rather than vice versa. It's still "faith" in the sense that it can't be known 100%. But to talk about things for which their are mountains of evidence and things for which there are none in the same breath, to equate them this way is truly moronic.

Anyway, I also found this interchange highly entertaining:

Female audience member: Excuse me. I'm not usually awkward at all but I'm sitting here and we're asked not to smoke. And I don't like being in a room where smoking is going on.

Christopher Hitchens: Well you don't have to stay darling, do you? I'm working here and I'm your guest, OK? And this is what I'm like; nobody has to like it.

Interviewer: Would you just stub that one out?

Christopher Hitchens: No. I cleared it with the festival a long time ago. They let me do it.

Female audience member: We should all be allowed to smoke then.

Christopher Hitchens: Fair enough. I wouldn't object. It might get pretty nasty though. I have a privileged position here, I'm not just one of the audience, so it would be horrible if everyone was like me. This is my last of five gigs, I've worked very hard for the festival. I'm going from here to Heathrow airport. If anyone doesn't like it they can kiss my ass.

Interviewer: Would anyone like to take up that challenge? (Laughter. Woman walks out.)

Hmm...well he certainly comes across as a pompous ass here, doesn't he? I'm your guest? Well then, wouldn't it be more guest-like to be polite and put out your friggin cigarette?

Anyway, interesting reading...have a look.

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