- Published on Saturday, 27 November 2010 13:18
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 6556
The sold-out debate on November 26, 2010 was held in Toronto's Roy Thompson Hall - a concert hall which holds 2700 people. Many more watched it live via live feed and the BBC will broadcast it later. It was one of the better debates I've seen - Tony Blair is an excellent speaker which you'd expect since he has a lot of experience in Politics and the British Parliament. However, Hitchens managed to rise above his health issues and proceeded to sprinkle his talk with irrefutable points and "one-liners". Tony Blair really only had one point that he re-iterated: he thinks that religion may have faults and may have caused some fanatics to do evil things but religion has also inspired men and women to do great, compassionate things. He somewhat destroys the case for religion by admitting that humanism may also inspire great things - he seems to think that some people need religion to be inspired while others don't. Therefore he says, religion is good. Go figure. But the gems in the Tony Blair versus Christopher Hitchens debate mostly came from Hitchens.
If you want to see the full debate you need to go to Munk Debates and sign up as a premium member. The full debate was on You-Tube for a few days but has now been removed [Update Nov 30, 2010]. The BBC plans to broadcast it on Dec 4 and 11 on Radio and on their web site on Jan 1, 2011. However, in the meantime, in the interest of promoting the wisdom of Hitchens, I have posted video extracts below.
Christopher Hitchens Opening statement
Tony Blair – extract of opening and essence of his argument
Christopher Hitchens – Rebuttal 1
Christopher Hitchens – Part of Rebuttal 2
(For iPhone users - sorry about the missing videos - you could try an Android phone or search on You-tube for the full debate)
As a way of putting the debate into perspective, the organizers of the debate (The Munk Debates) commissioned a worldwide poll before the event. The results show the spread in attitudes across different countries. More details here.