Christopher Hitchens Talks About the “New Atheists” January 6, 2010

Christopher Hitchens Talks About the “New Atheists”

Christopher Hitchens was asked the following question on Reddit:

You and your fellow horsemen (Dawkins Dennett and Harris) are sometimes referred to collectively as “New Atheists.” What does this term mean to you? Do you embrace it, or do you hold that there is nothing particularly “new” about your breed of atheism? Also, in god is not Great you briefly mention your disapproval of Dawkins and Dennett’s “Brights” movement. Are there other significant points on which you disagree with the rest of the “New Atheists?”

And he answered it:

Plenty more Q&A with Hitchens can be found here.

(via Reddit)

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  • skinman

    I hate that term, “Brights”. I hate it. It is sticky-sweet. Like eating ice cream topped with sugar wrapped in cotton candy drenched in chocolate syrup. It makes me want to vomit.

  • Brian Macker

    Holy cow, Hitchens is a Marxist. He might as well have declared himself a economic creationist.

  • sc0tt

    Are those really a 3′ high stacks of books behind him? Or some kind or quirky wallpaper?

  • Deiloh

    I’m thinking it is actual stacks of books, I have similar going on in my house because I spend all my money on books and can’t afford cases.

  • Bud

    I’ve never been a fan of the “Brights” movement. Ooh, shiny. Brights defenders have expressed explicitly that the label isn’t meant to suggest that non-theists are smarter than everyone else. That’s wonderful, but what puzzles me is that while they felt such a disclaimer is necessary, have they really never considered why such a disclaimer is necessary?

    If you’re an atheist, call yourself an atheist. If you’re a naturalist, call yourself a naturalist. Whatever label you choose, you’re going to have to explain it to people anyway. And never forget that there are always going to be people who hate you because you disagree with them, regardless of whatever silly sugar-coated label you give yourself.

  • Are those really a 3? high stacks of books behind him? Or some kind or quirky wallpaper?

    I don’t read well, so I avoid books. One of those stacks is several times my total lifetime quantity of books read. I’m glad there’s people out there who can keep up with it all.

  • Dan

    I almost feel like religion could be like a vehicle. A car, truck, bus.. whatever. And a religious person driving it may say the car must be moving by unseen people pushing or pulling it. Because after all, they don’t actually understand how the engine works since they keep above the hood and only focus on what-ifs, probabilities, and feel like the only possibilities are what they could imagine.

    But the scientist who drives the car, has a curiosity about how it works and studies it. Learns about the engine, learns about physics, and chemical reactions, and electricity. They pose hypothesis:I hypothesis this car must run on a source of a limited energy, if this is true, the car should eventually stop running once it’s depleted, and will NOT run again until refilled with the energy source. And look at that, it’s proven true! So there COULDN’T be little people pushing or pulling the car!

    The car, it turns out was much more complicated than what the human brain may have actually thought, had it never knew of a vehicle before.

    ……. kind of a long, loose, childish analogy. But it popped into my head and wanted to share it.

  • So, I was thoroughly enjoying watching this when I realized I was having a hard time breathing because of a booger, which, of course, I then picked. As I was digging I realized it felt very odd to be watching Hitchens speak directly into camera – it was as if he were watching me pick my nose while watching him.
    So, I stopped.
    And then, I kid you not, he gave me the finger. Sure, it was disguised as him merely relieving an itch on his face, but I know better.
    Never again will I pick my nose while watching Hitchens – he sees all….and retaliates.

  • It takes a lot out of me just listening to him, because i’m not that intelligent or grammatically gifted. I really have to force myself to pay attention to glean any understanding out of his words. But alas, my mind wanders as do my fingers whilst picking at some boogers.

  • Oh Lagunatic – there’s a reason we all love you so!

    Books get me excited. What’s better than multiple 3′ stacks of books?

  • Luther


    That is a fantastic analogy. Every week they present the gifts of Exxon to their god, GM and his lost son Humvee. Legend has it that if they obey all the conflicting rules they will not end up in the junk yard.

  • Strangel

    “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a bit of the Libertarian and the Anarchist within them.” Me neither.

  • Paul

    I should watch it again but there was a brief section where I think I heard Hitchen’s claim that in England there is an agreement with the Muslim populace. That in a sense they get preferential treatment; something about muslim courts.

    Is there any truth to this?

  • Polly

    I second Paul’s query, above.

    It sounds too strange to this American’s ears that a country should abdicate one of the primary functions of government, and to a religious body no less! It sounds like urban legend.

  • sc0tt

    Is there any truth to this?

    Sort of – Google “sharia law uk”.
    For certain matters, citizens may elect to use sharia courts instead of the regular legal system; mostly civil cases, estates, etc… but there have been some disturbing exceptions.

  • Paul

    “Sort of – Google “sharia law uk”.
    For certain matters, citizens may elect to use sharia courts instead of the regular legal system; mostly civil cases, estates, etc… but there have been some disturbing exceptions.”

    I’ll google it.

    If it is entirely *voluntary* participation by all parties involved and is ultimately accepted (signed off) by a real legal entity then I (tentatively) can see some justification in it. Some kind of arbitration or what have you.

    I’d be curious to know about the “disturbing exceptions”

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