Debate begins about 5.53s in.
4.5 Stars. Hitch doing what he does best, taking out the more rhetorically inclined proponents of Christianity. BEST FUN TOP TEN
OMG what fun.
Two people who love to talk and work a crowd, do so, for an hour and a half.
Hitchens goes first and doesn't present anything specifically different from all his other debates in this one, but it is one of his more fluid performances. Al Sharpton seems absolutely timid and the least confident I have ever heard him, before. Usually he's pretty slick and sometimes I rather enjoy him, tbh. Instead he comes off as meek and flimsy and fails to defend the bible at all. He tries to account for this in his second debate with Hitch, obnoxiously so...but that's another debate review.
After the opening statements, every time Hitch lists all the crappy things religion has done Sharpton just argues that said crappy things are due to a bunch of jerks in the past misinterpreting scripture and that Hitch needs to actually disprove the existence of god. This is absolute disinterest in defending scripture on the part of the reverend leads Hitch to label Sharpton an agnostic and Sharpton doesn't even seem to protest that.
It seems a bit odd now that I think about this debate after getting interested in the more intellectually dense arguments relating to theism and Christian theism...has Sharpton ever actually flat out had a debate on the existence of God? I just think it would be funny if one of the more philosophical heavy hitters like Schieber, Lowder, or Ahmed actually found themselves in a formal debate with the guy. Sharpton kept wanting to debate the existence of god...I wouldn't have mind asking him about divine lies or something...
But what am I babbling about? This debate was about who could say the more witty jab! And by gum there's nothing wrong with that kind of debate, too...ESPECIALLY if it features one of my forever heroes, Christopher Hitchens.
The debate is just too much fun and the Q&A is one of the best I've heard.
Maybe cause this is one of the most popular Hitch debates I should clarify an issue that seems to arise with complaints about the way Hitchens debates that have been made by both his opponents and audience:
Hitchens is not debating that there is no god nor is he attempting to present the classic arguments against the evidence for a god. He is just trying to show what he means by his book title: religion poisons everything. That assertion is questionable, sure, but now that you know that he isn't attempting to disprove god, you can listen to his evidence supporting that assertion, instead. If you want to hear debates arguing for atheism, don't listen to Hitchens, don't listen to Dawkins, don't listen to Harris or Dennett, get over the pop-atheists and listen to some guys who know can really present arguments on that subject. Listen to those I listed as pop-atheists for fun and the love of the debate and it'll be a better experience, trust me.
Alright audio and video, though the audio is a little quiet, though.
Post Revision Notes
6-30-2013 I added a link to a transcript.
9-28-2013 I cleaned up some awkward sentences.
8-15-2015 More clean upege.