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12/17/2007                                                                                       View Comments

The Four Horsemen

Part 1


Part 2


On the 30th of September, 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion, convened by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) and filmed by Josh Timonen. All four authors have recently received a large amount of media attention for their writings against religion -- some positive, and some negative.

In this conversation, the group trades stories of the public reaction to their recent books, unexpected successes, criticisms, and common misrepresentations. They discuss tough questions about religion that world is facing, and propose new strategies for going forward.

The authors' recommended books: "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, "Breaking the Spell" by Daniel C. Dennett, "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris, "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, "God is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens

10 comments:

billybee said...

The only way to top off this video would be to have the ground open and swallow the group. THAT would make a funny ending. (just kidding) Great video, but I enjoyed listening to the audio only version more. I was a bit distracted with the visuals.
All of these fellows are amazing. Especially Mr. Hitchens. I'm hoping santa brings me The Portable Atheist for Xmas. Could there be a more perfect gift?

xrayman said...

I am thinking of a Seinfeld reference here...It's Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and the other guy. I have never heard of Daniel Dennet until this video. What a great meeting of the minds for sure. I listened to both parts and probably will do it again. Billybee there is an audio version? How do I access that? I would love to burn this to a cd.

skeptic said...

I look forward to seeing this! And xrayman, if you haven't heard of Dennet yet, you owe it to yourself to read "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon." Absolutely wonderful. He hasn't drawn as much attention as the others, most likely because his book has a less startling title. He is also, as a writer, very urbane--sort of the opposite of Sam Harris, who may be the most openly insulting to religious folk of the four (though Hitchens and Dawkins certainly have their moments!).

xrayman said...

Well thanks Skeptic I appreciate the info. I have read The God Delusion, The End of Faith, and I am now in the middle of God is not Great. Looks like you have given me a great next book to read.

Bill

fjell said...

The four principle anti-religious zeitgeisters armed with booze and cigarettes?

Man, did Christmas come early or what?

eel_shepherd said...

This was a super video, two of the best hours I've spent all year.

Right near the end, Hitchens speaks of the forces standing against the threat from the excesses of dogma as being a tag-team of the new crop of freethinkers and the 82nd Airborne Division. Well, I can see a guy making that connection when he appreciates the deadly combination of iron-age religiosity and space-age technology. But I frankly don't see both parties in that tag-team pulling their weight equally. Unless I'm reading the signals wrong, the wise words of writers such as the 4 in this video aren't being realised at street level around the world. Maybe that sort of thing takes time, and it will come right down to the wire, as to when enough people wake up to a new age of enlightment to tip the balance. But it seems to me that, if these 4 guys are the pure scientists, what we need now is a parallel team of practical scientists or engineers. At a couple of points in the video, they did a near fly-by of this need, but didn't linger. Perhaps because temperamentally that's not where any of them live. The Alan Turings of this world don't invent hard drives and CPUs, and the 4 guys in this video don't know how to put wheels on their ideas.

For an opposite take on Western militarism in the middle east to the one held by Hitchens, I recommend a recent video by prolific YouTube atheist poster DesertPhile:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ShZeT0rqzgQ
which is Part One of a 2-part "presidential campaign speech" that just showed up a couple of days ago.

billybee said...

For the Audio only version, check out; Ricard Dawkins.net

billybee said...

oooops - up too late last night...
Richard Dawkins.net

Boe said...

I'm not too sure about Hitchins - I've read his book 'God is not Great' and on the whole agreed with most of what he has to say. My problem with him is when he casually dismisses Hamas as simply antisemitic. The fact is, the Palestinians have been a people under brutal occupation since 1948 - does he really contend that this has nothing to do with the genesis of Islamic terrorism. I think he has a rather unhelpfully shallow view here.
I recommend 'Freedom Next Time', the latest book by the invesigative journalist John Pilger. The chapters on Palestine/Isreal and Afganistan are a real eye opener. He also has an informative website.
Boe

robbrownsyd said...

That is true to an extent Boe - but their feelings of being hard-done-by in terms of middle eastern real estate fall far short of explaining the castastrophe that is happening to the world. The root of the evil is irrational religiou belief systems - the kind of beliefs that allow Jews to think of themselves as special - Gods chosen people to whom that land was promised - and allows Muslims to think that they have a right or duty to inflict terror on the world becasue it's what god wants - beliefs that allowed Christian zealots to destroy entire native civilizations in the past and vilify other minorities today. Religion itself is the root of the evil. I agree with Hitchens that a farewell to religion, like all goodbyes, should not be prolonged, but that unfortunately, mankind is going to be lucky survive this particular farewell.

Rob