Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hitchens vs. Lennox - And the winner was...

Posted by David Reimer

No, not heavyweight boxers. Those with elephantine memories may recall that when Justin was last away, I posted some information about a debate at the Edinburgh Festival. I notice that Cath added a review in the short comment thread to that article, and I thought it might be of interest to pull together some other post-debate resources.

I found it a fascinating event. There was a fairly heaving crowd in the Usher Hall (about 1400), on a wet ("dreich") Saturday morning for a debate! The size of the crowd was interesting enough! The proposition was: "The New Europe should prefer the New Atheism". A straw-poll before the debate got underway put the crowd at roughly 40% in favour, 40% opposed, and 20% undecided. The links below will give you a flavour for the debate itself. Fast-forward 90 minutes to the end of the debate, when a second show-of-hands was taken. Now the proportions came out at more like 40% in favour (i.e., unchanged), 50% opposed, and 10% undecided. Hitchens fairly quickly conceded before James Naughtie pronounced the motion defeated. So, well done John Lennox.

The links: the closest you will find to an "official review" is on the blog of one of the co-sponsors, the Fixed-Point Foundation. There is an even shorter "Festival review".

Some Christian bloggers put up more substantial reports. The most full I found was that by Simon Wenham, who is the Zacharias Trust Events Manager (also posted here). Cath's review is on her blog, and I also found a response from Andy.

I'm sure the Hitchens supporters have reports/reviews available too, but my googling didn't turn them up! Feel free to add links in the comments to this post.

The event was recorded for "broadcast", although no indication of who might be the broadcaster. Fixed Point has announced the release of the DVD, if anyone is interested. And you might well be!