The Four Horsemen; Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris in a 2 Hours Discussion About Religion And Faith Culture

Part One

Part Two

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 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’s reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face to world today, and propose new strategies for going forward.

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


Filed under: Culture, Humanity, Philosophy, Psychology,

2 Responses

  1. A rationalist, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion but was frustrated why the relative anachronism regarding Islam and western religions was not broached. Willing martyrom on the part of the jihadists was discussed but not the Christian martyrs whom Christians still highly regard. Perhaps Islam is evolving as western belief systems evolved but at a much slower rate, perhaps due to climate and topography, and stands today where, say, Christianity stood in the 17th century. Might not Islam find its own (relative) Enlightenment given time and the presently exponential rate of technological advance?

    • Ed says:

      I’d agree. And let’s hope so. But I’d suggest you remember that this film, even the academics involved, are very much at the mercy of the intellectual market. Often history, culture, even science and it’s discussion is founded upon ideas and false cultural notions that are inbred in either a) the viewer/viewing process b) the topic itself c) the historical knowledge upon which basis the argument is taking place d) the media process the viewer is engaged in.

      A moderately thorough process of deconstruction needs to take place and terms need to be defined before any sort of debate can take place, in my opinion. In today’s mainstream media this is never, almost without exception, the case. The problem is that this can often lead one into a discussion seemingly tangential to the original concern. We come to a point where producers may think “well, the institutional truths may as well rule rather than any other”.

      Often, these problems become so complicated that film makers and historians and cultural essayists opt out of trying to coerce the truth into the discussion and side for the established or more generally accepted version of events. This usually comes down to “we’re brilliant and they’re a bit weird.” Makes good TV, too. Like Channel 4’s choice of title for Dawkins’ series “The Root Of All Evil”. Fair enough, he tried to fight it, but no academic worth the fluff in his pockets would submit to heading a debate about religion under a title like that, as far as I’m concerned.

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