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18 June 2008


Norman Lamont

Best for me, as an atheistic religious practitioner, to stay out of these debates, but you might be interested in Ken MacLeod's recent comment on Hitchens:

'The Protestant translations of the Bible are not known as 'the Vulgate'. Christianity does not teach that Jesus had 'a human body but a nonhuman nature'. The title of William Paley's book on the design argument is not Natural Philosophy. The opposite of 'synoptic' is not 'apocryphal'. 'Q' is not the lost source of all four gospels. That the long ending of the Gospel of Mark is a later addition was not one of the 'more astonishing findings' of Bart Ehrman. Alpha Centauri is not the 'preferred origin' of supposed alien spacecraft. Marx, not Engels, wrote that human anatomy is the key to the anatomy of the ape. Not all Christian churches approved of slavery. Lysenko's theories did not lead to the deaths of millions. If you want to argue that Martin Luther King wasn't really a Christian, you don't clinch it by citing his refusal to hate his enemies.

That last is a lapse of understanding. The rest are matters of fact. None of these errors and misconceptions is important to Hitchens' argument in God is not Great. Getting the facts straight would have been easy - not just for a man of Hitchens' parts and learning, but for anyone with access to the Internet or a library and half an hour to spare.'


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