Archive for June, 2008

The four horsemen

Friday, June 27th, 2008

An open unmoderated discussion between four notable atheists - viz. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett.
Hour 1 - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-869630813464694890&q=four+horsemen&ei=ljBlSP2uHqCorQP5rYCwDQ
hour 2 - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-225595257312538919&q=four+horsemen&ei=ljBlSP2uHqCorQP5rYCwDQ

Fun to watch. The feelings I came back with?
Dennett seems to be the most reasonable of the bunch. He has some opinions and is not rabid about them like the rest. Also, he’s willing to listen to people who hold opposing ideas and I felt that he’s generally consistent in what he says.
Dawkins for once doesn’t come across as “Darwin’s Rottweiler” but like a simple man with some simple minded ideas that he’s trying to pitch. He steers clear of stuff he doesn’t know. I sort of like him in this discussion.
Christopher Hitchens is one messed up person. I can’t really make sense of his position. He just seems to enjoy the sound of his own voice and the attention he gets with his one liners and jokes. Ever the contrarian. I didn’t really find anything he said valuable except perhaps his point that some religious art and poetry could have been created only with religion as an inspiration. Anyone who thinks that it’s morally acceptable and even recommended to launch a war with a weaker country thereby plunging it into chaos and destruction really needs to be muzzled if he speaks of the lack of morals in major world religions.
Sam Harris comes across as inconsistent with a rather closed outlook on things - “I’m right. End of discussion”. Two points I can specifically mention are one, his cutting short Dawkins when the latter suggested that militant Islam was a somewhat recent phenomenon primarily brought about by Wahabism by stating that one needed to discuss the matter with people like Ayan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq (both of whom are on the now lucrative ‘critics of Islam’ bandwagon) and two, his insistence that the whole Palestinian problem is because Muslims hold Jerusalem to be a holy city - one wonders whether completely rational atheists would accept forcible expulsion from their own homes and land where they’ve been living for generations to make room for a foreign people.

The discussion is interesting to watch though and if you’ve got 120 minutes to kill, this is a nice place to spend it.

History of Python

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Breadth of Islamic law

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

A tribute to Xenon 2: Megablast

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Knowledge levels

Saturday, June 7th, 2008