Christopher Hitchens

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is a writer and evolutionary biologist with viewpoints similar to those of Christopher Hitchens. The two were very good friends until Hitchens' death in 2011, as they often landed on the same side of debates, which included everything from their views on religion to their disgust of radical Islamists. Dawkins is also a huge advocate of atheism. While these views of his have been highly controversial in many respects and others argued that he was too strident with many of his critics, Christopher Hitchens defended his friend by saying that "Dawkins has spent decades of his life refining and deepening the teaching of evolutionary biology--a revolutionary subject that is only just beginning to disclose its still-more revolutionary, and healing and educational, properties and aspects. Why would he sit still and see a valued and precious discipline being insulted, even threatened with not being taught?...Why is the academy being so cowardly in failing to stick up for the teaching and the free inquiry on which it lives? I don't think that Professor Dawkins should be left to do this important work all by himself." It was this defense that served as a highlight of their lengthy friendship.

One of their most famed debates was centered around the subject of "We'd be better off without religion." The primary subject of this debate the myriad of issues surrounding organized religions, particularly that of Islam. When it comes to religion, Hitchens and Dawkins were viewed as two of the foremost authorities on atheism and the problems that were presented with religion. Along with Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens were described as the "Four Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse" because of a public debate that included the four writers and ideologists. The last public appearance of Christopher Hitchens took place in 2011 at the Texas Freethought Convention, wherein Hitchens was presented with the Richard Dawkins award by Dawkins himself. Upon Christopher Hitchens death shortly after that event, Dawkins had this to say about his friend, "I think he was one of the greatest orators of all time. He was a polymath, a wit, immensely knowledgeable, and a valiant fighter against all tyrants, including imaginary supernatural ones."