2007-03-27 IQ2 religion debate

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"We'd be better off without religion" was the title of a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared on March 27, 2007 at Westminster Central Hall in London, England. The motion carried, 1,205 to 778. The "debate", however, was apparently little more than a series of statements, one from each speaker, with no opportunity for rebuttal.

Speakers for the motion were:

  • Professor Richard Dawkins, Charles Simonyi Professor in the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford. Author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion. Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • Professor A.C. Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. Author of The Reason of Things: The Good Life Without God and Among the Dead Cities.
  • Christopher Hitchens, Author, journalist, columnist and contributing editor to Vanity Fair. Voted fifth out of the world's top one hundred "public intellectuals".

Speakers against the motion were:

  • Rabbi Julia Neuberger, author, broadcaster and social reformer. Her latest book is The Moral State We’re In.
  • Professor Roger Scruton, writer and philosopher. His books include Philosophy: Principles and Problems and England: An Elegy. Runs an experimental farm in Wiltshire which turns grass into ideas and ideas into feelings.
  • Nigel Spivey, Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he teaches Classical art and archaeology. Author and presenter of several television documentaries, including How Art Made the World and Digging for Jesus.

Follow-Up

A similar debate, this time on the question of whether the Catholic church is a force for good in the world, was held in late 2009, with even more conclusive results.

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