Intelligent Design

Christopher Hitchens: RIP (1949-2011)

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Christopher Hitchens has passed away at the age of 62. Diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2010, Hitchens finally succumbed to pneumonia, a complication of his cancer, on 15 December 2011, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

During his lifetime, Christopher Hitchens achieved worldwide recognition as an acclaimed author, journalist, literary critic, New Atheist and vocal champion of the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. He was also a brilliant debater, and I always enjoyed watching his public performances online. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him, I will miss him. Hitchens’ passion, uncompromising honesty and sense of humor put him in a class of his own.

An outspoken critic of religion, Hitchens was nonetheless gracious towards those who prayed for him during his final illness. People are complicated creatures, and we will never know what Hitchens’ final thoughts were. But we can dare to hope. So I will bid adieu to Christopher Hitchens with the words that Horatio addressed to Hamlet on his passing:

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

(Update: Over on, David Berlinski has penned a beautiful tribute to Christopher Hitchens.)

9 Replies to “Christopher Hitchens: RIP (1949-2011)

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    I knew about his fame but never read or heard him.
    Its sad for him and his loved ones and everyone else to see this happen.
    Its difficult to make large audiences and he did it.
    He was on the wrong side of much but in serious matters like death it doesn’t matter.

  2. 2

    Thanks for the link. Nice essay by Berlinski.

  3. 3
    GilDodgen says:


    Please forgive me if I seem inconsiderate of the dead, but I have a few questions.

    If Hitchens was correct, and he was the product of a purely materialistic process that did not have him in mind, and his mind was exclusively the product of chemical reactions in his brain, now that he is dead, and the chemical reactions in his brain have shut down, it seems obvious to me that Hitchens does not exist.

    How can one “Rest In Peace,” if death is nonexistence, as Hitchens believed? “Resting” would imply consciousness beyond death, and “peace” would imply a state of mind. If death is eternal oblivion doesn’t the admonition of resting in peace make no sense?

    Just wondering.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Then if Hitchens was correct he can RIP because in his non-existent state he no longer has to put up with people like ______________…

    “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    (However now that Hichens knows he was wrong he may not be resting in peace (cue maniacal laughter)…)

  5. 5
    allanius says:

    Gag me with a spoon. This is the ungracious grinch who savaged Mother Teresa merely because she had the temerity to oppose abortion. “Sweet prince” indeed.

  6. 6
    Timbo says:

    No allanius, that is not why he savaged Mother Teresa. He savaged her because she was an evil person who took money from dictators and spent it in glorifying herself and her obsession with poverty (for others of course). He savaged her because she deliberately denied medical attention to people who died as a result of her obsession with poverty.

  7. 7
    Bruce David says:

    What he believed about his nature is totally irrelevant. What is true about his nature and the nature of reality is what matters.

    I am completely certain that his consciousness continues (much to his initial surprise). I don’t think people rest much between lives, however. There is too much to do.

  8. 8
    Bruce David says:

    Very fine tribute, and gracious as well.

    I watched one his debates, with Stephen Meyer, as I recall. I was very impressed with the insightfulness of his comments and his honesty. Also with his courage in facing his probable impending death. This was a man I would have been quite comfortable trusting with my life, if it ever came to that.

  9. 9
    gpuccio says:

    Berlinski is always the best!

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