In 2007, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett filmed a landmark discussion about modern atheism. The video went viral. Now in print for the first time, the transcript of their conversation is illuminated by new essays from three of the original participants and an introduction by Stephen Fry. At the dawn of the new atheist movement, the thinkers who became known as “the four horsemen,” the heralds of religion's unraveling—Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett—sat down together over cocktails. What followed was a rigorous, pathbreaking, and enthralling exchange, which has been viewed millions of times since it was first posted on YouTube. This is intellectual inquiry at its best: exhilarating, funny, and unpredictable, sincere and probing, reminding us just how varied and colorful the threads of modern atheism are. Here is the transcript of that conversation, in print for the first time, augmented by material from the living participants: Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett. These new essays, introduced by Stephen Fry, mark the evolution of their thinking and highlight particularly resonant aspects of this epic exchange. Each man contends with the most fundamental questions of human existence while challenging the others to articulate their own stance on God and religion, cultural criticism, spirituality, debate with people of faith, and the components of a truly ethical life. Read by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Stephen Fry. Advance praise for The Four Horsemen “The full, electrifying transcript of the one and only conversation between the quartet of luminaries dubbed the ‘four horsemen’ of the New Atheism, which took place in Washington, D.C., in 2007. Among the vast range of ideas and questions they discuss: Is it ever possible to win a war of ideas? Is spirituality the preserve of the religious? And, are there any truths you would rather not know?”—The Bookseller (UK) (starred review) “If thinking were a sport, these four would be national superstars—and reading The Four Horsemen feels like having a front-row seat at the all-star game. This is more than a book about atheism and religion—it’s a lesson in how to use our intellect to cut through the haze of delusion and misconception inherent in any human society.”—Tim Urban, writer of Wait But Why?
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"interesting how each author came to the same conclusions independently. their ideas on faith v science are unarguable. i came to question how anyone could doubt the scientific process."
rusty (4 out of 5 stars)
About the Authors
Sam Harris is the author of the bestsellers The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, and Lying. The End of Faith won a 2005 PEN Award for nonfiction, and his writing has been published in over fifteen languages. Harris’ work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Atlantic, and Newsweek, among others. He is cofounder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA.
Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) was the author of Letters to a Young Contrarian and the bestseller No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, Atlantic Monthly, and Slate, he also wrote for the Weekly Standard, National Review, and Independent and appeared on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Chris Matthew’s Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. He was named one of the world’s “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy and Britain’s Prospect.
Richard Dawkins, an acclaimed biologist, is a fellow of the Royal Society and was the inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Selfish Gene, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth.
DANIEL DENNETT is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of several books including, Consciousness Explained, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Breaking the Spell, and From Bacteria to Bach and Back.
About the Narrators
Stephen Fry is a celebrated actor, novelist, journalist, presenter, intellectual, wit, and winner of several award for narration. He has produced four novels and two volumes of autobiography and has written for radio shows and television. His television credits include Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder, and he hosted the BBC TV series QI.
C. Dennett is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts
University and the author of numerous books including Breaking the Spell,
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and Consciousness Explained.