On Sept. 7, David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens met for a debate in Birmingham, Alabama. Hosted by the Fixed Point Foundation, the debate premise was "Atheism Poisons Everything," a spin off of the subtitle of Hitchens' book, "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything".
Arguing the affirmative was David Berlinski, a secular Jew and agnostic whose intellectual background ranges from mathematics to molecular biology. Arguing the negative was Christopher Hitchens, a prominent atheist and seasoned polemical journalist.
It makes complete sense to have the discussion - proponents of religion can certainly argue the benefits of a liturgical society with data points like who does the most to help people after natural disasters - religious groups, not atheist ones - but an argument has long been made that compassion is biological. But there are angry militants on both sides and neither religion nor biology escape untouched. This sounds like it would have been a heck of a debate.