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Chris Hitchens

Yesterday, Christopher Hitchens died. He was noteworthy as a public intellectual, pushing atheist positions as well as many others. I often found myself bothered by some of his particular outspoken positions (and his being philosophically Marxist without being socialist is the opposite permutation on rare axes than me); like PZ Meyers I feel he's often painted religion with too broad a brush. By my measure, religious claims are simply incorrect but not automatically deeply harmful; for Hitchens, removing religion immediately was a high priority in society, while for me it is a long-term goal to be achieved with "what comes next?" being a very strong concern (I generally am more fond of Dawkins).

In short, while Hitchens was much more of a hardliner than I am (I'm probably on the soft end for atheist hardliners), I think it was more than a personal loss that he died (although I occasionally had to deal with people assuming all atheists were as strident as he is with that same form of speech I often have to give about many other causes I care about: 「It's a big movement, we're not all the same..」).

I hope this and other future generations of atheists will continue to produce speakers who are bold, well-spoken, and inspirational (maybe a bit more careful/less vicious, but nobody's perfect).