Collision Preview

You might have heard about the new Collision movie. It’s a documentary from Christian punk-rocker/filmmaker Darren Doane who follows Christopher Hitchens & Doug Wilson while they go on a debate tour. It looks like an interesting film and is getting some attention in the reformed Christian circles.

I’ve seen a couple trailers in the past but honestly, it looked really amateur and I didn’t give it much thought. But I recently noticed that Darren has posted the first 13 minutes of the film, and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw:

What do you think about it? Is it something you plan on seeing?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Judging from the cover image: good job of trimming that nose hair!

    There’s a reason professional cinematographers make good money.

    • JK

      No no the nose hair trimming is hellfire starting to burn up his nose because he is a @#&* atheist!
      (just kidding of course :) )

  • http://defiantskeptic.wordpress.com/ Alex

    Looks good, yeah, I think I’ll see it. Now I want to read the book, too.

  • Siveambrai

    At one point around 6 minutes in they use a quote from Hitchens that only one of them can win and the other must lose completely.

    I would argue that while it makes for a great talking point is not actually true. How often does this show up in the evolution/creationism debate where many people walk away and the supporters of both sides say they won. With views as embedded as these it often is the same way. Supporters can’t possibly admit defeat and will say that they always won.

    • Tobytwo

      Isn’t his point that there is no bridge on which they can meet half-way?

      This is a challenge with such embedded views, but not an insurmountable one. Just look to many of this site’s readers for plenty of examples of former supporters of religion who admitted defeat.

  • Nick

    No, I don’t think I’ll bother to see this. They’re framing this debate as some sort of titanic heavyweight clash, with both sides swinging from equally strong positions. Absolute bollocks. Wilson is superficially correct when he says that every position is a faith position; that would put him and Hitchens on even footing. What he, I think dishonestly, glosses over, is the fact that some faith positions are achieved through reason, and supported by evidence, whereas others are categorically not. Hitchens has the weight of reason and evidence, and Wilson’s arguments, however well-spoken, proceed from, invariably, unsupported faith. To return to the boxing analogy, both fighters have superb technique, but only one has any weight behind his punches.

    • Custador

      Agree. From this first few minutes I can’t see the point. Go watch Dawkins debate just about any theist you like and you’ll learn more, imho.

    • Triften

      Wilson has a standard misunderstanding of how axioms work.

  • http://mitchmcdad.com Mitch McDad

    I’ll see it. I can’t get enough Hitchens.

    • Custador

      Generally I find his demeanor to be too confrontational to be productive. It’s like he’s trying to embarasse theists into seeing reason. I much prefer Dawkins, who I think is the more reasoned and balanced of the two.

      • http://camelswithhammers.com Camels With Hammers

        Ha! You must be a different Custador than the one who wrote The reason that I don’t allow for the possibility that my cousin might be right? Because he clearly isn’t! ID has been proven in a court of law to be pure invention, and I have seen the evidence which proves it. It’s just creationism re-branded, and creationism is just plain wrong – and has been proven to be wrong beyond any shadow of a doubt by so many people, so many times that, frankly, if you still believe it to be true then you genuinly are a phuking idiot! on my blog! ;)

        Seriously though, this is an issue that I find particularly frustrating because I teach philosophy and write philosophy and mockery and attempts to embarrass one’s opponents is usually quite the opposite of what doing philosophy entails. That’s not always the case of course—there are characteristically ironic and sarcastic philosophers among the ranks of the greats (Socrates, Kiekegaard, Nietzsche, and the members of the Cynic tradition being chief among them). But, as a rule, philosophers aspire to find and test the best arguments for a viewpoint rather than the worst and to argue with clear and precise reasons rather than to simply laugh and dismiss opponents or (worse) hold them in contempt or try to embarrass them.

        But the problem with the issue of faith is that its proponents are actively attacking reason itself (as Wilson does painfully stupidly in this video) and when someone attacks reason itself and is obtuse to logic and other forms of rational implication, then at a certain point, precisely this dangerous example of flouting the demands of reason needs to be called out as sheer stupidity and if mockery and embarrassment are the necessary means for warning onlookers that trying to undermine reason itself leads to being shamed, then maybe that’s a necessary tactic.

        What it boils down to, at least in part, is that we learn to accept moral and intellectual standards in no small part due to praise and shame, honor and blame, and other conditioning of our emotions to associate some habits with social acceptance and others with social rejection.
        Faith has such a death grip on so many minds because on a deep level their emotions have been conditioned by the forces of tradition to associate their desire to be accepted by their community with their loyalty to it and they feel the need to acknowledge faith as important as an important way of proving that loyalty.

        What makes Hitchens so invaluable is that he centers his attack on ethics and makes clear that this is a moral conflict and that some of our virtues (those of honesty, intellectual humility, rationalism) are in genuine conflict with faith and loyalty, both of which he takes to be vices. He is trying to shift the public perception of what is shameworthy, what is cause for embarrassment, because the general human mind has it completely backwards. The mockery is part of this larger project of trying to change our practices of honoring and shaming from religious ones and religiously based ones to rationalistic and rationalistically based ones. The mockery serves the part of conditioning people to think twice before they spout nonsense. They’ve long been encouraged to parrot empty bullshit for social acceptance (with varying degrees of conviction from person to person). I think the world needs its share of Hitchenses out there giving emotional pushes in the other direction.

        I wish it were a situation where the debate was only between competing reasons on two sides with no need for mockery and emotional appeals. But religion binds emotionally and for many of us (including for me when I reflect on my own process of breaking free) it takes some emotional appeals to unbind us.

        • Custador

          No, that was me. And I personally don’t think I was being confrontational – I was stating an observed and provable fact.

          • http://camelswithhammers.com Camels With Hammers

            yes, you were stating an observable and provable fact—in a confrontational manner by calling him a “phuking idiot” for thinking the creationism issue unresolved.

            I don’t see how Hitchens gives any fewer good reasons for his positions than you give for yours or is any more confrontational in manner of presentation.

            • http://camelswithhammers.com Camels With Hammers

              and, again, I don’t think either you or Hitchens (or the rest of us) are necessarily wrong to be confrontational, faith is inculcated emotionally and so in some ways needs to be confronted that way (whether that’s for good or for ill).

            • Custador

              Fair point…. He was a phuking idiot, though ;)

  • Tyro

    I generally find these debates insufferably tedious. They’re anti-intellectual circle jerks meant to obscure the truth rather than expose it. This video is no better except now this seedy pursuit gets billed as some monumental clash, adding that extra layer of self-deception to choke out those few whose airways haven’t already filled with vomit.

    But you know, maybe just not my cup of tea.

    • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

      I’m curious why you think these debates are ‘anti-intellectual’ and also how do you think they ‘obscure the truth’?

      Do you believe they are having discussions without merit for the sole purpose to create discourse in order to sell books?

      • Tyro

        The apologist is there to undermine science and scepticism in order to create a gap to wedge their god into and the sceptic lends credibility, tacitly supporting the whole endeavour. It is about as far from a careful and considered evaluation of evidence and reason as can be imagined. How can this not be anti-intellectual?

        I think they have many reasons for doing these shows. So what, gold star for misguided effort? The format is only useful for obscuring the truth by blinding the audience with so much BS that no one can cope.

        • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

          Of course I agree that the apologist undermines a great number of intellectual endeavors in order to make their belief “fit”, but I don’t see how the skeptic lends credibility. If you mean they do so by not berating them personally and publicly at each and every encounter because they view the apologists irrational beliefs as a sign they are mentally ill and shouldn’t even be speaking in such a forum, then perhaps they aren’t doing quite enough to put out the fire. However, I see the reality as each of the new atheists are not doing exactly that because they seem to believe that (as Harris vocalizes more often than the others) this subject needs to be discussed out in the open, and if that means allowing the apologist to appear at least somewhat on a similar level intellectually (at least going into it) by not going step-by-step down the logic tree with everything they say, then that’s what has to happen.

          Wouldn’t you think that if the atheist in these debates left nothing off the table and completely shot down the believers ability to think rationally at every meeting that perhaps not only would the people willing to enter into debate no longer continue, but also would people willing to listen, and each debater would just go back to ‘preaching to the choir’, where of course nothing is accomplished in this endeavor.

  • DJ Tower

    My concern is that this is a movie produced by a christian. As much as they might want to try and be neutral, IF that is even one of their goals, there is going to be a bias against the unbeliever and for the christian. I would prefer a much more neutral filmmaker. Video clips, movies, books, audio and many other types of media like this clip make it look like it is going to be an honest look at the controversy but end up being revealed as an hour long “soul winning” device that just solidifies christian belief and bias. I hope this movie is NOT that.

    • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

      I worried about this too, but the two previews on the site seem to almost feature Hitchens as he spouts some pretty big points. Of course this could always be turned around in a way that tries to show him as a mad man in the film.

      I think it would be difficult for anyone to not be biased when making a film like this. Most anyone would side with one or the other.

      • DJ Tower

        I agree that there would be at least some bias no matter who would produce it. However, a non-christian would be preferred. That is not to say that I would want an atheist to produce it but rather someone who hasn’t or wouldn’t have much of an opinion either way. I can only hope.

        I thought the previews looked good too but then, that is the way to get us heathens to watch this movie so that we can be hammered with the “good news of the gospel.” I have my concerns. I probably will see it. Maybe I’ll be surprised.

        • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

          Surely the ideal situation would be for someone that doesn’t have much of an opinion either way to make it. I just couldn’t imagine that very often a person that spectates multiple debates on a subject wouldn’t end up with a viewpoint leaning one way or another.

          • Daniel Florien

            A person without an opinion on such a matter wouldn’t be interested enough to do the film justice.

            • http://camelswithhammers.com Camels With Hammers

              I don’t know… I think it’s really about the quality of the filmmaker. You could take a talented filmmaker who has just never worked through the issues enough to have a settled opinion and who finds Hitchens’s many novel insights and Wilson’s explicit theories of presuppositionalism to be relatively unfamiliar approaches to the issue worth exploring.

              Good filmmakers, especially documentarians, seem to develop passionate interests as part of filmmaking rather than necessarily ahead of it.

  • Michael

    Doug Wilson seems to understand the debate, which could make this an interesting film. 99% of the “debates” you see are so one-sided because the religious nut really doesn’t understand at all what’s going on.

    That said, I think Wilson’s faith would be pretty hard to uphold. For one thing, almost any argument he could make for why he holds to his faith is going to be based in some way on reason, which is a major concession that even he holds logic to be more fundamental than faith. On the other hand, if he cannot give a logical reason to subscribe to Christianity, than he is making a major concession that he is merely Christian because he feels like it or because his parents were Christian.

    Further, this view is vulnerable to the question of why THIS religion? There are so many very slightly different religions, that accepting one of them seems incredibly arbitrary and even arrogant. What bothers me is that he says that there is no logical way to choose a religion, but then condemns everybody who doesn’t accept his particular brand of it. How unjust!

    Of course, no matter how he bases his epistemology, he is going to have to respond to the fact that Christianity is fundamentally inconsistent, a problem which I don’t think he will be able to resolve.

    That said, I don’t like the way they pulled evolution into this. Despite what Dawkins will tell you, the debates are vastly different. Not accepting evolution is, in essence, not accepting science at all, because it is so trivial to prove beyond any reasonable doubt the continual occurrence of evolution and even common ancestry with the basic scientific method.

  • http://deathgrindfreak@blogspot.com Grindfreak

    Love the soundtrack so far, Russian Circles kicks ass…

  • Kristen Potter

    I’ll keep a look out for it on the internet. Quite recently I’ve been reading the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible site and highlighting certain things in the Bible. Now every time I hear someone same they derive their rationality and morality from the Bible, I see that they have no clue how disgusting that book really is. I ordered a Koran and Book of Mormon to do some highlighting as well. I know, I have a strange hobby. :P

  • http://atheistsandchristians.com Mike aka MonolithTMA

    Looks interesting. I always enjoy a civil discussion.

  • http://alliedatheistalliance.blogspot.com advertisinglies

    I think I would give this film a chance. I kind of invite the fact that it’s been made by a Christian – I feel like too often I view materials made by atheists for atheists and perhaps I’m missing out on arguments or points of view that I haven’t considered yet. I will say that I can sense the bias a bit when watching the film that been posted so far, but I also don’t think that’s a terrible thing – understanding the fundamentals of bias in opposing viewpoints certainly has its advantages in regard to better understanding people.

  • Olaf

    Well the movie itself seems very good but I am not interested.
    The film tries to give the impression that Christianity is still strong, but in reality science has eroded religion very much. Only a small core is trying to do their best to somehow push it on us like the Taliban is trying to push their religion on others. And Christianity is getting smaller and smaller compared to the Chinese and India.

  • Olaf

    There is some saying, don’t feed the trolls.

    This movie is doing this exactly, by discussing religion you are giving energy to those religious people because their religion is based on discussions and wordplay. These discussions and wordplay make religion stay a religion because it is all about convincing others that god is true. Not based on facts.

    If you stop giving energy to those religious people, and act like religion is just some fictional story like Lord of the Rings, then you do not end into a discussion. Scientists do not have to debate if the formula 1+1=2. It just is. There should not be a debate If god and religion is true. The outcome is already known, and I might still take another 200 years for the religious to realize it too.

    • blueblazes

      I totally agree. I wish non-theists would finally come out and say “We’re bored with you. We have more important things to address in this country.” , and shut them out of the conversation.
      Unfortunately, they have a very powerful (or wealthy) christian lobby in our government, that has all but nullified separation of church and state, and largely created this neo-conservative psychosis.
      If their lobby weren’t so strong, I’m sure they would be almost ignored. Dawkins could stick to writing about evolution, and Hitchens could….do what he Hitchens does, write about history and foreign policy I suppose. In fact there probably wouldn’t be a so many atheist blogs, but that would kind of suck too. lol

  • Travis

    While I may not be as interested in seeing the film on its own merits, I’m sure I will watch it with some of my Christian friends in order to spark some critical thinking and good natured debate. I find it is much easier to discuss matters of faith if it becomes de-personalized and we can discuss two outside points of view, instead of the “you versus me” mentality.

  • http://twitter.com/garyd Just Some Guy

    Well, it’s always nice to see more exposure for the simple /act/ of questioning these beliefs which are (in America and elsewhere) so deeply ingrained. The documentary might not be groundbreaking, in particular, but again just the fact that there is a question to be asked needs more attention.

    As usual, American Christians react as if they never considered the fact that there is an alternate viewpoint as to whether Christianity is beneficial — this only emphasizes the importance of continuing to push (push push) the message out there: The Questions Must Be Asked.

  • Josh

    I’d watch it, looks entertaining. But I’d say “Christian punk” is an oxymoron.

  • http://www.badzen.net Rev E T Thompson

    I can already see this doc lacks truth. Not once did Hitchens take a drink. That’s not the Hitchens I know.

    • Custador

      …And Hitchen’s enjoying a drink is relevant because? Could it be that you can’t attack his arguments therefore you choose to attack the person making the arguments? Ah, that most over-used and invalid method of arguing, favourite of all religious wrong-wingers.

      • DDM

        I think he’s saying that, since Hitchens didn’t take a drink, Hitchens’ opponent was a pushover for him.

  • Michael

    I don’t think Douglas Wilson knows what reason means…..

  • http://jingreed.typepad.com/ Jing-reed

    For all of this talk about ‘god’, pro and con, I suggest that you might watch the YouTube video about the Hubble Ultra Deep Field [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAVjF_7ensg&feature=fvst ] showing that the Universe contains over 100 billion galaxies, and each of those galaxies contains over a billion stars. Now when we add to this the possible number of planets, the sheer numbers are staggering and mind boggling.

    It has always seemed to me a bit arrogant and presumptuous for a select part of mankind to decide that a ‘supreme being’ would pick one small speck of this gigantic universe, the Earth, on which to reveal itself as master of everything, and then only to a ‘chosen’ group of people. Just doesn’t make sense [to me]. But then I am not a christian, for whom faith is more important than objective reality.

    [Of course all of the other religions tells their own creation story, from their own perspective, which if anything certainly shows that, as humans, we are certainly imaginative.]

    • Custador

      Wait until first contact, when we have to deal with the aliens’ creation myths too! How do you see fundie xtians getting on with followers of The Great Green Arkleseizure? Should be a barrel of laughs!

      What I hope for is that the first aliens we encounter will look puzzled and say “You don’t still have people who believe in all that superstitious shite, do you? What idiots!”

  • http://evilburnee.co.uk PaulJ

    From what I’ve previously seen of Wilson I first thought this wouldn’t have much mileage in it, but if Hitchens is prepared to co-author a book and go on a book tour and make a film with him, then I’m prepared to give it a look.

    The preview seemed a bit tricksy, production-wise, but given that it’s presumably a film about a series of debates, plus some peripheral stuff, that’s probably acceptable (and might be necessary to spice up a narrative lacking in action).

    • http://camelswithhammers.com Camels With Hammers

      From this 13 minute clip anyway, I get the impression that Hitchens likes debating Wilson not at all because Wilson is a sophisticated thinker or defender of the faith but because Wilson represents a more unabashed and unalloyed version of precisely the kind of uncompromising fundamentalism that Hitchens is really targeting. In other words, he won’t be the mealy-mouthed, accommodating religious liberal who tries to claim Hitchens just doesn’t get what Christianity REALLY is about. Wilson’s Christianity looks to be the living breathing embodiment of the ugly, immoral, irrationalistic pinata that Hitchens is always swinging at.

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  • http://www.djmayonnaisehands.com David

    Great premise. Nice film. Looks very interesting. I hope the can get a budget and do some things and sound a little better.

    Interesting for those like me who is uncomfortable with faith or a complete lack of faith. One guy seems to believe everything.. the other nothing. Both are compelling and intelligent though.

  • http://www.aigburthcommunitychurch.org Steve

    Looks really interesting – does anyone know when it comes out or whether it’s out in the UK? There’s very little info on the website.

    Thanks for pointing it out.

  • http://luckyatheist.blogspot.com Mike Caton

    Yes, I would pay to see this.

    I like where it gets metal about 6:30. Props on soundtrack.

    Hitchens is the most valuable and contentious asset that atheism has at the moment. He clarifies and nuances arguments in a way that neither theists nor atheists typically do. That he is widely read outside the atheist world is totally unrelenting also helps.

  • Michael

    Its comes out October 27th apparently, check out the website – http://www.collisionmovie.com/


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