Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dawkins vs God

We all know the great rivalries in boxing Louis and Schmeling, LaMotta and Robinson,Ali and Frazier, Ali and Foreman (which culminated in the Rumble in the Jungle), Hagler and Hearns, Ward and Gatti. But the realm of art and ideas also’s had its great bouts. Christopher Marlowe was killed in a fight at the tender age of 29, though not by the rival Shakespeare. Popper vs. Wittgenstein gained notoriety for the poker.   Llosa and Marquez came to blows over women and McCarthy vs Hellman was famous for Mary McCarthy’s quip about her opponent, “every word she writes is a lie including 'and' and 'the.'" William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow paired off in the Scopes Trial or Monkey Trial, as it was known. Shakespeare wasn’t around to defend himself when Tolstoy said to Chekhov that his plays were almost as bad as the bard’s. The recently deceased Carlos Fuentes got involved in a mud slinging contest with his old pal Octavio (Labyrinth of Solitude) Paz over politics that went right on to Paz’s death in l998. Gore Vidal and William Buckley similarly paired off over politics. Then of course there’s Jung and Freud whose contest over the metaphysical was recently dramatized in A Dangerous Method. Perhaps the greatest intellectual rivalry of all time is still drawing big crowds with Richard Dawkins coming close to knocking out God.

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