Why Christopher Hitchens Was a Hero to Scientists

Yesterday marked five years since the passing of Christopher Hitchens, a writer with friends and admirers spanning the political spectrum, every age, gender and sex, and a range of professions and confessions. Those who’ve read and heard him speak know he was an Anglo-American political journalist, a cultural and literary critic, and a public intellectual who wrote, among an array of outlets, a column for the left-wing magazine The Nation, as well as one for Vanity Fair, and authored such provocative books as The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice as well as the bestselling polemic, god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. The New Yorker profiled him. You might say he was universally—though certainly not unanimously—loved.

But perhaps the peak of admiration for Hitchens flows from those who most identify with the two following qualities: a reverence for science and philosophy, and a conviction that both should be the basis of personal belief and ethics in society.

Take Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University, and the author of the 2012 book A Universe from Nothing: Why There’s Something Rather Than Nothing, who confessed to being stunned and grateful to have been Hitchens’ friend. At the writer’s Washington, D.C

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