I haven't read the whole transcript through, yet, but here's the most memorable exchange for me thus far:
DAW: You know the great scene where old Theodore, the father, has two of his sons, Ilyusha and Ivan at the table. And he says to them directly, is there a God? And Ivan says no, there is not God. He asks Ilyusha, the young monk, is there a God? Ilyusha says there is. He follows. Is there immortality? Ivan says no, no immortality, Ilyusha says yes, there is. Now Ivan goes one step further then, and takes the cognac away from his father, and says without God, there will be no cognac, either. There would be no civilization at all if God had not been invented. Now I think that’s your claim, fair enough, that God was an invention?
CH: Yes, absolutely. It’s a manmade construct. It’s a reification of our peers, and also of our self-centeredness.
DAW: I guess what I am suggesting, and Dostoyevsky said himself in a letter he wrote after the book was finished, that he thinks he made better arguments than the atheists themselves had made. He was an honest man and a brilliant man, and in that taking away of the cognac and saying there can be no more civilization, I think he is absolutely correct in that civilization is connected directly to the religious impulse, and that what we are likely to see is a dissent into mere political power, as Waugh called it in his great novel Helena, power without grace. Maybe we can explore that later.
Hitchens has appeared weak to me in the past when it comes to addressing this type of argument. I'll be interested to see how he treats it when I've worked through the transcript.