On the final day of their frenzied tour (handing out copies of Is Christianity Good for the World? at every stop), tired of being prodded and wired and filmed and helicoptered, Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson were trundled into a train in Philadelphia and headed south for the District and their final climactic event. The organizers of this tour (and accompanying film) had not wanted to end with a formal debate. All too often, formal debates are the rhetorical equivalent of two fighters shadow-boxing in opposite corners struggling to impress the crowd with their respective bobs and weaves, but never actually meeting anywhere in the middle—anywhere where noses might end up bleeding. While this had not been true of the tour up to this point a different tone was needed for the finale.
Martin's Tavern in Georgetown was selected for the venue. This would not be an event involving blue blazers standing behind podiums beneath spastic fluorescent lighting. Nor would there be a moderator. The two men sat on stools at one end of the restaurant, the bar at their backs, and they faced off in front of a packed (and eating and drinking) house.
The guest list was necessarily tight, and the room was a blend of theologians and journalists, skeptics and believers, students and authors, as well as friends of both men and roaming cameramen.
The discussion was meant to focus on morality and (this being the final event), it was clear that Wilson would not be content unless Hitchens left with the truth wrapped around his neck. For his part, Hitchens attempted to maintain that morality is innate in humans, an evolved feature in a higher primate.