Talk:Richard Carrier

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon atheism.svg

This Atheism related article has not received a brainstar for quality. Please consider expanding the article appropriately. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Steelbrain.png
Icon sociology.svg This article contains information about one or more living persons.

Articles about living people must be handled carefully, because they are more open to legal threats.
Reference any contentious allegations solidly; unreferenced allegations should be removed.
If legal threats are raised on this page, please direct the potential litigant to RationalWiki:Legal FAQ; do not interact with them.

This looks like a glorified CV. :( --ZooGuard (talk) 10:08, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Which is a shame, because Carrier himself is an amazingly intelligent and all-around swell guy. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 10:11, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
With a few (former) problems with modern physics: [1] See Talk:Electric Universe for why this may be relevant.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:29, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

I added some more for y'all ^^ Brianpansky (talk) 15:48, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

-.-[edit]

FEREDIR. Тytalk 15:52, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Pseudostatistics[edit]

No mention of his pseudostatisical usage of Bayes Theorem to "disprove" god, seriously? — Unsigned, by: Sugarfrosted / talk / contribs

I see you also have a keyboard. WalkerWalkerWalker 13:43, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
If only he handled snakes, spoke in tongues and claimed to have had a near death experience...then he would be more believable to the faithful. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 16:28, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
He did not misuse Bayes's Theorem when arguing against the historicity of Jesus (I am not sure which instance you are referring to, where he used it to disprove "God"). Every person I have seen who who has argued that point has failed horribly. Bayes's Theorem is just formalised logic and all of the statistical inputs (i.e., fractions) he uses in his book are quite conservative (I only have one or two minor quibbles with a couple of them).— Unsigned, by: 110.174.137.169 / talk / contribs (on 29 May 2018, nearly 3 years after the previous comment).

possible vandalism incoming[edit]

IDK if this is the right place to put this, but somebody might want to be on guard for vandalism. Carrier caught out thunderf00t in a lie and now the thunder mentalists are after him (just think of that poor small business he had them destroy). His most recent effort is claiming Carrier lied about his publisher of On the Historicity of Jesus. (He said "by Sheffield University" instead of "at Sheffield university" a few times or some such, which they're trying to blow up into a conspiracy. ThebigJ A (talk) 05:13, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Problems[edit]

How many prominent skeptics can I still respect? Proxima Centauri (talk) 12:24, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Well, if you still do, you just don't know a lot of stories. Slymepit had its hand, again, in exposing certain problems in his tale. Schadenfreude is through the roof. Like in other cases before, Carrier was typecast in endless spoofs, based on his PUA poly attitudes and his legendary “in your face” information on Benson's blog. In addition, how does it look like that Carrier is an open poly relationship with the couple that each heads Camp Quest and SSA. You got to love American Secularism. ~ Aneris 14:49, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
Terrible news... I'm happy to hear that people are standing by the accusers. That being said, I'm very interested in hearing Carrier's side of the story. In the comments, PZ Myers also describes the whole thing as a "balancing act", which - if interpreted as the situation being shades of grey rather than white or black - is probably closest to the truth. Still, sad to hear. Thankfully, this doesn't affect the quality of his scholarship on the historicity of Jesus. But still, terrible to hear, and I'm glad the accusers have atleast voiced their concerns in order to open up the topic to closer scrutiny. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 15:55, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
...And here Carrier appears to comment on the situation in a blog post dated June 15th (that also contains many statements from him and others in the comments): http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/10267 Reverend Black Percy (talk) 16:05, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
...Apparently the reason why Carrier isn't commenting further right now is because an investigation was opened on the 15th as well (linked to by Carrier). It's too early to say yet, but as of now, he has presented evidence that he argues invalidates her account. We'll have to wait and see what further developments come. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 16:23, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
Richard Carrier is leaving Freethought Blogs, 'voluntarily' and it looks like there won't be an investigation. See Statement on Richard Carrier’s voluntary departure from our network. Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:34, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Important quote from PZ:

There was no “scorched earth”. We had reports of unacceptable behavior, and we had just begun an investigation, as part of that whole “due process” thing. We have other bloggers here who are polyamorous, and that is most certainly not an objection.

What you seem to have missed is that before the process could run its course, Carrier announced his departure. We didn’t kick him out; we didn’t even discuss kicking him out. We were at the stage where we were asking, “are these accounts true?”, when he left.

So nothing was actually "exposed". Makes me wonder why he left, though... To prevent that? Who knows. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 20:58, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Edit: Holy crap lol, Carrier threatened to SUE them? Man... Reverend Black Percy (talk) 20:59, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Edit 2: And threatened to expose sexual details of his accusers? If any of this is true, Carrier seems to have lost it. Or, the accusations are true. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:01, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Edit 3: Wait, something was exposed. I think. Because here PZ basically says that the accusations are true - or am I misreading that? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:08, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Edit 4: Carrier's Twitter links to here with the title "On the recent Defamation of my Character". Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:10, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

Put back. FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 13:17, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Myers seems to be saying he doesn't know one way or the other about the accusations. Proxima Centauri (talk) 12:38, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
He has no reason for this, since he (and Carrier himself) -- like everyone else from that faction -- have shut that door a long time ago. Carrier additional also with his idiotic Bayes nonsense. Interestingly, at the peak, the male opinion leaders at FTB were PZ Myers, Richard Carrier and Jason Thibeault. And ALL of them were accused of sexual harassment at one point. ALL(!) of them. The other (female) opinion leaders (Christina, Benson, Zvan, Moglievsky) moved on after a few SJ typical shisms. Benson was declared a Terf by them, the remaining ones moved to the Orbit. Note how you find none of that on the RationalWiki, but I am sure the culturally appropriated Sushi from a random New Atheist is meticulously documented and condemned as racist. ~ Aneris 17:20, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Dr. Richard Carrier Has Sued Several Atheists and Their Blogging Networks on Charges of Defamation. Proxima Centauri (talk) 07:06, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
"Idiotic Bayes nonsense"... Perhaps you have a problem with logical reasoning? All he does with his use of Bayes's theorem is formalise basic logical reasoning for the purpose of weighing probabilities and reaching conclusions. It's what we do in a much less organised and precise way in our heads, if yours is screwed on properly. I agree with your deeper point about the biased nature of the articles of particular people on RationalWiki. The Carrier article has been kept clean and free of inconvenient accusations, while pages of people who disagree with various tenets of "social justice" have pages that appear to have been written by angry children who are trying to be funny.

The 48 elements in Carrier's book[edit]

I thought having a baseline of Carrier's 48 elements would be a good idea:

Element 1. The earliest form of Christianity definitely known to us originated as a Jewish sect in the region of Syria-Palestine in the early first century CE. (pp. 65-6)

Element 2. When Christianity began Judaism was highly sectarian and diverse. (p. 66) Element 3. (a) When Christianity began, many Jews had long been expecting a messiah: a divinely chosen leader or saviour anointed . . . to help usher in God’s supernatural kingdom, usually (but not always) by subjugating or destroying the enemies of the Jews and establishing an eternal paradise. (b) If these enemies were spiritual powers the messianic victory would have been spiritual; or both, as in the Enochic literature. (c) Jewish messianic expectations were widespread, influential and very diverse. (pp. 66-7)

Element 4. (a) Palestine in the early first century CE was experiencing a rash of messianism. There was an evident clamoring of sects and individuals to announce they had found the messiah. (b) Christianity’s emergence at this time was therefore no accident. It was part of the zeitgeist. (c) Christianity’s long-term success may have been simply a product of natural selection. (pp. 67-73)

Element 5. Even before Christianity arose some Jews expected one of their messiahs heralding the end-times would be killed before the final victory. (pp. 73-81)

Element 6. The suffering-and-dying servant of Isaiah 52-53 and the messiah of Daniel 9 have numerous logical connections with the “Jesus/Joshua Rising” figure in Zechariah 3 and 6. (pp. 81-83)

Element 7. (a) The pre-Christian book of Daniel was a key messianic text, laying out what would happen and when, partly inspiring much of the messianic fervour of the age. (b) The text was widely known and widely influential, widely regarded as scripture by early Christians. (pp. 83-87)

Element 8. (a) Many messianic Jewish sects were searching the (Hebrew and Greek) scriptures for secret messages. (b) It follows that the Jews who became the first Christians had been searching the scriptures this way this long before they became Christians. (pp. 87-88)

Element 9. The early first century concept of scriptures embraced not only writings that became canonized but many more works, many of which no longer exist; further, of those that do still exist, including canonical texts, the early first century versions were sometimes quite different in details. Texts in places were been modified, changed, before their canonical versions were finally settled. (p. 88-92)

Element 10. Christianity began as a Jewish messianic cult preaching a spiritually victorious messiah. (pp. 92-96)

Element 11: The earliest definitely known form of Christianity was a Judeo-Hellenistic mystery religion. Element 12: From as early as we can ascertain, Christians belioeved they became 'brothers' of the Lord Jesus Christ through baptism. Element 13: Like all mystery cults, Christianity had secret doctrines that initiates were sworn never to reveal, and that would be talked about and written about publicly one in symbols, myths and allegories to disguise their true meaning (see Element 14)

Element 14: Mystery cults spoke of their beliefs in public through myths and allegory, which symbolised a more secret doctrine that was usually rooted in a more esoteric astral or metaphysical theology.

Element 15: Christianity began as a charismatic cult which many of its leaders and members displayed evidence of schizotypal personalities. They naturally and regularly hallucinated (seeing visions and hearing voices). Element 16: The earliest Christians claimed they knew at least some (if not all) facts and teachings of Jesus from revelation and scripture (rather than from witnesses), and they regarded these as more reliable sources than word-of-mouth. Element 17: The fundamental features of the gospel story of Jesus can be read out of the Jewish scriptures. Element 18: Jesus Christ was regarded as having fulfilled by his death (and thereby replacing) the two greatest Jewish religious sacrifices - Yom Kippur and Passover.

Element 19: The apostle Paul is the earliest known Christian writer, yet he did not know a living Jesus.

Element 20: The earliest known Christians proselytized Gentiles bu required them to convert to Judaism.

Element 21: Paul and other NT authors attest that there were many rival Christian sects and factions teaching different gospels throughout the 1st century.

Element 22: We have no credible or explicit record of what happened within the Christian movement between 64 and 95 CE (or possibly even as late as 110 CE), and the leadership of the Christian church had been catastrophically decimated by the beginning of that period.

Background to Christianity - The Context

Element 23: The Romans annexed Judea to the imperial province of Syria in 6 CE bringing the center of the holy land under direct control of the Roman government, ending sovereignity over Jerusalem and the temple of the Most High God, along with most of the Holy Land that had been promised by God to the Jews.

Element 24: (a) Owing to their vastly greater resources ( in minerals, money and manpower) and superior technical ability (in the training, equipping and supplying of their armies) the Romans were effectively invincible and could never be expelled from Judea by force or diplomacy.

Element 25: The corruption and moral decay of the Jewish civil and temple elite (regardless of to what extent it was actual or merely perceived) was a widespread target of condemnation and often a cause of factionalising among Jewish sects.

Element 26: For many Jews in the early first century (in accord with the previous element) the Jewish elite became the scapegoats for God's failed promises (in accord with elements 23 and 24): the reason God withheld their fulfilment (and instead allowed the Romans to rule) was imagined to be the Jewish elite's failure to keep God's commandments and govern justly (already a common theme throughout the OT, e.g. Jeremiah 23 and 25, the latter being the very prophecy whose 'mystery' is decoded in Daniel to produce the timetable that was now indicating the messiah would arrive in the early first century: Element 7).

Element 27: (a) The temple at Jerusalem most the central focus of most Jewish messianic hope (as, for the Samaritans, was Mount Gerizim), which entailed that as long as the 'corrupt' Jewish elite controlled it, God would continue Israel's 'punishment' (in accord with Elements 25 and 26), and as long as the Romans remained in power, the would maintain the corrupt Jewish elite's control of the temple. Accordingly (b) Jewish religious violence often aimed at seizing physical control of the temple and it's personnel.

Element 28: A spiritual solution to the physical conundrum to the Jews would have been a natural and easy thing to conceive at the time.

Element 29: [W]hat are now called 'Cargo Cults' are the modern movement most culturally and socially similar to earliest Christianity, so much so that Christianity is best understood in light of them. Element 30: Early-first century Judea was at the nexus of countless influences, not only from dozens of innovating and interacting Jewish sects (Element 2, and 33), but also pagan religions and philosophies. Element 31: Incarnate sons (or daughters) of a god who died and then rose from their deaths to become living gods granting salvation to their worshipers were a common and peculiar feature of pagan religion when Christianity arose, so much so that influence from paganism is the only plausible explanation for how a Jewish sect such as Christianity came to adopt the idea. Element 32: By whatever route, popular philosophy (especially Cynicism, and to some extent Stoicism and Platonism and perhaps Aristotelianism) influenced Christian teachings. Element 33: In addition to its pagan influences, Christianity was also (obviously) influenced by several Jewish sects (see, in general, Elements 1-5), and can be understood only in this context too.

Element 34: Popular cosmology at the dawn of the Common Era in the Middle East held that the universe was geocentric and spherical and divided into many layers (see Chapter3, Section 1), with the first layer of 'heaven' often called the 'firmament' (being the foundation holding up all the others) and consisting of all the air beneath the earth and the moon (or sometimes the same term only meant the topmost part of this: the sphere travelled by the moon).

Element 35: Popular cosmology of the time also held that the sub-heaven, the firmament, was a region of corruption and change and decay, while the heavens above were pure, incorruptible and changeless.

Element 36: Because of this division between the perfect unchanging heavens and the corrupted sub-lunar world, most religious cosmologies required intercessory beings, who bridge the gap between those worlds, so God need no descend and mingle with corruption.

Element 37: The lowest heaven, the firmament, the region of corruption and change was popularly thought to be teeming with invisible spirits (pneuma or psychai) and demons (daimones, or daimonia), throughout the whole space, who controlled the elements and powers of the universe there, meddle in the affairs of man, and do battle with one another.

Element 38: (a) In this same popular cosmology, the heavens, including the firmament, were not empty expanses but filled with all manner of things, including palaces and gardens, and it was possible to be buried there.

Element 39: (a) In this cosmology there were also two Adams: one perfect celestial version, of which the earthly version (who fathered the human race) is just a copy.

Element 40: [T]he Christian idea of a preexistent spiritual son of God called the Logos, who was God's true high priest in heaven, was also not a novel idea but already held by some pre-Christian Jews; and this preexistent spiritual son of God had already been explicitly connected with a celestial Jesus figure in the OT (discussed in Element 6), and therefore some Jews already believed there was a supernatural son of God named Jesus--because Paul's contemporary Philo interprets the messianic prophecy of Zech. 6.12 in just such as way. Element 41: The 'Son of Man' (an apocalyptic title Jesus is given in the Gospels) was another being foreseen in the visions of Enoch to be a preexistent celestial superman whom God will one day put in charge of the universe, overthrowing all demonic power, and in a text that we know the first Christians used as scripture (1 Enoch). Element 42: There is a parallel tradition of a perfect and eternal celestial High Priest named Melchizidek, which means in Hebrew 'Righteous King'. We have already seen that a celestial Jesus was already called Righteous and King by some pre-Christian Jews.

Element 43: (a) Voluntary human sacrifice was widely regarded (by both pagans and Jews) as the most powerful salvation and atonement magic available.

Element 44: In Jewish and pagan antiquity, in matters of religious persuasion, fabricating stories was the norm, not the exception, even in the production of narratives purporting to be true. Element 45: A popular version of this phenomenom in ancient faith literature was the practice of euhemerization: the taking of a cosmic god and placing him at a definite point in history as an actual person who was later deified.

Element 46: Ancient literature also proliferated a variety of model 'hero' narratives, some of which the Gospel Jesus conforms to as well; and one of these hero-types was widely revered among pagans: the pre-Christian narratives of the life and death of Socrates and Aesop.

Element 47: Another model hero narrative, which pagans also revered and to which the Gospel Jesus conforms, is the apotheosis, or 'ascension to godhood' tale, and of these the one to which the Gospels (and Acts) most conform is that of the Roman national hero Romulus.

Element 48: Finally, the most ubiquitous model 'hero' narrative, which pagans also revered and to which the Gospel Jesus also conforms, is the fable of the 'divine king', what I call the Rank-Raglan hero-type.

Yes it is a little long but having a base idea on what he is arguing looked like a good idea--BruceGrubb (talk) 11:34, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

Unless you used c+p, you deserve a drink for typing that. (Carrier's book is excellent, btw.) --Scherben (talk) 20:29, 4 October 2018 (UTC)

Mythicist thesis[edit]

The New Gathercole Article on Jesus Certainly Existing”. Richard Carrier Blogs. 27 February 2019.

[Per Christians] the original belief was indeed that Jesus became a human man, wearing a body of Jewish (indeed Davidic) flesh formed by God, in fulfillment of prophecy, long enough to be crucified in it by demonic powers, all to effect God’s cosmic plan to stymie Satan. The question is not whether the original Christians taught or believed that had happened, but where they believed that had happened.
[...]
[Per Jesus] by “existed” we mean actually, not in local belief. Certainly even on mythicism Paul and the first Christians believed Jesus existed. In just the same way they believed Satan existed, and lived in the sky; they would have believed exactly the same of Jesus. We only now say that means Jesus never existed, because we know sky lords don’t exist. If we conclude the evidence shows that’s what Christians believed, then we would know Jesus no more existed than Satan did. But that’s not a description of what they believed. They felt they were receiving revelations from Jesus. That was all they needed to prove to them he existed. But that is not valid historical evidence that any god or spirit actually exists.

Dbz (talk) 14:28, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

New Lawsuits[edit]

His previous lawsuits, placed from Ohio, were thrown out. Now he's suing Amy Frank in Arizona, PZ Myers in Minnesota, and Lauren Lane and Skepticon in Missouri. Carrier is also representing himself. In states with anti-SLAPP. This is bound to go well. (Source: https://skepchick.org/2019/05/prominent-atheist-sues-everyone-shares-intimate-details-of-sex-life-with-court-of-law/) — Unsigned, by: 2600:1700:8d11:a90:c34:c3fb:ad2a:f2dc / talk 18:14, 10 May 2019‎

Carrier abandoned his latest lawsuit in November 2019 https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/11/25/we-win/

Cited Source Does not Contain Information Claimed[edit]

The section on sexual harassment states that the subject 'attempted to trade sex for a graduate school recommendation letter' and supports this statement by citing an affidavit in Carrier vs. Freethought Blogs Network.[2] That document does not seem to contain this information, but a page on the subject's own site has screenshots from an email exchange with a woman who jokingly offers sex for a reference letter, and states that he did write such letters for her "before and during" a sexual relationship[3]. Shouldn't we cite the actual source and the exact skeevy thing he says he did?

Its not even buried in a long rambling PDF, he has a short webpage stating that he did something which is against most codes of professional ethics. — Unsigned, by: Polydamas / talk / contribs

This section needs serious straightening out, to bio of a living person standards. Particularly bio of a litigious living person standards. I'm not touching it myself, but we need to get it right, obviously - David Gerard (talk) 22:40, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
Well, I tried, taking time to track down all the gory details, and Oxyaena reverted it seconds later. Edit wars are not my thing, best wishes to someone else who cares to get it right.— Unsigned, by: Polydamas / talk / contribs
@Oxyaena, What is the problem that you had with Polydamas' edit? Bongolian (talk) 18:46, 16 January 2020 (UTC)