Dr. Richard Carrier

No, Paul Was Not a Relative of the Herods

There is a theory going around that is confusing many lay people because the pushers of the theory are amateurs who aren’t informed themselves, or are not correctly informing, the public about any of the pertinent facts: the notion that we can “prove” Paul was a Roman agent intentionally setting Christians up to be subservient… The post No, Paul Was…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

The Argument to the Ontological Whatsit (and the Foolery of Frank Turek & Tricia Scribner)

Time for some traditional counter-apologetics this holiday season. Today I tackle a dumb Christian argument atheists often have a hard time even understanding (because it’s so dumb, they aren’t thinking dumbly enough to get it). Frank Turek (of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist fame—on which see Lowder) calls this The Strongest… The post The Argument to…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Galatians 1:19, Ancient Grammar, and How to Evaluate Expert Testimony

In Sense and Goodness without God I discuss the evidence ladder (section II.3): reason (logic and mathematics), empirical science, personal experience, historical facts, expert testimony, plausible inference, and pure faith. I show that faith is too unreliable to have any epistemic use, and that each succeeding method above it is more reliable than the one… The post Galatians 1:19, Ancient…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Reading Josephus on James: On Valliant Flunking Literary Theory

History as a field is primarily dependent on literary theory (at least the kind following historical models rather than aesthetic), because most evidence relevant to reconstructing history is textual, and the most crucial category of textual evidence is works of literature: ancient historians, philosophers, orators, propagandists, mythographers, hymnists, epistolators, and the like. All this literature… The post Reading Josephus on…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

What Does It Mean to Call Consciousness an Illusion?

A question is being asked a lot lately: how can the most prominent position held by scientists and philosophers be that consciousness doesn’t exist? Obviously consciousness exists. It’s literally the only thing you can know with absolute 100% certainty. “I think, therefore I am.” Cartesian knowledge. That you are experiencing certain things right now is… The post What Does It…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Rome vs. China: What Made the Difference?

It’s often asked, why did the Scientific Revolution occur only in Europe and not China? By which I shall here mean what I explain in my book The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire as the normalization of effective scientific methods across (at least literate) society. As I document there, the Roman Empire at its… The post Rome vs. China:…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Three Common Tactics of Cranks, Liars, and Trolls

You might have noticed a shift over the past few years in how I address apologists, propagandists, kooks, and various disinformation scoundrels, toward laying out not just that they are wrong (their facts are bogus; their logic is hosed), but the underlying methodologies they are using that guarantee they’ll be wrong, methods distinctive only to… The post Three Common Tactics…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

A Trivial Digression on the Crucifixion of Prometheus

Before the rise of Christianity, indeed even before Christianity adopted a crucifix as a symbol (which didn’t happen for at least one and probably two or three centuries after it began), there was a well-known painting in antiquity depicting the god Prometheus…crucified. I won’t be arguing anything from this about Christianity. There is no known… The post A Trivial Digression…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

The Objective Value Cascade

In the movie Serenity, the crew of a spaceship far in humanity’s future discover the lost planet Miranda, where they discover a dark secret: that a government drug used on its population to make them docile and compliant, actually removed all desires of any kind, with the result that everyone just sat at their desks,… The post The Objective Value…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Doing the Math: Historicity of Jesus Edition

I am a Bayesian epistemologist. And in line with the independent findings of the philosopher of history Aviezer Tucker, I developed and applied under peer review a way to model historical reasoning with Bayes’ Theorem (method, in Proving History; application, in On the Historicity of Jesus), because that allows us to see the actual logic… The post Doing the Math:…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

How to Correctly Employ Bayesian Probabilities to Describe Historical Reasoning (Jesus Edition)

I recently did a quick forty minute debate on the historicity of Jesus with Canadian Catholic (with James Is Tired capably moderating), which was remarkably content-rich for such a truncated timeline. The overall takeaway was that Canadian Catholic wasn’t correctly applying Bayesian probability assignments to the evidence of the New Testament (we ended up focusing… The post How to Correctly…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? Dr. Carrier’s Third Reply

This continues the Carrier-Bali debate. See introduction, comments policy, index, and Bali’s opening statement in Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? A Debate with Paul Bali; after that is my first response, Bali’s first reply; my second; and Bali’s third. To which I now respond. At Dr. Bali’s request, this shall conclude the formal component… The post Should Science Be…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? Dr. Bali’s Second Reply

This continues the Carrier-Bali debate. See introduction, comments policy, and Bali’s opening statement in Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? A Debate with Paul Bali; and after that is my first response, Bali’s first reply; and my second. To which Dr. Bali now responds. Against the Scientific Use of Animals — Part III — by… The post Should Science Be…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? Dr. Carrier’s Second Reply

This continues the Carrier-Bali debate. See introduction, comments policy, and Bali’s opening statement in Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? A Debate with Paul Bali; as well as my first response to that In Defense of the Scientific Use of Animals, and Bali’s first reply. In Defense of the Scientific Use of Animals — Part… The post Should Science Be…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? Dr. Bali’s First Reply

This continues the Carrier-Bali debate. See introduction, comments policy, and Bali’s opening statement in Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? A Debate with Paul Bali; as well as my first response to that In Defense of the Scientific Use of Animals. Against the Scientific Use of Animals — Part II — by Paul Bali, Ph.D…. The post Should Science Be…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? Dr. Carrier’s First Reply

This continues the Carrier-Bali debate. See introduction, comments policy, and Bali’s opening statement in Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? A Debate with Paul Bali. I am grateful to have a professional philosopher debating this subject and I thank Dr. Paul Bali for engaging it. I’ve found it’s more personable and collegial if I call… The post Should Science Be…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Should Science Be Experimenting on Animals? A Debate with Dr. Paul Bali

Beginning today and for the next few weeks I will be engaging a formal debate here with philosopher Paul Bali on the morality of the scientific use of animals. Dr. Bali teaches philosophy at Ryerson University, in Toronto, and has taught at the University of Toronto, Trent University, and Ontario Tech. He has a PhD… The post Should Science Be…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Everything Is a Trolley Problem

Ah the infamous Trolley Problem. So ubiquitous, we find it meaningfully featured even in the television show The Good Place. A lot people people don’t like the Trolley Problem. Its very existence vexes them. They’d rather complain about how it supposedly doesn’t teach us anything and we can just sweep it under the rug as… The post Everything Is a…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Debating the Authenticity of Daniel: Methodological Analysis of Sheffield’s Case

I shall here critically analyze Jonathan Sheffield’s new attempt to defend the authenticity of Daniel (which I published Saturday). We’ll then discuss it on MythVision this October 2 (10am PST / 1pm EST). Thoughtful or constructive comments are strongly encouraged on both this and Sheffield’s entry. Why a Jewish Records Argument for the Authenticity of… The post Debating the Authenticity…

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Dr. Richard Carrier

Debating the Authenticity of Daniel: A Discussion with Jonathan Sheffield

In May I published How We Know Daniel Is a Forgery and discussed a debate on the topic involving my Anglican friend Jonathan Sheffield, who has now produced an attempt at a rebuttal, his best case for Daniel being authentic after all. We have arranged to engage a discussion about it. Below I publish his… The post Debating the Authenticity…

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