I liked Richard Carrier, past tense


If you hadn’t heard, Richard Carrier is suing FreeThought Blogs, Skepticon, The Orbit, and several individuals for two million dollars. To learn more, I recommend an episode on the Atheistically Speaking Podcast [eta: correction] about it. If you are interested in helping the defendants, you may contribute to the defense fund here. (Note that I am not personally liable since FreeThought Blogs is incorporated as an LLC.)

The primary subject of the lawsuit is defamation. Since I do not want to repeat any remarks that would risk me getting sued (and apparently merely referring to accusations against Carrier is sufficient), I will simply quote Richard Carrier himself.

In June of 2016, Amy Frank accused me of sexual assault and sexual harassment at a house party the morning after I spoke for her campus organization in Arizona last year.

Skepticon Inc. published an announcement that I was dangerous because of multiple claims against me and that I was therefore banned from their conference.

Stephanie Zvan of The Orbit and PZ Myers of Freethought Blogs both claim they have spoken to “two other women” who have made claims against me. They released no details about those claims, just conclusory statements whose truth cannot be assessed.

(Source: “The Details of my Defamation Case” by Richard Carrier. I won’t link.)

Contrary to what Carrier says, it is not clear to me that Amy Frank or anyone else accused him of sexual assault. Carrier’s lawsuit makes the tenuous argument that Amy Frank implied sexual assault by using the hashtag #sexualassault. Note that sexual harassment and sexual assault are offenses of very different orders of magnitude. In the US, sexual harassment is illegal only when it is frequent or severe. Small isolated incidents of sexual harassment are not illegal.

To be honest, the incident that disgusted me most about Richard Carrier was not in any of the accusations, and not in the lawsuit. I was disgusted by what Richard Carrier himself admitted in the process of defending himself.

I merely sent [redacted] one letter expressing my interest in them. […]

[redacted] was bothered by my query because it occurred soon after they had joined the same blog network I was then part of, and because they had past grievances against me, which [redacted] listed (none pertaining to [redacted], nor harassment, nor anything I’d heard from them before).

(Source: “The Details of my Defamation Case” by Richard Carrier. Emphasis mine, and redactions made to obscure identity.)

Here, Carrier admits expressing interest to a newly accepted member of FreeThought Blogs. You know, it was less than a year ago that I was a newly accepted member of FreeThought Blogs. I also have reason to believe that Carrier was part of the reason I was admitted onto the network. Imagine that you just got a job, and then someone on the hiring committee asked you on a date. That’s how I feel about this.

Richard Carrier is of course very sorry for the incident, as well as several other incidents he has admitted, but apparently not sorry enough to call off his lawyer. Asshole.

Richard Carrier used to live in Northern California, near where I live. I’ve met him before. I saw him give a talk related to his book Hitler Homer Bible Christ. I found the talk very entertaining and enlightening. I even recommended him to my local atheist student group as a potential speaker.

Over the years, I have heard many grievances against Richard Carrier, most of which I dismiss. Carrier argued extensively that Jesus did not exist; I am not inclined to agree with Jesus mythicism, but I definitely think it is a worthwhile scholarly project. I’ve been told that Carrier had some misguided ideas about physics; I have seen his ideas and agree they are terribly misguided, but I don’t believe that being wrong about physics makes someone a terrible human being. I know that Carrier has asked, on his blog, whether anyone is interested in a date; I find this strange but not wrong.

Nonetheless, because of the recent accusations against Carrier, and Carrier’s responses to those accusations, I am disgusted with him.  I don’t believe he is really sorry for what he did if he continues to sue critics.

Comments

  1. polishsalami says

    Richard Carrier replied to most comments left at his blog, which I liked, but many of those replies betrayed a smugness and arrogance out of tune with Carrier’s modest intellectual achievements to date.

    Also, sadly, another male “feminist” who appears to have used this as a cover for dodgy behaviour.

  2. Leo Bloom says

    “Nonetheless, because of the recent accusations against Carrier, and Carrier’s responses to those accusations, I am disgusted with him.”

    Well done on providing Carrier with evidence of reputational damage. Brilliantly played!

  3. Siobhan says

    @Leo Bloom

    Well done on providing Carrier with evidence of reputational damage. Brilliantly played!

    If this is evidence of damage to Carrier’s reputation, then it is by his own idiocy. Siggy was quoting Carrier directly. That isn’t fucking “defamation,” it’s drawing reasonable conclusions from statements he made about himself.

  4. says

    For anyone interested in a legal analysis of this case, I highly recommend this episode of Atheistically Speaking:
    http://atheisticallyspeaking.com/as280-richard-carriers-lawsuit-andrew-torrez/

    Based on this, I think it’s going to be exceedingly hard for Richard to prove his case.

    This whole thing really makes me sad, because he has done amazing work in the field of history and I think his actions may end up destroying his career, which would be a loss to historical research and analysis, in some small part. Ironically perhaps, I think his career might have been better served by not filing this lawsuit. But maybe he sees his career as ruined already and this is the only way for him to have a shot at financial independence.

  5. says

    It’s so mystifying. He’s likely already detested by SJW-hating atheists, theists, and the apparent bulk of academia that reject his hypothesis. And now he’s ostracized himself from a community of allies. He must be lonely. It would be sad if he wasn’t a fucking arrogant creep.

  6. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Nonetheless, because of the recent accusations against Carrier, and Carrier’s responses to those accusations, I am disgusted with him.

    Well done on providing Carrier with evidence of reputational damage. Brilliantly played!

    The damage to Carrier’s reputation is from Carrier filing suit, and not from the allegations against Carrier, and therefore what you wrote is very wrong.

  7. StevoR says

    Carrier’s lawsuit baffles me. I thought he knew and was better.

    Also thought he’d have heard of the Streisland effect?

    Seems not. But .. really? WTF Carrier, really?

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