Appearing in Irvine Next Week

I will be giving two talks at the University of California, Irvine, next Wednesday (April 17th, 2013). One for the Classics Department (in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Program in the History and Philosophy of Science), and one for the campus chapter of the Secular Student Alliance (homepage on Facebook). Both talks are open to the public (parking and other details available here), with Q&A. I will definitely be selling and signing my books at the SSA event (not sure yet if that will be possible at the earlier departmental event).

The first talk will be at 2pm in Humanities Gateway room 1010 on Bayes’ Theorem and Historical Reasoning: How Historical Methods Can Be Improved and Why They Need to Be:

Drawing from his new book Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (Prometheus, 2012), Dr. Richard Carrier will explain what Bayes’ Theorem is (in terms anyone in the humanities can understand), how it underlies all valid historical methods even when we don’t realize it, and why knowing this can improve historical reasoning and argument in all fields of history.

The second talk will be at 5pm in Social Science Lab (SSL) room 122 on Can Morality Be a Science? in which I’ll summarize my findings in The End of Christianity and Sense and Goodness without God regarding the prospect of science actually taking over the job of discerning moral truth (which means, not just studying morality descriptively, but prescriptively), in the same way it has taken over many other domains of philosophy (from cosmology and anthropology to psychology and cognitive science).



  1. says

    Nothing ever happens in Albuquerque… boo hoo… :(

    In fact, here’s something to research, or ask the community — Has anything atheism-related EVER been held in Albuquerque?

  2. Rumraket says

    Will there be a video of your presentation on bayes theorem and will it contain new/different material to the one you did on bayes theorem at skepticon 4?

    • says

      No video from Irvine. But yes, new/different material. I might present something similar at Imagine No Religion 3 next month (that hasn’t been decided yet). They might post video. But I don’t have any definite information on that. At any rate, if you read Proving History, you will know everything I presented in this talk anyway. So you won’t have missed anything.

  3. Ronald says

    You have co-authored the Ehrman rebuttal with Achayra S. Do you find her to be a ‘good mythicist’ nowadays?

    • says

      No. I did not “co-author” anything with Acharya S. A chapter of mine was purchased by the editor of a volume for inclusion in his anthology. An anthology that also just happens to include chapters by Acharya S (among others). It’s not a particularly good anthology IMO, but then I didn’t edit it, nor did I write any of the content in it but my chapter, which is the only content I stand by (indeed that chapter explicitly says I don’t necessarily stand by any of the other contributions in that same anthology).

  4. Azuma Hazuki says

    Dr. Carrier, do you ever get the impression that apologists and believers are too narrowly focused? It seems to me, based on reading some of your writings at, that your position is predicated on a much, much broader scope than just historical texts or theology or ancient languages, that it includes much sociology and hard science as well.

    I ask because what strikes me about beleivers, even very educated ones, is an inability to cross-reference what they have learned across disciplines. One may draw as many “conservative” inferences from scholarship as one likes, such as N.T. Wright does, but that doesn’t change the fact that evolution and genetics have pile-driven Adam and Eve into the ground.

    What say ye?

    • says

      That’s true for most believers. I don’t know if it’s true for all of them. But even the ones who try to develop a comprehensive worldview tend to ignore most science and fabricate a system that justifies their religion rather than a system that integrates all the findings of science and history into a coherent whole.