Appearing in Vegas and DC

This June I’ll be speaking at the SSA conference in Las Vegas and for CFI in Washington D.C.

CFI DC LogoFirst stop is CFI DC (June 9): I’ll be the guest speaker for the Voices of Reason lecture series for the regional CFI affiliate in D.C. from 5-7pm on Sunday, June 9 (2013). Price of admission is reasonable but varies, and can include a purchase of my book Proving History, which I’ll sign afterward. Full details at the CFI DC Website. Event is at Busboys and Poets on 14th & V, in the Langston Room (2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC).

Topic: Why Would We Think Jesus Didn’t Exist? I’ll explain the best case made so far that Jesus might not have been a historical person, and why that might be correct, examining the sources we have and the context of original Christianity, as drawn from my latest book Proving History and its forthcoming sequel On the Historicity of Jesus Christ.

Picture of the UNLV student unionNext stop is SSA Las Vegas (June 21-23): I’ll be one of many great speakers on all manner of awesome topics at the Secular Student Alliance regional leadership conference in Las Vegas, Nevada at the University of Nevada (Las Vegas). The conference is being held in the campus student union. I’ll be speaking in the Philip J. Cohen Theatre at 8pm on Saturday, June 22 (2013). Registration and accommodations vary in price. Full details at the SSA Conference Site. Some of my books will be sold at the venue and I’ll certainly sign anything you bring me. There are going to be three concurrent sessions. But I’m one of the keynote speakers so mine will be in a plenary session (along with Greta Christina, Nate Phelps, and Brian Keith Dalton, aka Mr. Deity; the previous night, there will be plenary session keynotes by David Fitzgerald, Sikivu Hutchinson, and Dan Barker, too).

Topic: Logic and Critical Thought in the 21st Century: What’s New and Why It Matters. I’ll be briefly summarizing new developments in our understanding of critical thinking (including cognitive science and Bayesian reasoning) as important additions to the old standards (logic and fallacies and the axioms of a skeptical stance).



  1. says


    A bit off topic.

    There is a new Catholic blog for atheist discussion. The premise is a honey pot to pull in atheists for reasoned debate/dialog (and condescending insult IMHO). They claim to be looking for atheist blogger contributors. I think your posts are exemplary of reasoned & fact checked rhetorical blogging. Maybe you could offer up some of you prior work?

    –Neil Johnson

    • says

      Not worth my time. It’s an evangelizing mission. They are just looking for a Colmes to draw views to evangelize nonbelievers.

      If they were sincere, they wouldn’t need an atheist blogger; they could simply host a feed that directs people to the best atheist blog posts about issues they’d like to “have a dialogue” about (and then maybe publish an interview, an actual “dialogue,” with their respective authors).

      Yet instead, look at the article up now: about Antony Flew “deconverting” from atheism, yet which ignores everything atheists have exposed about that case (as, for example, at the Secular Web here and in the New York Times expose, which I blogged about here and here). It’s not like these things are unknown. This is very insulting. And naked apologetics.

    • says


      Once again, thank you for an informative thoughtful reply. Yes, this blog site is pure stomach churning ugly apologetics. Please obfuscate the link in my first post to defeat the SEO effect. No need to bump the page rank for these guys.


    • says

      I may in future, but I am not much inclined to bother. Since I am not an expert in the languages or dating of Buddhist texts and sources, I am limited in how far I can fact-check such claims, and what I have seen can be dismissed on poor logic and methodology alone even granting all the fact claims I can’t check (which I am not sure one should). It looks like a sincere delusion. And that doesn’t suggest it’s worth my time.

      The only real expert I know who advocates the idea is Christian Lindtner, who was for a time unpopular in academia for being a holocaust denier (a position which he recently renounced and now argues against). His work on the Buddhist Gospels claim has in turn been popularized by Michael Lockwood, who is a retired philosophy professor and not a historian, while Lindtner himself still has not published his claims in any peer reviewed venue that I know of (except a review of law professor J. Duncan M. Derrett’s book The Bible and the Buddhists; Derrett argues for only limited and superficial influence from Buddhism to Christianity and against much else, even making a case that many links are Buddhists borrowing from Christianity).

      BTW, some also cite Zacharias Thundy as another expert who also advocates for a Buddhist derivation of Christianity, but he was only an English professor, and it shows in the naivety of his arguments (e.g. he thinks the temptation-in-the-desert tale derives from similar tales in Buddhism when in fact, as has long been known by experts in biblical studies, they obviously derive from, and reverse, the temptations in the Exodus narrative of the Jews, and only make sense as such).

      What writings of Lindtner’s I have looked at so far (e.g. this) similarly contain parallelomania and tea-leaf-reading style arguments that are very random and implausible and have very little explanatory utility, yet are asserted with wildly unwarranted certitude. It looks like what Atwill would write if he were a Buddhist. Not encouraging.

      He also doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about, in cases where I can check him. Here is one example of what I mean:

      What is the original Sanskrit behind Simon? A clue is given when John 21:7 very oddly writes Simôn oun Petros. How are we to explain the [fact that] a proper name is split up by an oun? This odd phenomenon suggests that Simon is not part of a proper name but rather a title of some sort. Behind Simon, I suggest, we find Sanskrit âyusman.

      This is one of Lindtner’s arguments in the above-linked article. The argument here is ridiculous in almost every particular. But most telling is that he incorrectly claims this grammatical structure is odd, and so odd it requires an extraordinary explanation. Well, no. There is nothing odd about this grammatical structure. The Greek word oun means “and so” and was always postpositive, meaning it always is placed after the word it is meant to precede, thus Simôn oun Petros is to be read as if the order were oun Simôn Petros. For example, the very preceding sentence in the same verse of GJn. reads legei oun mathêtês ekeinos, “and so that disciple said…,” the oun (“and so”) coming after legei (“said”) and thus in between the verb and its subject (“that disciple”), thus it reads “said, and so, that disciple” (closest English form would be “Said, hence, that disciple…”). Thus the reason the oun appears after Simôn in the very next sentence is that that is the beginning of a new sentence and that’s where the oun goes. There literally would be no other place to expect it. And so Lindtner evidently doesn’t know basic Greek grammar (or is delusionally forgetting it).

      So you can perhaps imagine why I cannot see the value of reading further someone who generates such extraordinary assertions with such feverish certitude from such ignorant premises.

  2. tiberiusbeauregard says

    See ? Slowly but safely, you’ll make a proper living off your works and travels. No reason to worry.

  3. pofarmer says

    O.K. Dr Carrier, if I may. One of the Reasons the Catholic church gives for believing in the Assumption of Mary is that we don’t have her bones, therefore she must have been taken up directly to heaven. It seems to me that the more logical answer is that a) she wasn’t that important to the early church or b) she never actually existed. Which kind of goes with the historicity of Jesus. Were the resurrection stories just an answer to “Where’s the proof/body?”