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Oct 17 2013

I’m Sort of on TV This Weekend – And in Some New Videos Online

Two new video interviews with me are now available, and another is going live this weekend–almost literally: it will actually be on cable television. (For that, see the last paragraph below.)

First up, I did a video interview with Adam Ford on “the singularity” and related questions in the future of artificial intelligence and human utopias and Bayesian reasoning and all kinds of whatnot. As he describes it:

Just finished doing a fantastic interview with Richard Carrier on Bayesian reasoning, possible futures for AI, the Intelligence Explosion, how to evaluate the possibility of smarter than human level AI coming about, using Bayesian reasoning to determine confidence levels about history and Richard’s book Proving History (and more)… the video will be up on my youtube channel soon.

You can check that interview out here. It’s great because we range over lots of topics I don’t usually get to talk about.

Next, my talk on studying Jesus as a mythical deity at INR3 is now online. It was titled “Imagining the Study of Jesus without Religion” and focused on how we would actually be studying the origins of Christianity if Christianity were just another extinct religion like nearly every other from the same period, and we didn’t have millions of people and million/billion dollar institutions devoted to defending it and a cultural history so invested in it even secular institutions can’t get away from the assumptions only believers originated. For backstory see here. The video is here. (Lighting isn’t good. My hair looks weird in consequence. I have inverted horns like an anti-devil! Apropos?)

And in bigger news, I will actually be on TV. Local cable at least. I participated in a kind of three-way quasi-debate between an atheist (me), a liberal Christian (Rob McQuery), and a Buddhist (Jack Elias), all on the premier episode of the Blind Faith Virus Vaccine show (general promo here), hosted by Mark Gura, based on his book. It airs this Saturday (October 19th) on Comcast Channel 24 Atlanta at 7pm, and on Comcast channel 25 North Fulton County, this Sunday (October 20th) at 7pm, and other cities (not yet announced, but you can check local listings or DVR search just to be sure). Watch Mark Gura’s FB wall for further info (including a webpage for the show, still in development).

3 comments

  1. 1
    Scott D

    I love this topic! Imagine only studying Christianity with evidence and reasoning and not the massive “affirming the consequent” that so much of New Testament Studies involves! I am watching the video now!

  2. 2
    Tim Bos

    Hi Dr. Carrier. I just finished watching the INR talk. I thought it was just great, but I do have a question about the talk. I noticed there and elsewhere that you accept the “7 genuine epistles” view of mainstream scholarship. Do you do so (a) because it is preferable, strategically, to simpy accept this view in making your general case, or (b) because as the result careful study of careful study of the epistles and their historical context, you have concluded that the most likely explanation of all the data is that a single person named “Paul” wrote all 7 letters?

    1. 2.1
      Richard Carrier

      A little from column (a) and a little from column (b). I have my doubts about Philemon, for example, but I haven’t taken the trouble to vet those doubts, because there is nothing in it relevant to my work (no discussions relevant to the historicity of Jesus). I have independently confirmed to my own satisfaction (via stylistic, literary, and historical analysis) that the other six were written by the same author, and that this was not the author of the Pastorals, the Deuteropaulines, or 2 Thessalonians (or Hebrews, but that doesn’t claim to be by Paul). Although there is room still to convince me otherwise, since my examination wasn’t exhaustive, just enough to satisfy me that the widest consensus is probably correct.

      Now, one could still argue that though those six were written by the same author, nevertheless they are fictional, but that cannot follow from their content, which is perfectly explicable without that hypothesis (I have satisfied myself that arguments to the contrary are invalid, e.g. Detering’s case is built on fallacious reasoning), so one would need some sort of external evidence to conclude that, and there isn’t any that I know of. Moreover, contra Brodie, they simply do not look like fictional letters–I’ve read a lot of examples of the latter from antiquity, and they have little in common in style and content with letters like Paul’s (the one argument that they are unusually long has a more plausible explanation in the fact that we have evidence they are actually stitches of several letters, which evidence would not exist if they were fictional, but is exactly what we’d expect if real letters were stitched together).

      So I am sufficiently confident at least those six are by the Paul they claim to be written by and were written in the 50s AD.

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