Shermertron the Bigot: Polyamory as the New Reefer Madness

Famous scene screencap from the 1936 film Reefer Madness in which a snearing dope dealer takes a puff in a lounge chair.Lock up your wives and daughters. Polyamorous men are going to seduce them! That’s the new panic emanating from atheist anti-feminists. Along with horror at Bacchic orgies at atheist conferences, and a denigration of sexual liberation as the scourge of society and a sure sign of the decline of public morality. Christian reactionaries? Nope. This is coming from atheists. Seriously.

Anti-feminist atheists are rarely logical and always fact challenged. They live in a bubble of impenetrable mythologies like moon landing deniers and people who vote for Ted Cruz. So none of their reaction to my coming out as polyamorous ought to be surprising. But since one of them is making a lame attempt at harassing my employers, it’s time to document and make fun of it.

The featured villain of the day is some guy (?) who goes by the charming moniker Shermertron. It would be truly awesome if that was actually Michael Shermer but reality is never that sweet. I’m assuming it’s an obsessive Shermer fan. He writes a vile blog called Orwellian Garbage, which is basically just a bunch of illogical rants about me and PZ Myers that rarely contacts reality. His silly & sad sidekick goes by the moniker Yeti’s Roar who does basically the same thing on his own blog (I suppose they could be the same person).

Shermertron and his associates suffer from the following delusions:

  • They can’t tell the difference between sexual harassment and consensual flirting.
  • They can’t tell the difference between appropriate and inappropriate ways of pursuing intimacy with someone.
  • They can’t tell the difference between being pleasantly drunk but still in possession of your faculties (and thus fully able to consent when asked) and being so drunk as to not even comprehend what is happening or where exactly you are.
  • They can’t tell the difference between advocating for ethical sexuality and being against all sex.

They are also liars.

If you want the full skinny, then sit down, secure your safety belt and hang on for the ride… [Read more…]

Kenneth Waters on OHJ: The Society of Biblical Literature Debate

Cover of Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus. Medieval icon image of Jesus holding a codex, on a plain brown background, title above in white text, author below in white text.Earlier this month I presented the thesis of On the Historicity of Jesus to the SBL Western Regional Conference (held this year in Azusa, California). Oliver Eldridge interviewed me over drinks afterward. There I mentioned I kept Waters’ summary handout, which fairly faithfully tracked most of the arguments he tried to present against OHJ at the conference.

This is how that went down…

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Bart Ehrman on How Jesus Became God

Cover of How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman.In this latest book from Bart Ehrman we get a mixed bag of results. On the one hand, he is back in form writing a good popular book on a subject often misunderstood by the lay public. In How Jesus Became God, Ehrman demonstrates that Jesus was worshiped as a god from basically day one. The notion that High Christology developed later, false. On the other hand, I am starting to see a trend in his writing now, wherein he gets right anything he simply culls from existing scholarship and distills for public understanding, but doesn’t always get right everything he tries to add of his own or off the cuff. And the problem with that is that lay readers won’t know which is happening, and thus can’t always trust what he says.

The best rule I can advise is, if Ehrman cites scholarship for a statement he makes, he is at least telling you correctly what that scholarship says (which itself may be wrong, but not by any fault of Ehrman’s). If he doesn’t cite any scholarship for a statement he makes, he might be wrong and you should aim to double-check before relying on it. The rest you have to figure out from the merits of his logic, judging from premise to conclusion. And sometimes that’s solid. Sometimes it’s not.

The rest of this review breaks that down, the good and the bad, into the Devil’s details. [Read more…]

This April: Appearing in Arizona, Ohio, and Kentucky!

I have a lot going on in April! I’ll be speaking, answering questions, selling & signing books, and hanging out for drinks and conversation at various venues you can get in on. I’ll blog about the second half of April in a week or two. But here’s my schedule for the first half…

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Join My New Course This April: Thinking Like a Historian: Historical Methods, Practice and Theory

Logo for Partners for Secular Activism. The letters PSA in blue, in an art decco font, over a light grey watermark of a compass pointing near to north, all on a white backround.Back by popular demand, I am teaching my online course on historical method this April (just a few weeks away): Thinking Like a Historian: Historical Methods, Practice and Theory.

Learn how to question and investigate claims about history. Study not only the logic of historical reasoning and argument, but also a lot of the practical tips and tricks real historians employ to test and check claims. Learn the particular skills of skeptical and critical thinking about history.

Primary topics: Best practices among historians; historical methods as modes of reasoning (both criteria-based and Bayesian); examples of flawed reasoning and bad arguments in peer reviewed history journals and monographs (and how to spot them as a layperson); and what to do to critically examine a claim using both immediate criteria and procedures for more labor-intensive inquiry

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At Dogma Debate Live in San Jose!

This March 27 in San Jose, David Smalley will be airing his fun and popular Dogma Debate show before a live audience. I’ll be there, tabling the whole event selling and signing my books, and guesting a little bit. Greta Christina will also be showing up. A local pastor will be on. And more. It will be an event not to miss! Tickets and details here.

Promo pic of David Smalley speaking at a microphone.

Biblical Archaeology Review = Crappy Christian Propaganda Mag

Cover of Hitler Homer Bible Christ. Olive or brown with dark greek falling leaves is the only graphic. The rest is just the title, subtitle at the top, and author at the bottom all in white lettering.In further preparation for my upcoming defense of On the Historicity of Jesus at the SBL regional meeting, someone clued me in to an awful piece on the historicity issue published by BAR: Lawrence Mykytiuk (I assume that means this guy), “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible” (January/February 2015). It’s so awful it hardly warrants a response. But hell, I’m high on wine right now, so fuck it…

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McGrath on the Rank-Raglan Mythotype

Cover of Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus. Medieval icon image of Jesus holding a codex, on a plain brown background, title above in white text, author below in white text.Yesterday I addressed McGrath’s confused critique of portions of On the Historicity of Jesus (in McGrath on OHJ: A Failure of Logic and Accuracy). He has also published a second entry in what promises to be a series about OHJ, this one titled “Rankled by Wrangling over Rank-Raglan Rankings: Jesus and the Mythic Hero Archetype” (let me know if more arrive in future). This entry is even less useful than the first. Here are my thoughts on that.

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McGrath on OHJ: A Failure of Logic and Accuracy

Cover of Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus. Medieval icon image of Jesus holding a codex, on a plain brown background, title above in white text, author below in white text.In preparation for my upcoming defense of On the Historicity of Jesus at the SBL regional meeting, I’ve set aside time to publicly summarize my take on James McGrath’s critique of (parts of) the book for Bible & Interpretation: “Did Jesus Die in Outer Space? Evaluating a Key Claim in Richard Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus.”

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