My DragonCon Schedule (Including a Talk on Ancient Technology!)

Dragon Con logo, a yellow dragon outline on a blue ball, with the title arced across the front, photo of crowds behind.I’ll be on some panels. I’ll be in the parade. I’ll be selling and signing my books (briefly). But above all, I’ll be speaking on the topic of ancient Roman technology, and why the scientific and industrial revolutions did not occur then. The full DragonCon schedule is now available here. There’s an amazingly huge amount of cool stuff. Competing with which is my sad little self at four points this weekend:

Friday September 4

Skeptrack Kick-off 2015 : “A panel of some of our skeptic guests discussing who skeptics are & some of their passions” will include James Randi, Margaret Downey, Nick Eftimiades, Ian Harris, Steve Hill, Leighann Lord, and me. Friday at 10am (204–207 Hilton).

More About…Richard Carrier : A professional life dedicated to researching the history of religion & antiquity. Friday at 11:30am (204–207 Hilton). So, right after the first panel, it’s more about me, and a chance to buy my books and get them signed or inscribed or what have you. I’ll have some supply of On the Historicity of Jesus and Hitler Homer Bible Christ.

Saturday September 5

The DragonCon Parade : From 10am until 11 or 11:30 or something is the big parade through town. There will be many far more fabulously costumed folks than me. But I will be representing the Syrian skeptic and wit Lucian of Samosata, alongside people representing many other famous skeptics throughout history. We will be in the tenth slot this year, so pretty close to the front. After that, we’ll be talking about who we represented on a podcast.

Real Steampunk: How Ancient Roman Tech [Can Inspire] Writers & Designers : Then at 2:30pm (204–207 Hilton), “The Greco-Roman world had computers, vending machines, steam-powered automation…But why no industrial revolution?” I’ll discuss their achievements, how scholarship has radically changed our understanding of ancient tech in the last twenty or so years, and what I think is the most likely explanations for why the scientific and industrial revolutions didn’t take place then, even though they had everything in place, and were very close to it. I have a new slideshow built just for the purpose!

(Somewhere during the weekend I might also be in one of the autograph tracks for an hour. Check the schedule Friday to find out.)

Lots more is going on not just throughout DragonCon, but even just in the Skeptics Fan Track (Skeptrack). For just that line-up alone, see here.

Anyone who wants to buy a book from me but misses the Friday morning window, just email me or message me on Facebook (my settings are public, so anyone can) before 5pm on any day of the con. I’ll check all messages by 6pm, and get back to coordinate with anyone who asks (if you leave your cell number for texting, I’ll use that).

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P.S. And for those who are in or near Pennsylvania, don’t forget, I’ll also be at PASTAHCon in Harrisburg the following weekend! That’s just two weeks away.

Moral Reasoning Course + Bonus Option!

Not only can you join my science & philosophy of moral reasoning course this week (and if you haven’t already, check it out and give it a shot! … or please spread the word to anyone else who might be interested!), but there is now a bonus option you can choose if you want: special live interactive video conferencing.

On Wednesday (16 September 10pm-11pm East Coast time), Sunday (20 September 5pm-6pm East Coast time), and Saturday (26 September 6pm-7pm East Coast time), you can participate in a live video conference with me (and possibly other students) to ask more questions about the course and interact directly. The registration costs more for that feature, but it covers both those live encounters and the whole course.

You can also still take the course without the live video events for the regular rate instead. I’d love to see more students this month! You’ll find the readings and opportunity for productive forum discussion with an expert (and other students) quite valuable and rewarding.

Appearing in Raleigh…to Talk about Hitler!

I’ll be in town for two events at least. First, on Monday, September 21, I’ll be discussing my field-changing work on the fabricated and distorted Hitler quotes from the English edition of the infamous Table Talk. I will also be speaking at UNC Greensboro before that on Friday the 18th, but that event is still in development.

First Details Here ] [ Second Details TBA ]

The Monday event starts at 6:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh (and is sponsored by the Triangle Freethought Society) on 3313 Wade Ave in Raleigh (North Carolina, 27607).

I will be selling and signing my books afterward, particularly Hitler Homer Bible Christ, which contains the peer reviewed paper in question as well as updated notes on what is happening now because of my article.

Talk description:

Hitler Was No Atheist: From Dr. Carrier’s peer reviewed article in German Studies Review exposing the only existing English translation of the infamous Table Talk as largely a fraud which resulted in this alleged eyewitness source to the statements of Adolf Hitler, often used by Christians to prove Hitler is an atheist, to be used with greater caution. And now this article has inspired a professor in Sweden to go on a quest for the truth behind the whole document that is starting to sound like a fiction novel. Learn about all of this, and the distortions in the Christian quotes you find everywhere on the Internet that make Hitler seem like the atheist he was not, in this exciting talk!

Help Make Recovering from Religion Succeed

The nonprofit that helps people recover from religion and religious abuse, providing hotlines, support groups, and secular therapy referrals—Recovering from Religion—is experiencing such demand that it needs to launch as a professional operation with paid staff, starting with a resource director, whose job will be to secure more funding in a steadier way for the organization’s operation.

This is how any group needs to start out if it wants to make a larger impact. Check out their case for this, and if you think it’s a good idea, provide them with some donor support. RfR’s executive director Sarah Morehead has a neat deal worked out with Neil Carter to make this happen.

And (or at the very least!) spread the word, so more people can have the chance to consider helping this happen!

I think it’s something that needs to happen, and the world would be a better place if it did. So give it a lookover and some thought.

Moral Reasoning Course: Learn the Science & Philosophy of Being a Better Person

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.Written from Puerto Rico today, as a tropical storm bears down on us: Come join my online course on moral reasoning! It starts next week. It goes a month. Study and participate at your own pace and on your own time. We don’t just cover the basic philosophy of morality and moral reasoning and why be moral and so on. We also cover what the sciences have discovered about all this. Which is more than you might think! Register now.

And don’t forget to order the required course text (in print or digital), Personality, Identity, and Character (eds. Darcia Narvaez and Daniel Lapsley). I recommend saving money: you can just rent that book on kindle, or buy the kindle edition or a used print copy. All other materials will be provided at no extra cost.

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Why take this course?

As I wrote for this course last year, a course that is now tied for my second favorite (I offer it roughly once a year):

[Read more…]

Catching Up 2: Ophelia Benson & Advocating Trans Person Rights

I’ve been too busy to blog about all the things I wanted to this month. From the Black Lives Matter protest to the Ophelia Benson departure to a weird John Loftus flameout currently going on. So here I’m quickly trying to catch up. Second on deck: the Benson departure…

[Read more…]

Please Donate to the Southwest Secular Student Conference!

Snapshot of the front website page for the conference, showing Heina Dadabhoy, who will be speaking at the event, along with many others.This September the SSA is putting on a conference for students across the U.S. at the Claremont Colleges. They need financial support to pull it off. They will announce a full lineup of speakers and workshops soon, but they already have Heina Dadabhoy, Greta Christina, and Sikivu Hutchinson on deck, and more to come. I’ve been to several. These conferences are generally pretty awesome. So please donate today!

I’ve explained before why the SSA deserves your financial support in general (so if you don’t know, definitely see what I’ve already said about that). Conferences like this are needed to grow the size and number, and improve the effectiveness, of campus groups throughout the Western states (the SSA helps fly student leaders in from campuses all over the West to get trained and motivated at these conferences), to spread reason, secularism, and liberation from religion. And to college students, the future of our country. This is especially needed to combat Campus Crusade for Christ and similar organizations pushing religion onto students.

My readers might like to know in particular that Claremont Colleges is where the innovative New Testament critic Dennis MacDonald holds a professorship, and where Dr. Phil Zuckerman has launched the first college major in Secular Studies in America (and he might be a featured speaker as well). So this is a great rallying point for an SSA conference. Indeed, if you can attend, you might want to! Especially if you want to get more involved in community activism, as a lot of what these conferences cover is how to kick ass at that.

But above all, help spread godless freethought across the colleges of the Southwest by helping support this conference financially. Anything you donate will be useful.

Looking for Place to Stay in Georgia and Pennsylvania

Photo of hotel capsules outdoors, single concrete pipe segments, the circular cap on either end a hinged door, simple bed and lamp inside. From Austria. Google wacky concrete pipe hotel to learn more.Anyone who wants to host me, with bed or couch, for a night or two this September, please let me know! Here’s the skinny…

Georgia:

I’ll be speaking at DragonCon in Atlanta this year (I’ll be there from the 3rd of September through the 7th), and then at PAstahCon in Harrisburg the following weekend. No efficient reason to fly home in between and then all the way back out. So to help them save money for their conference, I had the PA coordinators just fly me from Atlanta to Harrisburg the following Friday (the 11th of September). But that leaves me homeless in Georgia from the night of the 8th (Tuesday) to the night of the 10th (Thursday).

So I’m looking to piece together places to crash those three nights. It doesn’t have to be in Atlanta, if you are willing to come get me (and bring me back). I’m fine even with long drives. If you want to host me, and can anytime in that window, please email me (or message me on FaceBook). And yes, if you want to throw dinner parties with me as your guest, or anything akin, you can do that. As long as it’s informal.

Pennsylvania:

To make my life easier I’m also staying an extra night after PAstahCon, which is in Harrisburg (September 11th through 13th). I have no place yet to crash on the 13th (Sunday night). I fly home later the next day.

So I’m looking for any place to crash that one night. It doesn’t have to be in Harrisburg, if you are willing to come get me (and bring me back). Again, I’m fine even with long drives. If you want to host me, and can that night, please email me (or message me on FaceBook). And yes, if you want to throw a dinner party with me as your guest, or anything akin, you can do that, too.

Please get in touch!

You will be helping me and the PAstahCon coordinators a bunch.