Sense and Goodness on Kindle for Three Bucks!

Image from Amazon of the cover of Sense and Goodness without God, kindle edition.Amazon is running a special on my critically acclaimed book Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism for kindle. I don’t know how long this special price will last. But it’s something worth taking advantage of. Just three dollars (and three cents). That’s an 88% discount off the print edition list price. Check it out!

And now I’m off to Sacramento for Freethought Day…

Now You Can Wear Even More Bayes’ Theorem!

Picture of the Odds Form Bayesian mug (white mug with artsy black text) offered at Richard Carrier's Marvelous Amusements shop at Cafe Press.Did you say Odds Form? Shirt? Car Flag? Panties? Hell yeah.

I just finished loading my old Cafe Press store with tons of different shirts and other odds and ends featuring my Bayesian graphic, which uses imaginative rather than standard mathematical notation (as I reported last week, you can get jewelry with it from SurlyRamics).

I also duplicated most items with a cool graphic design of the Odds Form of Bayes’ Theorem (in standard mathematical notation, but artful font). Because a lot of people are fans of the Odds Form. No joke…it has actual vocal fans. It’s also the form I use to run the math in my upcoming book On the Historicity of Jesus. If you want to know what the difference is and what the Odds Form equation means and how to use it, see Proving History (index, “Bayes’ Theorem, Odds Form”). Like with the other graphic (as I explained last week), you have to assume b (background knowledge) is in the givens of every term (a common assumption mathematicians allow).

Picture of women's cap-T shirt with Odds Form Bayesian graphic across the chest. White shirt with black shoulders and neckline.Above right is a pic of the Odds Form mug I’m selling. It actually looks pretty awesome. Likewise the women’s Cap-T (below right).

To check out the full range of products, and help support my work by buying some, visit Richard Carrier’s Marvelous Amusements. Note that many items actually have color options at the purchasing page (so it’s not just all black or white). If you have ideas for other products I could develop and offer there, feel free to recommend them in comments here. Just note that I’m limited by the stock and capabilities of Cafe Press.

I have also included some Solon’s Commandments materials, as some fans requested I do many months ago, after I wrote about them in That Christian Nation Nonsense (Gods Bless Our Pagan Nation). Cafe Press doesn’t offer the option of an inscribed plastic plate, so you would have to get the mini-poster and put it in a hard plastic casement or sheath from a local office supply store–or else buy the expensive framed print option (although that does look quite nice). Junior high and high school students who feel like living dangerously can even bring a Solon’s Commandments lunch bag to school.

Want to Literally Wear Bayes’ Theorem?

Picture of the Bayesian SurlyRamic: shows Bayes' Theorem, graphically arranged in an attractive way, black text in haly of white on black ceramic circle.Surly Amy has kindly met my request to create a SurlyRamic of Bayes’ Theorem. I designed the graphic for her, and she has made the product. You can check it out here, and buy one if you are keen. In the interests of art (to make it look elegant and not a busy mess), I took two liberties: I didn’t put the two expressions in the denominator inside brackets, but just stacked them on either side of a plus sign to indicate that (obviously) the multiplications have to be completed before the addition. I also left out the variable b for background knowledge, though that is commonly done even by mathematicians. You should understand that it’s present in every single term (see my Bayesian Calculator for an explanation of this and the rest of the equation). For example, P(h|e) represents P(h|e & b) and P(h) represents P(h|b), and so on.

Now we can totally geek out the Bayesians.

I’m Auctioning a Piece of My History at Sacramento’s Freethought Day Festival!

This October 12 (Saturday 2013) I’ll be at the ever-growing and amazing Sacramento Freethought Day at William Land Park. I will also be attending the donor’s reception the night before. And doing a panel. And the day of the festival they’ll be auctioning off a piece of unusual Richard Carrier memorabilia.

Here are the details… [Read more...]

I’ll Be at the Atheist Film Festival This Weekend

I believe there are still tickets available for attending this Friday’s director’s party as well (which I will also be attending, among other folk many might like to meet or chat with). All the details here. The festival itself will be all this Saturday. I’ll be hanging out for most of it. I’ll probably head home after the premiere of Hug an Atheist, which I donated a small amount to fund and have been looking forward to for some time. If you bring any books you want me to sign while I’m there, I’ll be happy to oblige.

Thank You for So Many Books

Some people who like my work occasionally buy things for me from my Amazon wishlist. The package I get often doesn’t say who sent them or how to reach them. So I’d like to extend an open thanks to everyone who has done that over the years. What especially prompted me to say something today is that I received one such package last week, amidst controversial blogging and an exhausting home renovation project (Jen and I finally did something with our bedroom, which had looked like a moldy, stained, style-less, colorless disaster area since we moved in…you know, as for example, the previous owners had strange ideas about what was an acceptable “repair” to holes in the ceiling or wall…anyway, all sorted; its a beautiful and functional room again).

This time the package I received was filled with some of the more expensive items on my list, and a lot of them. Someone was extraordinarily generous, and I am very grateful. Thank you! Some of the items will help me with my next books (my books on ancient science have been at an academic publisher in search of peer reviewers for ages), some will give me an excuse to learn a little more about Islam (maybe next year), and one in particular is the two volume set by Keener that desperately tries to insist miracles are real, which I may find time later this year to read and review on my blog (since that’s kind of one of my long standing specialties).

Now back to work.

Two More New Bloggers

We have two more new awesome bloggers at Freethought Blogs. Kate Donovan (of the US) joined us in July, and now Alex Gabriel (of the UK) joins us this August.

Kate is blogging here at Gruntled & Hinged (“A Blog about Madness and Mental Health by Your Incorrigibly Optimistic Narrator, Who Is Neither Disgruntled Nor Unhinged”). As she describes herself…

Kate Donovan's Gravatar pic. Illustrates her best snark face.Kate is a psychology student at Northwestern University who runs on coffee and snark. At some point she’d like to make people sit on couches and tell her about their feelings, but right now she writes on the internet and makes silly faces when she doesn’t know what to say. An incorrigible optimist, she likes to knit, juggle, and will devour any book in reach.

In Which Our Narrator Strikes Out on Her Own is her inaugural post. If you missed it, check it out to get even better introduced. She’s been blogging cool things about psychology and mental health from an atheist and skeptical perspective.

Alex is now blogging here at Godlessness in Theory (“Queer Left Politics, Pop Culture and Skepticism”). As he describes himself…

Alex Gabriel's Gravatar pic. In which he looks curious, whimsical, and ready to warrior his keyboard.Alex Gabriel is a twentysomething British graduate. He writes from a theoretical perspective on religion and how to leave it, popular rhetoric and political dissent, secular, nerd and LGBT cultures, sexuality and gender or whatever else crosses his mind. His main pursuit is blending frameworks of secularity and social justice – more than just intersecting actions, he yearns for synthetic secular thought. When not putting sacred cows to slaughter or training with the PC brigade, he can usually be found somewhere online.

Secular Synthesis and Why We Need It – or, Hello Freethought Blogs is his inaugural post. Definitely check it out to get even better introduced. He blogs insightful, thoughtful, and detailed things about politics and culture from an atheist and skeptical perspective. And as he says, “I’m 22, secular, British, poly, queer, tall, ex-Christian, left wing and long-winded, a nerd, a graduate and a keyboard warrior.” Indeed. He’ll fit right in.

Enjoy the juggernaut!

Nixing Offensive Ads

How do you stop an offensive or inappropriate ad at Freethought Blogs? Here’s a brief on how.

Our ad service at FtB is automated. We don’t actually choose who advertises on our site, and in fact what ads you see will differ from what ads others will see (like me, for example, even when I look at exactly the same page on FtB that you are), based on barely logical algorithms and cookies and IP geographic locations and whatnot. But we can choose to block certain ads. And if you want to help us do that, here’s the skinny on how.

Periodically we get offensive ads on here, which you may find inappropriate or just plain wrong, for all manner of reasons (from psychics and bullshit alt med, to sexist crap of various kinds, to fundamentalist seminaries, and so on) and you might want to stop them or just help us out by helping us catch and block them. To do that, what we need is the actual click-through URL for the ad (right-click or control-click the ad and copy the URL/link). It will be a crazy long weird URL code.

We can’t block ads by just being told what the ad was for or what it looked like, because there are millions of ads and the only unique identifiers our service lets us use to set blocking is the click-through URL. So we need that URL.

You can send that to us by pasting it into our tech service form here. (You can report all kinds of technical problems with the site there, too, of course, not just this. That link is also at the top of every page at FtB as Tech Issues.) In addition to pasting that URL in there, also politely explain what was offensive about the ad, or why you think we should block it. We may or may not agree. But a decision has to start with our being made aware of it. Since, odds are, we won’t even know about it otherwise.

Regular offenders can theoretically change their ads and thus keep bypassing our block, so if you see an offensive ad or advertised product again, feel free to report it again, just in case that’s what has happened. Although give our tech staff a week at least to purge an ad you reported once already, before reporting it again.

This will be a constant gardening, of course, since new ads and advertisers crop up daily (literally). But any garden has to be constantly gardened. So you’re welcome to give us a hand with pulling the weeds every so often.

CFI and WiS 3

Women in Secularism 2 I haven’t voiced an opinion on the Lindsay apology and subsequent resolution of the insulting behavior from CFI (which came after voices of outrage were finally heard) because I have been waiting to see what panned out, especially if CFI was going to produce a third Women in Secularism conference.

In every other respect I concur with Greta Christina (Accepting Ron Lindsay’s Apology and Working with CFI) and am back in as a CFI supporter. I have renewed my membership and remain on its speakers bureau. Although I have lost a lot of confidence in Ron Lindsay’s leadership (and would still prefer someone better), he at least is now handling the situation correctly. He isn’t treating us with contempt. And CFI has voiced a commitment to doing better. After a few epic failures, they are now demonstrating responsiveness to discontent in their actual and future membership. We might still consider them on probation (Rebecca Watson’s take on this is apt) but I’m hopeful, and they need to see that we will support them if they continue in this direction. So I think it’s time to start working toward that.

Because CFI has just announced they are indeed working on WiS 3 (last paragraph here). I recommend that anyone willing to reconcile with CFI renew any canceled ties, and maybe even send donations earmarked for WiS 3 so they know they are getting support for this. Let us all shepherd CFI into the 21st century.

My Favorite Scotch

Bottles of Glenmorangie (a fine Scotch whiskey)These three days I’ll be enjoying the FtBCon from my desktop, sipping Scotch or Irish whiskey. A lot. Because I like Scotch. And Irish whiskey. I’m pretty much a Scotch and Irish whiskey man, you see. Beer, dull (even when it doesn’t taste like piss). White wine, eh. Red wine can be remarkable if it’s not crap (and “not crap” does not mean expensive…if you ever pay more than $20 for a standard bottle of wine, you’re a dupe…or suffer a needlessly expensive curiosity…it’s the label that counts, not the price). American whiskeys (especially bourbons) are mostly too sweet (I’ve recently been introduced to only one I like, because it happens to taste a lot like Scotch: Basil Hayden’s…thank you, Phillip!). Vodka is a mixer (oxymoron intended). Ditto gin. Tequila, when you get the right kind (the kind you have to know to ask for, the kind that doesn’t pay for TV commercials). Mixed drinks, sure, whatever. Saphire martini on the rocks, dirty, three olives. [Read more...]