Jamila Bey Joins FtB!

Yay! It has now become official! Journalist and beloved radio host Jamila Bey (and that’s Jam-EEL-a Bay) is now blogging on our network. Go check out her own The Sex Politics and Religion Blog. She wrote a little on Black History Month a few days ago, partly by way of introduction. And she has now just yesterday written part one of an autobiographical intro for all you new readers.

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The Will of God: 24 Evil Old Testament Verses: Available Again!

My article on The Will of God: 24 Evil Old Testament Verses is now available again for viewing. Among much else. Apparently Google changed a setting on us without telling us and the companion site to the book The Christian Delusion has been inaccessible for almost a year. And we didn’t know, because Google didn’t change the setting for everyone, so it appeared to work fine for some people, including us. It took until now to find out. But that’s fixed. We set the setting back. So now if you’ve been trying to access it (as apparently hundreds of people were), you can. Merry Post Christmas!

I’m in Sacramento This Sunday … Selling My Books Dirt Cheap!

If you can make it, definitely do! This Sunday is Freethought Day in Sacramento, California (October 12, 2014), with speakers and entertainment and all kinds of vendors and fun. You can register at EventBrite. The all-day outdoor event is free. But you can donate to get reserved seating, or attend the Saturday night VIP reception this 11th (I’ll be there), or even yet other things. I can’t guarantee who will be at the reception Saturday night, but among the VIPs featured Sunday are Rebecca Watson, Phil Zuckerman, Greta Christina, Ross Blocher (of Oh No Ross and Carrie), illusionist Ryan Kane, Dan Arel (Parenting without God), Brendan Powell Smith (The Brick Bible), poet Victor Harris, Tom Beasley (from the An American Atheist podcast), David Fitzgerald (The Mormons), and more. Camp Quest West will also be providing a Fun Zone for kids.

I might take the stage briefly, but I will be tabling all day and selling heaping wadges of my books at cut rate prices. All my backdated stock that’s perfectly readable but in somewhat rough condition aesthetically. This is your chance to get dirt cheap copies of most of my books for your friends, family, colleagues, or yourself, or to donate to your local library, or wherever. My newest two books (published this year) will not be sold at discount but at their regular price, but I will have them for sale, too. I am fully setup now to take credit cards (and I always take cash and personal checks). So stop by and help buy me out!

(And for those who’ve been wondering, my intense travel and teaching schedule has kept me away from my blog for weeks. And this won’t let up anytime soon. So expect my comments queue to languish for weeks and get cleared in bulk every once in a while now until things change. And my posting will probably be sporadic as well, even though I have tons of stuff I want to blog about!)

Busy Bee Roundup of Bizarre & Shocking Things

Texas votes Nazi. Sam Harris exposes his sexism. Michael Shermer gets investigated. Richard Dawkins vomits all over the internet. I can’t keep up.

Alas, I have been doing nonstop traveling and events and work-catchup for weeks. I haven’t even been able to get to my comments queue, so I shall soon just be clearing everything to post, probably most without response or very little response, as I have no time. I’m getting caught up on backlogged work in preparation for two events in Canada that I have to travel to later this week. I apologize for the comments delay. I had hoped to find time for it in transit, but alas I couldn’t, and likely won’t (this grueling schedule shall continue for months).

But for those who haven’t been already getting the skinny, all this happened between when I got on an airplane Thursday and landed yesterday… [Read more…]

Victor Stenger: 1935-2014

Studio photo of Victor Stenger in his later years.Some called him the Fifth Horseman of New Atheism. He wrote openly and prolifically in defense of atheism, and in promotion of sensible physics against Christian and woo abuses of it. And only a few days ago he died. I had the honor of hanging out with Victor Stenger several times in my life, and served as a consultant for him a few times (on philosophy and history of science). My wife liked him. She remembers him as a sweet old man. I also remember him as a forceful but soft spoken debater, and the number one physicist in the ranks of New Atheism bigwigs. Hemant Mehta has a nice memorial piece about him at Patheos. And there’s a brief but informative obit in Doubtful News. He’ll be missed.

Travel Fund Outcome

If you want Richard Carrier to visit your city, for any organization you are a member or officer of, check this out. Thanks to generous donors covering my losses from a burglary and exceeding that request by several thousand dollars, I have some money I will apply to the cost of visiting other cities to speak next year (mostly in reducing my honorarium, covering book procurement for resale, and some transportation costs). I promised I’d give these benefits to the cities the donations came from, by proportion. Although unfortunately, as I also noted, I can only do this for North American donors. I received generous support from such countries as Norway, Japan, Poland, England, Germany, and Australia, which I will just count toward recouped losses. Thank you so much, all of you. (But one island nation, which donated unusually generously, might prove an exception–private negotiations for a possible visit are underway; I can’t say more just yet.)

Many cities are receiving the benefits. I have some small discounts, and some large discounts. I’ll describe them in that order…

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And Now I Breathe Easier as I Venture on to Seattle

Thank you, everyone, for the amazing help and support that came through. Yesterday I was crestfallen at a $2000 loss. As of now, amazingly generous patrons, supporters, and fans have sent me a total of almost $5000. So I am well above what I needed for a financial recovery. I have updated my original post. Anyone who still wants to patronize my work like the old-school way of supporting artists and scholars certainly can. And you can always support me in the usual ways of commerce. But the loss has been recovered.

I am going to apply the difference (the additional $3000) to offset the cost of arranging speaking engagements (most likely early next year) in the cities donors asked for. So that means, everyone who helped, you will all have made those trips possible and saved local organizations some expenses–and helped them get a speaker they might not otherwise have afforded. (Or two! If they could have fully afforded to bring me out, now they can apply some of that budget to getting another, for some other occasion.)

Again, sincere thanks to everyone. This was far beyond what I expected. It quite caught me by surprise.

Tomorrow morning I fly to Seattle to visit old friends for a week and attend and engage in a formal debate at the Atheist Alliance of America convention. I will be away from the office (and most email) all that time, so I may be out of communication for more than a week. I’ll try to blog from my away location once or twice at least. I was going to be really down on this trip. But now I feel energized and supported. Still violated and annoyed (thefts do that). But breathing easier. And I have you all to thank for that.

So I’m good. As I said in my update to yesterday’s post…

Now go forth and battle the dragons of the world!

And Then a Burglary Sets Me Back $2000

Update: As of now, amazingly generous patrons have sent me a total of almost $5000. So I am well above what I needed for a financial recovery, and I am going to apply the difference to covering the cost of arranging speaking engagements in the cities donors asked for (so you will all have made those trips possible and saved local organizations some expenses!). Thank you so much, everyone. This was far beyond what I expected. It quite caught me by surprise. Now go forth and battle the dragons of the world!

I’m hoping to get some small financial help from fans and supporters to help me recover from a setback. My own income ranges between $15,000 and $25,000 a year. So losing $2000 in one burglary hurts. A lot. And that just happened this last weekend. I am fortunate that I combine my income with Jen’s, but she is moving to part time work and going back to school, so our combined income will get us by (tuition and all, plus she has to buy a second vehicle to manage her new schedule without conflicting with mine), but two grand is still a sore loss.

So I’m hoping some awesome folk out there who like my work might help me make up the loss. There’s a tiny perk for anyone who does. More on that shortly.

If you prefer to devote money to a more alarming charitable cause, I quite understand. The Foundation Beyond Belief is representing the atheist community in helping child refugees get legal representation (they have no right to an attorney, so the state is not providing them any…literally, these kids have to advocate for themselves in court). That’s an excellent example of what I had called for several weeks ago. It’s a huge crisis that needs a lot of help.

But at the same time we all have to make a living. And as an independent scholar, I depend on funding from supporters of my work. I sell books, collect small speaking fees, do some online teaching and contract work, earn tiny amounts from blogging and various other sources (to see a complete list of all the ways to support my work through commerce and beyond, see my official support page). But I also take fan-funded research grants. Any money sent in support helps keep me going, and keeps me hopeful that I’m making a difference that people appreciate. So anyone who does appreciate all I’ve done, and wants to see more, I would be so moved if you can reward me with your patronage this coming week.

(Of course you could give a little to both causes.)

If you want to help me make up my loss, or just show your appreciation and support, please send me any amount you want through PayPal (my account is rcarrier@infidels.org).

And when you do, when it lets you add a message to me, say what city you’d like me someday to speak in.

I’ll then rank the cities named by the amount of money backing them, and get to work trying to set up a speaking engagement at each one, starting at the top. I can’t promise to succeed, but I will contact all the organizations there that might be willing to pool together the expenses of bringing me out. Unfortunately this means probably just destinations in the U.S. and Canada will come through. You can certainly name overseas destinations. But the cost to fly me to them is prohibitive to most interested parties, so I’m unlikely to succeed at it. Advice on that is welcome, though, which you can include in your message (whom to contact, for example). But if I am inspired to get a gig in a city you name with your donation, that’s a tiny perk you can claim (“I set that in motion!”).

Meanwhile, here’s what happened, if you’re curious…

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