Announcing The Richard Carrier Exists Tour!

Photo of a Penske moving truck.I may be visiting your town soon! And I may need your help. I’ll explain in a moment. But here’s the basic idea…

Because Christians don’t understand how evidence works, they’ve literally argued that there is no more evidence for my existence than there is for the existence of Jesus their Christ. Never mind that that’s already wildly false. Here is your chance to see how evidence works, and confirm for yourself, as an eyewitness, that I do indeed exist! No silly hearsay for you anymore. Oh no. This is the real deal. (Jesus, meanwhile, promised he’d be back lickity split, and it’s been nearly 2,000 years, so…)

I am moving to Columbus, Ohio, for good and all this May (2016). And I’m taking a moving truck and towing my car all the way across country from my current and soon past home in Stockton, California, with the assist of some of my girlfriends as relief drivers on different legs of the trip (that’s really above and beyond…I’m extremely grateful!).

It’s a modern day whistle stop tour. I’ll be driving each day from one major city to the next, and giving a talk, or appearing in some public fashion selling and signing my books, and happily chatting and glad-handing and posing for photos for anyone who wants to verify my historicity.

I’m developing tour stops already for Reno, Nevada (Tuesday night, May 24), Omaha, Nebraska (Friday night, May 27), and Kansas City, Missouri (Saturday night, May 28). I’ll announce those details as soon as they are finalized and there is a public page somewhere promoting them.

But here is where I need your help.

I have made all possible efforts to contact organizations and arrange tour stops for Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; and Indianapolis, Indiana. And that hasn’t worked. There is a campus group near SLC that might pull something together for my stop Wednesday night May 25, but I haven’t gotten a confirmation, so I don’t know if that will happen. Indianapolis doesn’t want to compete with Memorial Day parties that Sunday May 29. And Denver just seems not to have been interested for Thursday night May 26.

So anyone who lives in or near those three places and wants to see me make an appearance on the respective date, I’d appreciate any help you can offer to make something happen. I’d love to show up and speak about something, hang out, sell some books…and confirm my historicity with you and all, with photos, or signing odd things, or whatever. Here are some ideas…

For Indianapolis, maybe the best plan would be if there is already a large enough gathering of interested atheists for a Memorial Day party (at least thirty or so!), I could just show up and join you all. As long as I can publicly announce the location, sell books at it, and there’s any alcohol other than beer, I’m golden. So anyone who has a bead on that, let me know! It needn’t be exactly in Indianapolis. Anywhere within an hour’s drive around that epicenter. All the better if you have a place my girlfriend and I can crash for the night (not a requirement, just a hope). And BTW, given what Memorial Day is all about, do recall, as it happens, I am a veteran! Of a war even (I very importantly guarded an estuary in San Diego against Saddam Hussein’s phantom submarine). True, I am not dead. Nor have any fallen comrades. But I’ll have my National Service Medal on hand. And Letters of Commendation. And marksmanship ribbons. They’ll just be in a little box, like a Korean Toe (only Kids in the Hall fans will get that one). I’ll still make a point of calling a solemn toast to those who’ve died for us in service. Because, seriously.

For Denver, I can make anything along the I-25 that’s en route to KC (e.g. Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs). Surely some group out there wants to be in on this historic(ity) event! If you want me to deliver a lecture, my only charge is $200 (negotiable). If it’s a party, and I don’t have to work, it’s free (see Indianapolis above for requirements). And I am also looking for anyone with a guest room for my girlfriend and I to stay that night.

For Salt Lake City, or anything within an hour’s drive of SLC, the same.

Anyone who has offers, ideas, anything helpful, email me. If we can pull something together, I’ll appreciate it!

NOTE: Subjects I speak on are listed at the bottom of my booking page here.

UPDATE: I now have my completed tour-stop list, with info on each talk or appearance now linked. It’s as follows: 

(I won’t be appearing in Indianapolis this trip. But I may in future.)

Thanks for everyone’s help!

Appearing at UCLA Next Week!

As I announced earlier, I’m speaking for CFI in two locations this Sunday in Southern California, on why a Jesus was invented at all. But the following Wednesday (April 20 at 5pm), I will be speaking on simply what evidence there is for a historical Jesus, at UCLA, for the Bruin Alliance of Skeptics and Secularists (BASS). Ironically named given my recent debate. But no relation. :-)

Details here.

We’ll be meeting in the Ackerman building, room 3516. Which is the Student Union, at 308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA.

This will be a straightforward listing of the evidence that’s been offered (“The Historical Jesus: What Evidence Do We Have?”), and what the status of it is in the field and why, and what merit I think it has and why (I may also comment on some of the attempts at evidence made by Craig Evans in last night’s debate, which was…interesting). I will of course be selling and signing my books and doing a Q&A.

This supplements the Sunday talks well, so if you are intrigued by what you hear Sunday, you might want to make this talk, too. They won’t have very much overlap. But they address different angles of the same issue. Sunday will be about why they’d make Jesus up. Wednesday will be about what evidence there is that Jesus existed instead.

Did the Apostles Die for a Lie?

Photo of a medieval wooden diptych with twelve frames, six on each side, showing in paintings the legendary martyrs deaths of all twelve Apostles (Paul substituted for Judas).Do we have good evidence that Paul or any of the original twelve Apostles died for their belief in the risen Jesus? Nope. Nevertheless, Justin Bass claimed so in a lecture you can view online (Evidence of the Apostles’ Martyrdom).

I may eventually write a commentary on the whole Carrier-Bass debate, now that it’s available for viewing online.

But first I want to post my observations of that previous lecture he gave that pertains to the subject. I viewed and annotated that in preparation for our debate, and had all my notes ready at the table. And yet, though Bass leaned on this claim in our debate (the famous “No One Would Die for a Lie” gambit), I didn’t need to get into much detail to refute his argument against the clock.

As I noted in the debate, he couldn’t establish that they died for anything more than a vision, and visions are ubiquitous across religions—even now, but then especially. He couldn’t even establish that they could have avoided their deaths by recanting. Or even that what they died for was their belief in the resurrection, rather than their moral vision for society, or (I could have added) some other belief they wouldn’t recant—such as their already-Jewish refusal to worship pagan gods, the only thing Pliny really ever killed Christians for (the resurrection was never even at issue); and that’s the only explicitly eyewitness account we have of any Christians being killed for anything in the whole first hundred years of the religion.

But there is a lot more to be said.

[Read more…]

Speaking in Melbourne! (The One in Florida, Near the Spaceships)

Section of map showing central Florida, Orlando, and the "Space Coast" region east of it that includes MeBourne and also, of course, Cape Canaveral.I’ll be speaking on why we know the Gospels are myths—with many amusing and entertaining examples, and a smattering of literary theory–in Melbourne, Florida, on Friday, May 13 (2016), at 6:30pm, for the Humanist Community of the Space Coast, the Brevard Area Atheists, and the Secular Student Alliance of the Florida Insitute of Technology. I’ll be selling and signing my books after. Come join us! It will be at the Florida Insitute of Technology, Room 118 (Auditorium) in the Olin Engineering Building. Mark it on your calendar!

(And remember I’ll also be speaking on ancient science and Christian fascism two days after in Orlando!)

More details on FaceBook, and on Meetup…

Dr. Richard Carrier “How We Know the Gospels are Myths.”

Friday, May 13, 2016, 6:30 PM

Olin Engineering Building, room 118, Auditorium
FIT Melbourne, FL

14 Members Attending

Humanist Community of the Space Coast, our Sister Group Brevard Area Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance of Florida Institute of Technology is proud to present an Evening with Dr. Richard Carrier. Dr. Carrier will be discussing  “How We Know the Gospels are Myths,” followed by an audience Q&A and book signing.  Lets make sure we give Dr. Carr…

Check out this Meetup →

Speaking on Ancient Science & Christian Fascism in Florida This May!

Ad for the event, with pictures of David Silverman and Richard Carrier, and the details described in the post.An amazing double bill event with David Silverman and myself is going down in central Florida this coming May (2016). Hosted by the Central Florida Freethought Community. Silverman is headlining with a survey of his case for firebrand-style atheist activism in his excellent new book Fighting God. I’ll be speaking on “Ancient Science & Christian Fascism.” 

The more elaborate title of my talk could be “The Wonders of Ancient Science, and Why Christianity Blocked Scientific Progress for a Thousand Years (and Could Do It Again).” I’ll be drawing on my chapters on this subject in The Christian Delusion (on ancient science) and Christianity Is Not Great (on the Dark Ages and on democracy). The fullest description of my Florida talk:

Conservative Christians are fond of rewriting history to make Christianity the hero, from claiming America was founded as a Christian nation, to claiming the KKK was founded by godless liberals. They also claim Christianity gave us science, that our pagan ancestors were too clueless to accomplish it; the Scientific Revolution becoming like their idea of the American Revolution: something that could never happen without Christianity. This whitewashing of the truth, which was quite the contrary, is nefarious, because it sets the stage for letting conservative Christians control and limit democratic and scientific progress. They don’t want you to remember that it was going against dominant Christian values that made democracy and modern science possible.

In this illustrated talk, Dr. Richard Carrier (with a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University) lays out what the ancient pagans actually accomplished in the sciences, and why they failed to reach their own scientific revolution, which ultimately had to do with Christian opposition to it. The arguments Christian leaders then used to stifle scientific progress for a thousand years, are being used by many Christian leaders today. If we are not vigilant, the same political and economic circumstances could arise that would empower a Renaissance of Christian fascism that would stifle democracy and scientific progress for another thousand years.

Sunday, May 15th, from 1 to 4pm, at the University Club of Winter Park (841 N Park Ave., Winter Park, Florida 32789). Details here. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door to help fund the event. We’ll be selling and signing our books of course!

There may be a VIP fundraising dinner as well. And I may speak on other topics at other times in the same region. Stay tuned.

Appearing in Los Angeles & Costa Mesa

I will be speaking on Jesus mythicism in Southern California this April.

  • “If Jesus Didn’t Exist, Why Did They Invent One?”

The theory that there was no actual Jesus at the dawn of Christianity is starting to impact academia. But if there was no Galilean minister from Nazareth riling up the Jerusalem elite and getting himself crucified by Pontius Pilate, why did Christians invent such a character? How did his existence then become a central dogma of the Church?

That will be the focus of my talk this time. Not so much why we might believe that’s what happened (I’ve spoken on that, too, of course, and will again on other occasions), but the meta-theory: what was going on in the minds of the people responsible for creating the historical character, and then those who later started selling that character as the truth?

Photo banner of the CFI Los Angeles venue against a blue sky, with the words in white outlined in black Los Angeles.I will be speaking on this (and taking Q&A and selling and signing books) on Sunday April 17th (2016) at the CFI Los Angeles venue at 4773 Hollywood Blvd. (Los Angeles, CA 90027) at 11am. Small door fee for non-members (discounts for students with ID). Details here. I will then do the same again down in Costa Mesa, in the Costa Mesa Community Center at 1845 Park Ave. (hosted there by the CFI Community of Orange County) at 4:30pm (ditto).

Mythicist Milwaukee Interview with Carrier & Lataster

A podcast interview of Raphael Lataster and myself has just gone up in advance of the Bass-Carrier debate happening this weekend, also sponsored by Mythicist Milwaukee, the same organization as runs the podcast in question.

The episode is “The Jesus Myth Theory w/ Richard Carrier and Raphael Lataster” (also available on iTunes). The official description:

Richard Carrier and Raphael Lataster join us for a discussion that covers the arguments for and against the mythicist position. We touch on many topics that relate to why we believe Jesus is purely a myth and was not an historical figure. If you are interested in the information that surrounds the Jesus myth theory, make sure to listen to this interview!

Cover of Raphael Lataster's book Jesus Did Not Exist, A Debate Among Atheists, with Richard Carrier. Shows an annular solar eclipse.We discuss Lataster’s book Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate among Atheists, which analytically compares the cases for historicity made in the only two books so far defending it (by Bart Ehrman and Maurice Casey), with my case to the contrary in On the Historicity of Jesus (which appears to be the only one of the three that was actually peer reviewed and published by a university-based biblical studies academic press, which is ironic considering how much Ehrman and Casey winge about mythicism not being peer reviewed). I discussed the reception of Lataster’s book before. And a similar question comes up in the interview as came up there: why there is so much resistance to the theory that Christianity really began with belief in a heavenly demigod who was mystically revealed, and not an earthly Rabbi worshipped after his death.

Tucker’s Review of Proving History in the Journal History & Theory

Cropped view of the cover of a recent issue of the journal History and Theory. Subtitled: Studies in the Philosophy of History.As I recently mentioned, a Harvard University philosopher, Aviezer Tucker, just published a review of my book Proving History for the academic journal History and Theory (Vol. 55, February 2016, pp. 129-140), titled, The Reverend Bayes vs. Jesus Christ. Tucker is an expert in the methods and philosophy of history, so his review carries some weight. It’s significant, therefore, that he endorses the program of my book—that historians need to start using Bayes’ Theorem, as effectively as they can, to resolve questions in their field—and that in fact even when he criticizes my book, he does so by suggesting improvements that are either already in that book (and he merely overlooked them) or in my subsequent application of its program in its sequel, On the Historicity of Jesus. This is almost the best assessment one could expect. It lacks merely noticing that much of what he suggests, I already did. What I provide below is an analysis of his review that helps understand his points, and relates them to what I’ve already written. [Read more…]

Why the Smart Money Is on the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife Being a Forgery

Photo of the Gospel of Jesus's Wife papyrus fragment, a rectangle with seven or eight lines of sloppy writing in Coptic, courtesy of Harvard University.I was going to do a news roundup of several new developments in ancient manuscript studies, until one of them turned out to be a roller-coaster ride down a rabbit hole filled with all manner of twists and turns. The subject? The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife. The other news I’ll post on separately. Because this one. Boy. It needs an article all unto itself.

[Read more…]

Speaking at Darwin on the Palouse (WA)

Banner for the Palouse event. White background. Various nature greens in the lettering and logo. Logo is like a Picaso sleek stylized merger of an abstract finch and the Palouse hills. Text says Darwin on the Palouse, the date, the tagline Celebrating Science and Reason, the location and time and that it's free, the two speakers names and talk titles, and the sponsors.This year the annual Darwin on the Palouse event will be on February 6 (2016). I’ll be a featured speaker. The event begins at 6:30pm and is being held in the junior ballroom at Washington State University. Free to all. Details here. The event is sponsored by the Palouse Coalition of Reason and the American Humanist Association. My talk will be:

Ancient Roman Creationism: Scientific Pagans vs. Armchair Christians

Dr. Carrier will discuss the ancient debate between creationists and natural selectionists, how ancient “intelligent design” advocates were far more scientific than their counterparts today, and what this means for the actual origins of real science. In the process he will survey the achievements and methods of ancient science and how it laid the foundation for modern science, and then examine the rhetoric against it by early Christians and how it hasn’t changed in near 2,000 years.

I’ll be followed by Glenn Branch of the NCSE, speaking on “After Kitzmiller, What Is Next for Creationism?” Which I’m also looking forward to! Description:

Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching intelligent design creationism in the public schools, was a pivotal event in the history of the creationism/evolution controversy in the United States. Branch will discuss why Kitzmiller was the effective end of the second phase of anti-evolution strategy and what the third phase is going to be like.

Come one come all! I’ll be selling and signing books. And hanging out after. I’ll also be in the area for the day. I don’t know what plans have been made, so I may be busy, but anyone interested in the possibility of hanging out, feel free to let me know, by email or Facebook message.